ILRI celebrates 14 years of partnership in agricultural research for development in Vietnam

This year (2020) marks 14 years of livestock research of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Vietnam.

On 2 October, ILRI organized a partnership meeting in Hanoi to celebrate this milestone. About 30 partners gathered at the event to celebrate the partnership between ILRI and partners over the past 14 years.

In an opening speech presented virtually from ILRI in Nairobi, director general, Jimmy Smith, said the occasion was an ‘opportunity to put into perspective the achievements of ILRI and its partners in Vietnam and to plan for the future to ensure stronger and even more fruitful partnerships between the institute and partners in the country.’

ILRI started its work in Vietnam in 2006. In those early days, it was hosted in the compound of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and had one staff member. ILRI gradually grew its research portfolio and expanded its partnerships. Today, Vietnam hosts ILRI’s third biggest office—the regional office for East and Southeast Asia—after its Nairobi and Addis Ababa offices in Kenya and Ethiopia, respectively.

Over these 14 years, ILRI has been partnering with many of Vietnam’s government agencies, research institutions, development organizations, CGIAR centres and private companies to achieve the mission of improving food and nutritional security and to reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe and sustainable use of livestock—ensuring better lives through livestock.

30 partners gather at ILRI Vietnam Partner Meeting to celebrate the partnership between ILRI and partners over the past 14 years (photo credit: ILRI/Lam Nguyen).

Some key achievements of ILRI in Vietnam are in food safety, value chain development and One Health. From 2006 to 2020, ILRI implemented 43 projects in 22 provinces, with a budget of USD11 million and signed 10 memorandums of understanding with partners. In the last three years, more than 50,000 people have benefitted from ILRI’s work in the country including through training of PhD, MSc and undergraduate students, and public health and other professionals with national university partners and institutes.

Dao The Anh, vice president of the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS), said that research by ILRI has contributed to the growth of the country’s agriculture sector, especially in the field of food safety with the introduction of risk-based management approaches. ‘ILRI’s research not only focuses on livestock production and veterinary services but is also very diverse and integrated,’ he added.

Dao The Anh, vice president of the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS) speaks at the meeting highlighting the contribution of ILRI to the growth of Vietnam’s agriculture sector (photo credit: ILRI/Lam Nguyen).

ILRI is part of CGIAR, the largest partnership for international agriculture research in the world. Ten of 15 CGIAR’s centres have offices and/or activities in Vietnam, employing 44 international staff and 80 local staff. At present, CGIAR is moving forward to a unified One CGIAR, which is a dynamic reformulation of CGIAR’s partnership aiming for greater integration and impact in response to new challenges facing the world.

At the meeting, Smith announced that Hung Nguyen, the regional representative of ILRI Vietnam and East and Southeast Asia, would relocate to ILRI in Nairobi to co-lead the Animal and Human Health Program. Fred Unger would take over Hung’s position from 1 October 2020.

Nguyen said, ‘I had the pleasure to work for ILRI as regional representative for Vietnam and East and Southeast Asia since 2014. During this time, I enjoyed working with many of you and your respective institutions. Without this partnership, ILRI would not have achieved these successes.’ He added that Vietnam is a good country for ILRI and international partners to collaborate in agricultural research for development.’

Hung Nguyen, ILRI’s former regional representation for East and Southeast Asia thanks all partners for the collaboration and support for achieving successes (photo credit: ILRI/Lam Nguyen).

Unger said he was confident that ILRI and partners in the country would continue working together to address, among other challenges, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the transition to One CGIAR, alongside changes in the donor landscape and priorities. ‘I am confident that we will together turn some of them into opportunities for the future.’

In his speech, Fred Unger, new regional representative of ILRI East and Southeast Asia hopes to continue to work with partners in Vietnam to address emerging challenges facing the country (photo credit: ILRI/Lam Nguyen).

Smith thanked the partners in Vietnam for working with ILRI. He emphasized ILRI’s commitment to helping the country address its strategically important livestock issues and continuing the close cooperation with the government, agencies and companies there.

Watch a video highlighting some key works and achievements of ILRI and partners in Vietnam.

See some photos from the meeting on ILRI Flickr.