Policy Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic for Food Security in Asia and the Pacific

Series: ADB Sustainable Food Webinar Series

Policy Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic for Food Security in Asia and the Pacific

26 August 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the fragility of food systems in the Asia and Pacific region. International food prices have been rising since May 2020, recording 12 consecutive monthly rises since September 2011, bringing the Index only 7.6 percent below its peak value in February 2011. From the onset of the pandemic, many governments moved swiftly to keep agricultural supply chains functioning, including designating agriculture and food as an essential sector. While OECD countries were generally successful in maintaining the overall functioning of food supply chains, food insecurity risk increased in ADB’s developing member countries with estimates indicating the increase and prevalence of undernourishment in Asia from 7.9% to 9% between 2019 and 2020. Data also suggests that 42% of the population in the region cannot afford healthy diets.

In Asia-Pacific, COVID-19 impacts and challenges translate into public health concerns, high environmental pressures and greenhouse gas emissions, persistent malnutrition, and growing inequality in food access. Overweight and obesity among adults and children are rapidly rising in Asia and the Pacific than in any other region.

Part of the #ADBSustainableFood Webinar Series, the webinar discussed the challenges and desirable policy responses to ensure food security in Asia and the Pacific amidst the pandemic through food systems transformation. These discussions support knowledge exchange between and among ADB and OECD experts, policymakers, and other key stakeholders. The discussion clarified the major regional policy agenda to be discussed in the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit and the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit 2021.


This learning event is part of the ADB Sustainable Food Webinar Series that offers a platform to discuss, share knowledge and experiences, and find out solutions and best practices that can help developing members countries build sustainable and resilient food systems and enable them to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and future disruptions.

Program and Learning Materials: 
Date Session / Activity Presentation Material Speaker(s)
26 Aug 2021 Opening Remarks
26 Aug 2021 Opening Remarks Bruno Carrasco, Director General concurrently Chief Compliance Officer, SDCC, Asian Development Bank
26 Aug 2021 Remarks Remarks Marion Jansen, OECD Director for Trade and Agriculture
26 Aug 2021 Opening Remarks Rodolfo Vicerra, Under Secretary for Policy and Planning, Department of Agriculture, the Philippines
26 Aug 2021 Presentation 1 Lessons Learned from Policy Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Asia and the Pacific
Jessica Fanzo
26 Aug 2021 Presentation 2 Findings from OECD’s Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2021 – Addressing the challenges facing food systems
Jibran Punthakey
26 Aug 2021 Discussant Masao Matsumoto, Deputy Assistant Minister, Export and International Affairs, Bureau and Deputy Director-General, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan
26 Aug 2021 Discussant Fermin Adriano, Special Adviser to the Secretary of Agriculture, the Philippines
26 Aug 2021 Discussant Kieran Macdonell, Australia’s representative to the OECD on Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Australia
26 Aug 2021 Discussant Choi-Ish Lkhasuren, Director General, Department of Food Industry Policy Coordination and Implementation, Ministry of Agriculture and Light Industry, Mongolia
26 Aug 2021 Discussant Kevin Chen, Qushi Chair Professor and International Dean, Senior Research Fellow and Head of East and Central Asia Office, IFPRIChina Academy for Rural Development, Zhejiang University
26 Aug 2021 Closing Remarks Xiaohong Yang, Chief Thematic Officer, Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, ADB
26 Aug 2021 Closing Remarks Martin von Lampe, Head of Policy Monitoring and Evaluation Unit, Agriculture and Resource Policies Division, OECD


The views expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) or its Board of Governors or the governments they represent. ADB does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this publication and accepts no responsibility for any consequence of their use. By making any designation of or reference to a particular territory or geographic area, or by using the term “country” in this document, ADB does not intend to make any judgments as to the legal or other status of any territory or area.