Food Policy Forum for Change
In this side event of the Bonn Climate Change conference (SB58) organized on 6 June 2023, a line-up of speakers and practitioners discussed how food system transformation and land restoration are key to harmonizing action between the Rio conventions to achieve climate, biodiversity and land targets. This session highlighted how agroecology, restoration and integrated planning can connect and deliver on these agendas.
An insightful web event organized on 17 April by the European Commission and featuring Biovision Foundation’s policy brief on actionable recommendations to enhance synergies between agroecology and conservation. This event explored the critical question of balancing food needs with biodiversity conservation. Watch to recording to learn more about land sparing and sharing approaches, and their implications for sustainable agriculture, as well as real-world case studies, including agroecological biodiversity projects in Uganda and the impact of pesticides on biodiversity near Kibale National Park.
Policies, legislations, and institutional arrangements are key enablers for an agroecological transformation of food systems. In the process of convening the involved policy actors and stakeholders across all relevant sectors from the benefits of an agroecological approach, multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs) play a pivotal role.
This side event of the 1st Eastern Africa Agroecology Conference (March 21-24, 2023, Nairobi) started with an overview of the ongoing initiatives on establishing agroecological policies in East Africa. Strategies, challenges, and opportunities were synthesized from different case studies in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda. Then, the role of MSPs in shaping the policy landscape was discussed, and established MSPs, including ISFAA, shared their experiences. Finally, after a panel discussion and a Q&A session, individuals and organizations connected with collaborators during session-ending networking cocktails.
In 2022, FAO, the Biovision Foundation and the Agroecology Coalition organized a series of three hybrid thematic dialogues, with a focus on identifying entry points, opportunities, building blocks, innovative approaches to policy, technology and institutional frameworks, that can support the upscale of agroecology. Through interactive group discussions and case studies, the dialogue explored the interface between agroecology and 1) territorial approaches, 2) biodiversity conservation between the farm level, 3) agri-input scarcity. An outcome brief was then developed for each dialogue, reflecting the key messages and recommendations of the discussions.
The event, took place on February 22, 2023, in Bern, and the key results of the agroecology dialogue series were discussed as well as how how to build on those messages. The event was organized around the visit of the FAO DDG Beth Bechdol in Switzerland.
The invasion of Ukraine sparked a third food price crisis in 15 years. In a context of Covid, conflict, and climate change, world food prices reached record highs, hitting food insecure countries and populations the hardest. A spotlight was firmly placed on the fundamental weaknesses in global food systems, including high import dependency among low-income countries, high dependency on chemical inputs, over-specialised commodity production, and lack of transparency in global food systems. However, countries around the world are more and more adopting agroecology as the means to mitigate the effects of the current crises while building the resilience urgently needed to protect against future shocks. During this event, organized during the ORFC on January 4, some of the most pioneering responses to the crisis, and global efforts to measure the impacts of these changes were presente.
While agroecology has been much discussed at ORFC over the years, this event took stock of the evolving impacts of the food price crisis on food security and build understanding of the root causes of global food insecurity. It showcased innovative responses to the food price crisis that mitigated immediate impacts and kick-started longer-term transformation of food systems through agroecology. It also built awareness of the opportunities to cut reliance on energy and input costs in the face of rising costs – and the challenges in diversifying production systems.
The event organized on December 8 during COP15, highlighted the need to profoundly transform our current food systems, which continue to be the main driver of biodiversity loss. There is compelling evidence that agroecological approaches offer viable pathways for this much-needed transformation. They maintain a central focus on ecosystem diversity, and agricultural biodiversity, and are deeply rooted in traditional knowledge and the foodways of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. It is clear that without a strong focus on agroecology, our global targets for biodiversity conservation are bound to miss the mark.
This side event also aimed to shine a light on emerging coalitions and policy actions that are linking agroecology and agricultural biodiversity, as crucial pathways to transform food systems.
This event looks at the future mandate of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA) that is discussed at COP27. Integrating elements of agroecology will be critical for transforming food systems, supporting the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss, and enhancing food security.
Around the world, research and practical experience show that agroecological approaches offer a promising way to protect nature, address climate change, maintain biodiversity, and restore ecosystem functions to degraded systems.
Applying agroecological approaches also contributes to food security by strengthening the production of healthy and diverse food. In the last years, agroecology has received increasing support from various stakeholders, as evidenced, for example, by the EU’s Farm to Fork strategy, countries’ national development goals, increased research interest in the topic, support from civil society organizations and private sector for implementation in this area.
Over the past few years, conflict, COVID, and climate change have exposed the vulnerabilities of our food systems in the face of shocks. Many of these fragilities are a direct result of our current dependency on costly chemical inputs, lengthy commodity chains, as well as over-reliance on the import of staple foods. This has contributed to generations living in poverty and millions on the brink of starvation, particularly on the African continent. The livelihoods of small-scale farmers and consumers around the world will be greatly impacted unless we upscale practices that work with nature and deliver on the sustainable development goals, such as agroecological, organic, and regenerative farming. However, in light of heightened food insecurity, there are different perspectives on how we should move forward. Standing at this crossroads, what urgent steps should be taken to transition to sustainable food and farming systems?
The invasion of Ukraine has sparked a third food price crisis in 15 years. World food prices reached record highs in March 2022 and remain at critical levels, hitting food insecure countries and populations hard. Food systems around the world have proven highly vulnerable to these shocks, through their dependency on costly chemical inputs and highly-specialized commodity production, over-reliance on imports of staple foods, and the ongoing cycles of poverty, climate change and conflict that leave millions of people on the brink of hunger.
Countries around the world are now taking steps to mitigate the crisis and build the resilience that is urgently needed to protect against future shocks – from farmer-managed seed systems to the replacement of chemical inputs with agroecological practices. This side event of the CFS50 will hear about the pioneering responses governments are developing and deploying, and how we can ensure coordinated, comprehensive action at the global level. We are joined by representatives of the governments of Mali, Mexico & Tanzania.
This third dialogue of the Agroecology Series on September 29 will reflect on the current global food crisis and the looming scarcity of agricultural inputs. Record prices in fertilizers, supply chain interruption, increasing dependence on synthetic agricultural inputs and on a handful of suppliers have underlined the urgency of food system transformation. As a result, a number of countries are committing to reducing their dependence on synthetic inputs. The current crisis creates opportunities to advance food system transformation through agroecology. The dialogue will focus on a better understanding of concrete implementation steps and pathways to increase the resilience of food systems to agricultural inputs scarcity through agroecological approaches, in the areas of policy reform, knowledge creation and investments.
This second dialogue of the Agroecology Series on September 15 intends to connect the conservation and agroecology communities to explore opportunities and limitations of agroecology to address conservation needs beyond the farm. Thus, it will look beyond classical on-farm conservation angles (e.g. conservation of local crop varieties and crop wild relatives). Instead, it will discuss the contributions of agroecology to mitigate species decline and ecosystem degradation in the landscape, which are less explicitly recognised within existing narratives of the agroecology or conservation communities. The dialogue will identify concrete pathways to increase synergies between the agroecology and conservation communities in food system transformation through policy reform, knowledge creation and investment.
This first event of the Agroecology Dialogue Series by FAO and Biovision Foundation, in support of the Coalition for food systems transformation through Agroecology (Agroecology Coalition), will explore the interface between territorial approaches and agroecology, and how this interface contributes to the sustainable transformation of food systems. It will analyse the relation between both approaches and the pathways needed for public policies, research initiatives, investment mechanisms, and advocacy to support agroecological transitions at territorial scales.
These activities are part of the initiative “Coherent policies for transforming food and agricultural systems – a peer to peer exchange among policy makers” led by a consortium of prominent organizations in the fields of sustainable food systems and support to agricultural policy processes: Biovision Foundation, IFOAM – Organics International and the Millennium Institute, with support from FAO. The initiative is financed by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).