Food Policy Forum for Change
This page provides useful information and resources for the members of the Food Policy Forum for Change. Click on the menu on the right to access information on upcoming and past events and a list of resources useful to develop sustainable policies.
RELEVANT TOPICS FOR THE FORUM
In the Food Policy Forum for Change, policy makers, implementers and advisors have the chance to exchange on relevant topics on how to boost a paradigm shift in the food systems of their country, at a national, subnational and local level. We identified the following relevant topics to start a discussion among the members of the forum:
- Stimulating markets for agroecology
- True cost accounting
- Organic action plan
- Resilient policies in time of crisis
Would you like to propose a new topic relevant for your context?
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Policies, legislations, and institutional arrangements are key enablers for an agroecological transformation of food systems. In this process of convening the involved legislative 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) starts with an overview of the ongoing initiatives on establishing agroecological policies in East Africa. Strategies, challenges, and opportunities are synthesized from different case studies in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda. In the second step, the role of MSPs in shaping the policy landscape is elaborated on, and established MSPs, including ISFAA, will share their experiences. Finally, after a panel discussion and a Q&A session, present individuals and organizations can get in touch 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, taking place on February 22, 2023, in Bern, will summarize the key results of the agroecology dialogue series and discuss how to build on those messages. The event is organized around the visit of the FAO DDG Beth Bechdol in Switzerland.
The invasion of Ukraine has sparked a third food price crisis in 15 years. In a context of Covid, conflict, and climate change, world food prices remain at record highs, hitting food insecure countries and populations the hardest. A spotlight is being 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 starting to adopt 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, we hear about some of the most pioneering responses to the crisis, and global efforts to measure the impacts of these changes.
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 showcases innovative responses to the food price crisis that mitigate immediate impacts and kick-start longer-term transformation of food systems through agroecology. It also builds 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.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of Madagascar, in collaboration with the Syndicat Malgache pour l’Agriculture Biologique, IFOAM – Organics International and the Tranoben’ny Tantsaha Mpamokatra, organised a series of workshops from 14 to 16 December 2021 entitled “Organic Agriculture in Madagascar: A project for society?”.
These workshops aimed to create an international network of policy makers on the decision-making process linking agroecological transformation with the development of markets for organic products. The forum brought together more than 100 participants, representing relevant ministries, producer organisations, organic farming companies, local authorities, NGOs and projects, research, consumers and technical and financial partners.
The Nepal Permaculture Group, in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, the Department of Agriculture of Nepal and IFOAM – Organics International organized a series of workshops at municipal, provincial and national levels between September 2021 and February 2022.
The main objective of the initiative was to strengthen the policy environment for the promotion and marketing of organic agriculture by working together with policy makers and practitioners to raise awareness on quality standards and strategy on organic agriculture.
On November 23, the Food Policy Forum for Change co-organized a roundtable in collaboration with the Alliance for Agroecology in West Africa (3AO), the National Council for Organic Agriculture (CNABio) of Burkina Faso and the Centre Ecologique Albert Schweitzer Switzerland (CEAS).
The aim was to bring together political decision-makers and other actors involved in the development of policies related food systems, link the different efforts towards a food systems transformation in West Africa and enrich the discussion on the role, and instruments of action at the country level to ensure food security and nutrition.
The session was opened by Adama Savadogo, focal point for agroecology in the Ministry of Agriculture and Hydro-agricultural Development and Mechanization in Burkina Faso, followed by a short presentation on the political landscape conducive to agroecology in West Africa and beyond and two panel discussions; one focusing on political decision-makers and one comparing visions from other actors of the region.
At the 2nd International Agrobiodiversity Congress, Steve Arquitt from the Millenium Institute presented the case study on rice in Bhutan.
This research on balancing organic agriculture and food self-sufficiency is part of the Food Policy Forum for Change and aims to identify policies that incentivize a large-scale shift to organic farming while improving self-sufficiency in rice.
On October 25, The Policy Forum for Change, in collaboration with the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, organized a virtual workshop for policy makers on the topic of True Cost Accounting as an effective tool for policy makers to assess the hidden costs and benefits of agriculture and food systems.
In the first part, the True Cost Accounting (TCA) approach was introduced, follow by two presentations on embedding TCA in policy making processes in Indonesia and the Global Farm Metric (GFM) framework. In the second part, participants had the opportunity to discuss the relevance of TCA for policy making and share existing experiences in smaller breakout groups.
Organic World Congress 2021 Pre-Conference: Policies driving sustainable food systems
On September 7, the Policy Forum for Change organized a session at the Pre-conference of the Organic World Congress 2021. The aim of the session was to give a comprehensive overview of innovative policy examples around the world, that try to show a way out of these crises and which are introducing and implementing the principles of organic agriculture and agroecology, presented by the policy makers themselves.
The key outcomes drawn from the Pre-conference did not only feed into Organic World Congress session, but also into the UN Food Systems Summit 2021.
Burkina Faso: Two workshops with policy makers to integrate agroecology in the National Rural Sector Programme
In July and August 2021, the Food Policy Forum for Change supported the organization of two workshops with policy makers and relevant actors in Burkina Faso:
First, on 29 and 30 July, the National Council for Organic Agriculture (CNABio), in partnership with the Permanent Secretariat for the Coordination of Agricultural Sectoral Policies, held an awareness and information session in Koudougou, Centre-West region. The objective was to bring together the actors of the inter-ministerial technical team for the drafting of the national rural sector programme (PNSR) and discuss issues related to production and consumption of agricultural products.
Second, on 26 August, the General Directorate of Plant Productions of the Ministry of Agriculture of Burkina Faso organized a training and awareness-raising workshop, providing the representatives of the regional chambers of agriculture and the regional representatives of the confederation of farmers of Faso with knowledge on the challenges of agroecology. The aim of this session was to foster the inclusion of agroecology in the development of the national rural sector policy phase.
Strengthening food systems transformation through agroecology
This event at the UN Food System Pre-Summit took place July 27, 19:30 – 20:20 CEST
The aim of this session was to pull the agroecology-related strings together that have emerged in the UNFSS preparations and to translate them into calls to action and commitments. The session provided space for various constituencies from different contexts to demonstrate how agroecology works in practice and how they overcame obstacles and limitations, share their commitments (e.g. on social media) and invite others to act. It helped building and strengthening multi-stakeholder coalitions to transform food systems based on agroecological principles.
The Transformative Partnership Platform (TPP) on Agroecology and its partners have organised a virtual event on 15 July, 14:00 – 16:00 CEST, to discuss policies for transitions to agroecological food systems.
After introducing the TPP and outlining the essential role that policy plays in accomplishing the TPP’s mission, the presenters have unveiled the latest draft of “Agroecologically-conducive policies: A review of recent advances and remaining challenges” for discussion. The feedback collected during the discussion will be integrated into the document before final publication.
By examining country case studies and current scientific evidence, the event then highlighted the opportunities and challenges involved in scaling-up agroecology over the next decade. Such knowledge will help set research, policy and investment priorities for actors at all levels.
A panel discussion and an interactive Q&A session with the audience completed the event.
Member's Exchange -
On 22nd June, 2021, the Food Policy Forum for Change organised an informal exchange between policy makers from different countries. The aim of the conversation was for the policy makers to exchange between each other, learn about public policies and food system transformation processes in the countries and to explore how the Food Policy Forum for Change could support their work. During the Session, members from two countries – Namibia and Burkina Faso – presented current challenges and future developments concerning agricultural and food system policies in their country.
Last 28 & 29 April, high-level policy experts gathered at the digital event “Scaling up Agroecology in the Himalayas Together” to discuss and inspire key decision-makers on policies supporting agroecology and organic agriculture in the region.
The Himalayas event was organised by IFOAM – Organics International and the World Future Council, with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The two-day sessions provided in-depth analyses of approaches and tools to help promote and implement the 10 elements of agroecology and the four principles of organic agriculture on a policy level in the Himalaya region, where there is a building momentum of policies driving transformation.
On April 14, the Food Policy Forum for Change organized a virtual exchange for a selected group of national policy makers to share their experience in transforming food systems in their countries. During the event, two main cases were discussed; agroecological approaches in Andhra Pradesh in India and the transformation towards organic agriculture in Tunisia. In a second step, participants discussed how the Food Policy Forum for Change can support its members and their food system transformation processes.
This session at the BIOFACH’s eSpecial Congress on 17 February 2021 highlighted the role of four governments to develop conductive and innovative policy instruments to introducing and implementing agroecological and resilience principles. The session connected governmental efforts in order to increase learning between policymakers, as well as enriching the discussion on the role and instruments for country-level action.
In this session at the Oxford Real Farming Conference, three leading policymakers from three different countries (India, Denmark and Uganda) presented good policy practices they are helping to put in place, which make possible the long-term transformation of the food and agricultural systems of their countries. The event explores the key entry points and drivers of transformational policies inclduing the multifacted crisis, climate change, health, and environmental pressures.
This webinar initiated by Biovision, IFOAM and the Millennium Institute focussed on direct exchanges between policy makers. It aimed at providing a deeper understanding of existing approaches and legal frameworks to operationalise organic principles at the policy level with a focus on organic action plans and other type of supportive policy frameworks.
The creation of markets for agroecological products is key to facilitate the transformation of our food systems. This process is often driven by consumer movements (e.g. through campaigns) or producer groups (e.g. farmer associations). Yet, public policies can also contribute to creating an enabling environment. In this roundtable, four invited panellists discussed how public policies can enable, transform and consolidate markets for agroecology, based on the experiences in their regions.
The Food Policy Forum for Change was officially launched during the side event “Connecting Agroecological and Integrated Policies in Times of Crisis” at the CFS High-Level Special Event on Global Governance of Food Security and Nutrition on 13 October 2020. This panel discussion showcased good policy practices aimed at introducing and implementing agroecological and resilience principles. It illustrated the key role of policymakers as agents of change when it comes to the long-term and resilient transformation of food and agricultural systems.
We hosted a Q&A session with potential members, where we had the chance to introduce the Food Policy Forum for Change initiative and to answer some questions from particpants. The Forum is an interactive network of policy makers interested in making our food systems sustainable in the face of current global challenges. Through this network you will have the opportunity to meet, learn and get inspired by other policy makers via peer-to-peer exchanges.
- “Agroecology Knowledge Hub”:
Knowledge hub by FAO: Starting point to access existing knowledge on agroecology.
Specialized database on different legal frameworks, policies and programmes concerning agroecology in different countries.
- “Organic at the UN Food Systems Summit 2021”:
IFOAM website with information and updates regarding the UN Food Systems Summit 2021.
- “Agroecology Knowledge Hub”:
2. Articles & Publications:
- “Africa at the crossroads – Time to abandon failing Green Revolution”:
Recent article on Africa’s failing green revolution and the alternatives being supported by governments such as Senegal’s.
- “Agroecological and other innovative approaches for sustainable agriculture and food systems that enhance food security and nutrition”:
HLPE report on food security and nutrition.
- “COVID-19 et agriculture – Une opportunité pour la transition agricole et alimentaire?”
The French Academie of Agriculture has asked itself this question in a new collective work.
- “Enabling Sustainable Food Systems”:
Recent released innovators guidebook by FAO-INRA.
- “Finance for Agroecology: More than just a dream?”
Recent publication by CIDSE about financing Agroecology.
- “Organic farming is worse than atom bomb and does not suit Indian conditions, only adds to greenhouse emissions”:
Interview about the current debate regarding organic agriculture.
- “Organic Food Systems – Meeting the needs of Southern Africa”:
Publication on policy innovation driving organic market development by Prof. Raymond Auerbach.
- “Pathways report”:
Evaluation of trends that will shape our future highlighting what is happening on and to our land.
- “Scaling sustainable agricultural practices”:
Newly published Policy brief at Ethos Public Policy Lab.
- “How feebate policies could upscale organic agriculture and food self-sufficiency in Bhutan“: Policy Brief by the Millenium Institute that looks at how farmers might respond to policies aimed at incentivizing agroecology and improving rice self-sufficiency
- “Andhra Pradesh Community Managed Natural Farming”:
Twitter account to know more about the work happening in Natural Farming in Andrah Pradesh.
- “Living Labs in agroecology”:
Webinars within the EU and associated countries on how to build the candidate partnership on agroecology living labs and research infrastructures.
- “Natural Framing in the State of Himachal Pradesh, India”:
A project that supports farmers of the state to adopt organic farming.
- “Food Policy Series” by Biovision Foundation in Partnership with Devex’ Future of Food Systems.
In a total of four videos, decision makers from Madagascar, Colombia, India and the Philippines tell us about how to strengthen farmers’ networks, connect rural food producers with urban consumers and promote organic agriculture as a means of combating food security and preserve biodiversity.
- Series of short videos from Madagascar
- Participatory Guarantee System (PGS): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rA47tuYkCX4
- Symabio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5WhP0hfLhk
- Organic Law and strategy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SW22zxBbtF8
- Organic Farming Territories: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC8Dmi4XmNo
“Examples of Resilience in Himalayas from the words of a farmer practicing Natural Farming”: A video documentation by SPNF.
- “Training videos in Hindi that can help with scaling AE in Himachal Pradesh”:
Promotion of agroecological principles and rural entrepreneurship by Access Agriculture
- Organic Farming Territories, A Malagasay Innovation: In English and French
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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).