The 1st annual Steering Committee meeting was an opportunity for the NARDT Steering Committee to review the performance of NARDT in 2019, approve NARDT annual workplan and budget in 2020, and review and approve NARDT 4 year strategy and NARDT bylaws to form the project operational mechanism with a view to achieve the project’s overall objectives.
The meeting was hosted by Dr. Tran Cong Thang, the Director General of Institute for Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development. In addition to the Steering committee members, the First Annual Steering committee meeting attracted participation of representatives from IFAD, namely: Dr. Thomas Rath - Country Director to Laos and Vietnam and Mekong Hub coordinator, Dr. Fabrizio Bresciani - Lead Regional Economist - Asia and Pacific Division, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Tung, Country Programme Officer in Vietnam, Mr. Menh Sakphouseth, Country Programme Officer in Cambodia, and colleagues from Cofacilitating Partners in CLV countries.
At the first annual Steering Committee meeting, the Steering Committee and the donor IFAD commended on the progress in the implementation of the NARDT project in 2019, with the establishment of NARDT at regional and country levels. The Network has been set up and operate properly according to the plan. The lead agencies (IPSARD) and the three CFPs (CESD, NAFRI, CDRI) have been working seriously and professionally to prepare an efficient framework for NARDT operation, by conducting diagnosis studies in each country, preparing the strategic plan for NARDT development, preparing the Charter for NARDT Governance, establishing and updating the NARDT website for disseminating information and results of the Network activities.
The Steering Committee and the donor IFAD reviewed the main agriculture and rural development challenges facing the member countries to define the mainstreaming topics for NARDT-country and NARDT at regional level. Most of the member countries share the same challenges regarding agricultural land management, aquaculture development, better commercialized value chain development of agricultural, fishery, and forestry products to benefit small farmers, shortage of reliable and systematic databases for ARD policy research and making, and limited policy advocacy and consultation capacity. The mainstreaming topics for research were defined with close linkages to IFAD COSOP in each country, as joint efforts to help tackling these challenges.
The knowledge management strategy was discussed and agreed among the SC and the donor to make sure NARDT knowledge products are input for the upscale of sustainable development pathways in the country members and region as well as inputs for IFAD-funded projects for the region. The knowledge product management and knowledge dissemination plan will be tailored to suit different stakeholders. At regional level, for WGA – GMS, AMAF, CMLV summits, the critical sharp and short thematic reports, policy briefs and presentations are delivered at regional summits/conferences. The SC of NARDT will send representatives to participate in regional platforms/dialogues, especially the GMS/AWG and CLMV for the mainstream of the NARDT into these platforms. The Charter for NARDT was approved to be applied from January 2020
On this occation, the Steering Committee also expressed appreciation to the support from the donor IFAD for the timely effort of establishing NARDT to improve quality of policy formulation and impacts of policy implementation in agriculture and rural development sector through the promotion of information sharing, experience exchange, joint-research and institutional capacity strengthening for the policy think-tanks, networks and dialogues in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.