By Mae Thiwari
October 5, 2021 – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) renewed its partnership with the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) through the signing of a Memorandum of Understating (MOU). Through the partnership, the two institutions will collaborate in the fields of urban food systems, climate change, water, food and energy, agroecology, and innovation/digitization – for the sustainable development of the Asia and Pacific region.
Recognized as one of the leading academic institutes in Asia in the field of sustainability, AIT has long been collaborating with FAO to contribute its expertise towards the sustainable development of the region. The collaboration under previous MOU, from 2014 – 2017, was proven a success, leading to a renewal of a formal partnership for 2021 - 2026 through an MOU signing. The work plan of the MOU was developed by experts from both FAO and AIT in the fields of urban food systems, climate change, water, food and energy, agroecology and innovation/digitalization.
“This will be vital, as a number of important actors are needed to work together to make agri-food systems transformation that will be required to feed the hungry world and leave no one behind,” said Jong-Jin Kim, Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific – as he stressed how FAO is committed to working with a wider range of development partners, including Academia, CSOs and the private sector. The partnership with AIT is particularly important as “both organizations share vision, interest and commitment to fight hunger and malnutrition particularly in this region – Asia Pacific Region,” according to Mr. Jong-Jin Kim.
AIT President Dr. Eden Woon reiterated how the five areas of collaboration between AIT and FAO are well aligned with AIT’s five thematic areas, namely, Climate Change; Smart Communities; Food – Energy – Water; Infrastructure; and Technology, Policy and Society, while AIT is recognized globally through its Global Impact Rankings by Times Higher Education for its contributions towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals.
“AIT is very pleased to renew our MoU with FAO and continue our collaboration in the fields of urban food systems, climate change, water, food and energy, agroecology and innovation/digitalization and to help in achieving the sustainable development goals of the region and beyond”, said Dr. Eden Woon.
Noting that experts of both institutions in these five fields have jointly developed a work plan, President Woon further expressed his gratitude towards AIT professors who were instrumental in developing and finalizing detailed work plan with FAO, adding that “I am very excited to see more collaborative efforts happen soon.”
From AIT, Prof. Dieter Trau, Dean of the School of Engineering and Technology and Director of the Entrepreneurship Center, Dr. Roger Levermore, Dean of the School of Management, Prof. Sangam Shrestha, Department Head of Civil and Infrastructure Engineering and Professor of Water Engineering and Management, Professor Nitin Kumar Tripathi, Professor of Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (RS-GIS), Prof. Abdul Salam, Program Chair and Professor of Sustainable Energy Transition, Dr. Sarawut Ninsawat of RSGIS, Mr. Shawn P. Kelly, Director of the Office of International Affairs (OIA), Ms. Mae Thiwari, Deputy Director of Office of Public Affairs, Mr. Sanjeet Amatya, Special Assistant to the President and Dr. Sumana Shrestha, Coordinator of OIA participated to witness the signing ceremony. Similarly, from FAO, Dr. Sridhar Dharmapuri, Senior Food Safety and Nutrition Officer and Technical Lead for this MOU, Ms. Caroline van Gyal, Regional Partnership and Resource Mobilization Officer, and Mr. Allan Dow, Regional Communications Officer were present in the ceremony. The ceremony was organized jointly by FAO and AIT where Ms. Caroline from FAO and Dr. Sumana from OIA, AIT were the Emcees.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Its goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. With over 194 member states, FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide, believing that everyone can play a part in ending hunger.