“Powering Social Innovation to Transform Food Systems in Thailand” — UNDP SDG Integration

ALCK collaborates with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the search for new solutions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Since 2019, ALCK has been working in collaboration with UNDP to promote local economic development, improve livelihoods, social cohesion, and local governance in Southern Thailand. To that end, we are developing closely with UNDP’s regional offices in Bangkok (Asia Pacific) a Social Innovation Platform that aims to build new territorial development approaches through the potential of the food system.

This article written by UNDP in Global SDG Integration. UNDP supports countries to tackle complex development challenges and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through SDG Integration.


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.

Learn more about the Social Innovation Platform in Southern Thailand