Tuesday, June 4, 2024

IRRI Diary: A vibrant spring wrap-up from Vietnam

Entry by Amber Sharick (IRRI Vietnam)

The IRRI Vietnam team has had an exciting few weeks supporting evidence-based decision-making through stakeholder engagement and policy dialogue.

The World Economic Forum convened food systems transformation leaders from across Asia Pacific in Singapore last April for the inaugural First Movers Coalition for Food roundtable. As a Founding Member of the First Movers Coalition for Food, IRRI is working with private and public counterparts in efforts to connect demand-side initiatives with supply-side actions to support climate-smart agriculture. Dr. Cao Duc Phat, Chair of IRRI's Board of Trustees, was a guest speaker and cited the Vietnam Government's “Sustainable Development of One Million Hectares of High Quality and Low-Emission Rice Associated with Green Growth in the Mekong River Delta By 2030" project (1Mha Program) as a great example. He called on the private sector to make commitments to purchase low-carbon rice and support the transformation of sustainable rice production to improve the livelihoods of farmers in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. Read more on IRRI’s contributions to this program

IRRI Vietnam was also able to attend the Ecosperity 2024 event in Singapore from 15-17 April, Renewing Our Vibrant Spring. The WEF Global Risks Report 2024 cited environmental risks as the most severe global risk in the next decade and emphasized the need to further align business with climate action. The Ecosperity event focused on innovative solutions for environment and prosperity, showcasing business models that meet sustainability criteria and maintain or increase profitability.  Common threads could be found between speakers and sessions; for instance, there were calls for governments to establish clear policy and regulation especially in areas like biofuels that might be competing with food security and sustainability goals. The private sector, some of which have embraced new environmental disclosure guidelines as well as environmental commitments of their own, signaled a willingness to further pursue common goals through private-public partnerships and leveraged resources, e.g., through blended finance arrangements. IRRI’s core research into sustainable farm practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, decrease inputs and maintain yield, as well as support in the areas of policy and sustainable finance are setting the stage for new approaches in climate-smart agriculture.

New Zealand Deputy Ambassador to Vietnam Ginny Chapman also joined the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the IRRI team at the launching ceremony of the "One Million Hectares of High-Quality and Low-Emission Rice" in Can Tho, laying the foundation for a sustainable and prosperous future for Vietnam. New Zealand is a strong supporter of the IRRI-led Asian Mega Deltas Initiative, which aims to support food security, and foster climate resilience and livelihoods in Vietnam and fellow Mega Deltaic countries Bangladesh, Cambodia, India and Myanmar.

IRRI and Government of Vietnam partners from the Department of Crop Production (DCP), and the Center for Agricultural Digital Transformation and Statistics (DTS) of MARD also concluded trainings on the usage of RiceMore among stakeholders from Can Tho City and the provinces of Vinh Long and Kien Giang.

RiceMore is one of the IRRI-developed tools that supports Vietnam in crop production management and planning as well as greenhouse gas (GHG) monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV). Used for rice activity data monitoring and reporting at commune scale, RiceMore is one of a package of tools included in IRRI’s MRV framework proposal to support Vietnam’s 1Mha Program.

Other IRRI-developed tools in the proposal include FarMoRe which captures data similar to RiceMore at the field level, RiceGEM which is a GHG computation engine, and a rice growth and GHG simulation model, Oryza.

May saw IRRI co-hosting the Consultation Workshop on Proposing Interim Operating Practices for Rice Carbon Projects with the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD).  A full recap can be found in a separate blog post here.  Highlights included participants raising questions, providing input to and  recommendations for interim operating procedures for rice carbon projects, and bringing insights from on-the-ground experience. Feedback on the draft procedures cited the need for clear guidance on each activity to be included in the roadmap and how the various actors can and will engage in the carbon credit markets in Viet nam.  The need for capacity building and information sharing among the various actors was also highlighted, specifically, the need for a mechanism to communicate to medium and small companies with updated information on carbon market regulations and processes to meet the standards for low-emission rice. One critical point that was clarified in the discussion was how Corresponding Adjustments would be handled by the Government of Vietnam. It was indicated that for any carbon credit to be utilized outside of Vietnam (and therefore requiring an adjustment to the NDC of Vietnam), there would have to be explicit agreement through a bilateral agreement with the target country. IPSARD and IRRI have committed to summarizing the results of the workshop, updating the draft, and preparing a set of recommendations for interested value chain actors and policymakers.


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