Policy Brief

Sustainable Development: Food Security and Social Safety Nets in the CLMV Countries

As the newer members of ASEAN, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV) consider deeper regional economic integration as a necessary and unavoidable process that will ultimately benefit them but will also present challenges. In this context, the key question for the CLMV countries is how they can catch up with the more advanced economies in the region given their limited resources and the limitations on their knowledge and practical experience. While advocating rapid and sustainable development in the longer term, the CLMV countries need to address several challenges inherent in their socio economic situation that may be magnified as ASEAN integration deepens. On the one hand, the CLMV countries are in the early stages of development and still experience a sizeable development gap with respect to ASEAN-6.2 On the other hand, the CLMV countries face a severe lack of institutional and financial capacity to properly address the impacts of adverse shocks. Finally, social structures with sizeable proportions of people living in or near poverty or in disadvantaged areas give rise to much concern over the sustainability of social stability, especially in the presence of shocks. In that context, ensuring both food security and effective social safety nets aimed at more sustainable development plays a critical role in ensuring more viable participation in the regional economic integration process.

Each of the CLMV countries has its own framework for food security and social safety nets, and they remain heterogeneous in terms of financial capacity, demographic structure, and institutional settings that may in turn affect the sustainability of food security and social safety nets themselves. In that context, intra-CLMV support is important, and it may take the form of technical support, agricultural trade, or other forms of budgetary support. As such, this chapter discusses the current state of social safety nets and food security in the CLMV countries with reference to how they may impede sustainable development in the long run. 

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Vo Tri Thanh