Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Asia Pacific

In 2018, as the food industry proceeds with setting objectives in line with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) continue to shape and guide industry players’ strategies and priorities. FIA continues to foster, facilitate and take action through multi-stakeholder partnerships across government, academic, civil society and industry sectors.

Guided by the SDGs – in particular Good Health and Well-being (SDG #3), Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG #12), and Partnerships for the Goals (SDG #17), FIA kicks off the new year with a look at how these cross-sectoral collaborations are working to implement the goals in the Asia Pacific region.

  Mr Praveen Someshwar, Senior Vice President & General Manager, PepsiCo Asia Pacific, and Food Industry Asia (FIA) Coordinating Council member (second from right), speaks during a panel discussion on "Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals" , moderated by Ms Anita Nirody, UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative for the Republic of Indonesia (far right), during the inaugural EAT Asia-Pacific Food Forum on 30 October 2017 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

L-R: Dr Julie Delforce, Senior Sector Specialist, Agricultural Development & Food Security, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT); Mr Joel Angelito Palma, Chief Executive Officer, WWF-Philippines; Professor Tikki Pangestu, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore; H.E. Dr Bambang Brodjonegoro, Minister for National Development Planning, Republic of Indonesia; Mr Someshwar; and Ms Nirody.

In October last year, FIA partnered with the EAT Foundation for the inaugural EAT Asia-Pacific Food Forum that took place in Jakarta, Indonesia. At the conference, Ms Anita Nirody, UN Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative designate for the Republic of Indonesia, led a panel discussion on how various stakeholders are working to achieve the SDGs across the region. Here are some soundbites from Ms Nirody and the distinguished panel:

H.E. Dr Bambang Brodjonegoro
Minister for National Development Planning, Republic of Indonesia

One of the goals, zero hunger, is part of our national priorities related to food security. In this area, the issue is not only production-related, but also health-related, in terms food availability and the infrastructure to ensure food supply. Indonesia also faces a double burden of stunting and obesity. We have implemented national efforts to reduce stunting drastically – we understand that the lack of nutrition affects not only the children, but also the mothers. But apart from nutrition, one aspect of reducing stunting that is sometimes neglected in developing countries is the basic infrastructure – we have a target that by 2019 we will have 100 per cent access to sanitation and clean drinking water. We are still quite far away from that ideal, but we are now trying to focus on allocating more budget for infrastructure, from within the central and local governments.

Mr Praveen Someshwar
Senior Vice President & General Manager, PepsiCo Asia Pacific

Today, PepsiCo operates across 200 countries, and has 22 iconic global brands. The sustainability of our businesses is guided by our “Performance with Purpose” goals. These are broadly in alignment with the 17 SDGs. We look at three specific areas: product, planet and people. Product: We work to offer more positive nutrition to our consumers – how do we make it a complete 360-degree proposition where we make our food taste great, bring the smile back to consumers' faces, and drive keenness toward better nutrition? Planet: Two key areas we focus our energies on are the reduction of water consumption and sustainable sourcing of raw materials. People: Our license to operate comes from serving the communities in which we operate in. How do we invest in helping women get better livelihoods in these locations? How do we ensure that children get the right nutrition? And how do we empower the people we work around and with? We focus on two main areas internally: gender parity in our management structure by 2025, as well as gender pay equity.

Professor Tikki Pangestu
Visiting Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore (NUS)

What is the enabling environment for multi-stakeholder partnerships to work in implementation of the SDGs? My view is that whether it's government, industry or civil society, there has to be an alignment of self-driven incentives. All the stakeholders must see that there’s something in it for them. Implementation is not really the role of the UN; it is a national, local responsibility, because a big part of it is very context-specific. So that requires public-private partnerships, and other collaborations across sectors. Community, consumers, and local implementation is very important. There’s a saying: "Knowledge is global, but the use of knowledge is local."

Dr Julie Delforce
Senior Sector Specialist, Agricultural Development & Food Security, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

Responsibility for implementing Agenda 2030 lies with everyone: governments, all the multilateral and regional organisations, the private sector, communities, and individuals. Reforming trade rules in agriculture would give a big boost to global income, and aid in the implementation of SDGs, as well as many other benefits related to developing countries. In Australia, in order to achieve development objectives, we have a private sector engagement strategy guiding government’s work with both local and multinational businesses. That strategy is based on a principle of shared value, recognising that businesses can aim for sustainable social impact and development outcomes, while still achieving the best commercial returns. The role of government here can be to catalyse some of that activity: make connections that businesses may have missed, identify opportunities, and to provide, in some cases, the ability to promote the work that’s been done.

Mr Joel Angelito Palma
Chief Executive Officer, WWF-Philippines

It’s an emphasis on how we should manage our resources – in terms of global consumption and production, and the partnerships we can foster. These days, with social media and its good intents, we’re seeing more information come in; we see a lot of young people trying to decipher where their food is coming from, and how sustainable the process is. The economic power that millennials now have – they have the option to pay more so they get more sustainable and nutritious food. But that’s only one part of the equation – there are those in the rural areas that we also need to be supporting, such as providing micronutrients to households. It’s really about working together to meet these needs.

Ms Anita Nirody
UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative for the Republic of Indonesia

If we look globally, across the SDGs, there is a clear realisation that no one institution – and certainly not the public sector by itself – is going to be able to finance the work toward achieving the goals. One has to look at innovative and different ways to finance this cause. There’s a saying: “SDGs imply a partnership shift: from donor to recipient to development partners; from funding to financing; and from shared interests to shared values.” I think that captures the breadth and complexity of the task at hand; the number of institutions, disciplines and sectors that need to be engaged. We've also heard that there are so many solutions out there, which need to be accelerated.