Powering social innovation to transform food systems in Thailand
Since well before the COVID-19 pandemic, food systems were already struggling and facing global challenges such as conflict, climate extremes and economic downturns - aggravated by root causes of poverty and persistent levels of inequality. In Thailand, with close to 30 per cent of the population suffering from food insecurity and malnutrition, the pandemic and its socio-economic impacts have degraded ecosystems, disrupted local supply chains and laid bare underlying fragilities of the country’s food systems.
UNDP in collaboration with Agirre Lehendakaria Center (ALC) built a Social Innovation Platform which uses real-time data to assess the needs and opportunities of local communities, and leverages portfolio approaches to transform local food systems and advance SDG localisation.
Through ethnographic and digital listening, the platform gave insights into how Southern Thai communities are experiencing the impact of COVID-19 differently. Bringing together a wide range of local stakeholders such as farmers, local governments and entrepreneurs, it facilitated the co-creation of a portfolio of solutions to respond to the identified challenges.
These solutions included digital strategies for local food markets and coaching programmes for young food systems heroes. The prototype on ‘Designing Digital Strategies’, for example, aims to boost traceability and e-commerce for local food products, improve local economic development and governance, and inform strategy scenarios for local municipalities to redesign the infrastructure and services of local food markets.
By tapping into new sources of financing, the platform accommodates flexibility in the design and deployment of financial instruments and helps convene public, private and philanthropic investment tools to provide capital for the innovation cycle.