Exploring systems approaches to tackling complex and interconnected development challenges, Thailand is one of the three "early adopter" countries (Thailand, Indonesia, Pakistan) to experiment Social Innovation Platform (SIP) at subnational level. Supported by UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub (BRH) and Agirre Lehendakaria Center (ALC), UNDP Thailand since 2019 has been implementing a platform with a focus on transforming local food systems in the southern border provinces of Thailand–Yala, Narathiwat, and Pattani.
In the three southernmost provinces, SIP of the South helps improve the local food system by encouraging new forms of collaborations and supporting innovative activities between local farmers, fisherman, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), municipalities, consumers, academic institutions, young creative groups and local business associations and market managers. SIP gradually helps transform the local food system through sustainable production and consumption at the subnational level.
For the past two decades, the economic structure of the three southern border provinces in Thailand–Yala, Narathiwat, and Pattani–has remained largely unchanged. While agriculture contributes about 10% to the national GDP, it accounts for more than 1/3 of the Gross Provincial Product in the three southernmost provinces. More than 40% of the local workforce work in the agriculture sector. Moreover, local tensions and environmental degradation over the past ten years have far-reaching impact on local economic development and social cohesion. The interconnected and complex nature of food systems offers a window of opportunity to demonstrate the importance of integrated solutions for systemic changes in food security, social cohesion, and community resilience. Innovative practices supported by SIP including co-creation and the portfolio approach are essential to breaking the silos, building the partnerships, and leveraging collective impacts in the three provinces.