A new partnership for more sustainable and equitable food systems
Food production is the world’s leading cause of biodiversity loss. It also accounts for about a third of global greenhouse gas emissions and causes widespread degradation of the land and water resources upon which it depends.
On 3 June, the Agroecology Transformative Partnership Platform (TPP) was launched at a side event of the 48th Plenary of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS 48). More than 460 people followed the discussions from 56 countries and posed questions to representatives from some of the nations implementing agroecological transitions.
This new initiative aims to spearhead the transition to agroecology :
- addressing knowledge and implementation gaps,
- coordinating the work of key partners,
- and providing evidence to inform policymakers, practitioners and donors.
If we are to preserve the health of our planet and ensure human sustainability, governments the world over must not hesitate to adopt bold policies.
"If we are to preserve the health of our planet and ensure human sustainability, governments the world over must not hesitate to adopt bold policies,” said His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa, one of several high-level speakers at the launch. “Such policies should support ecological conservation, help combat the loss of biodiversity and enable people to achieve their economic aspirations in more sustainable ways.”
Sri Lanka recently banned imports of artificial fertilizer and agrochemicals as part of a “long-needed national transition to a healthier and more ecologically sound system of organic agriculture,” said President Rajapaksa, adding that the Sri Lankan government will be supporting farmers and agribusinesses in the agroecological transition through subsidies and the purchases of paddy at guaranteed prices.
France, meanwhile, is supporting countries in the Global South in adopting agroecological practices. Prior to funding the TPP, it contributed EUR 600 million at the launch of the Great Green Wall accelerator, which it hosted in Paris, to combat desertification in the African Sahel. In November 2020, France also hosted the Finance in Common summit, which launched a new coalition of public development banks led by IFAD to improve access to finance for smallholders and small-scale agribusinesses.
For France, it is urgent to transform our current systems towards sustainable and resilient food systems that allow everyone access to quality, healthy, safe, diversified and sustainably produced food.
“For France, it is urgent to transform our current systems towards sustainable and resilient food systems that allow everyone access to quality, healthy, safe, diversified and sustainably produced food,” said Ambassador Céline Jurgensen, France’s permanent representative to the U.N. FAO.
“France calls for a paradigm shift so that an agroecological approach can replace the Green Revolution of recent decades to meet the climatic, environmental and social challenges that we all face today in both the North and the South.”
Today, the knowledgewe developped cannot be simply transferred the way we did in the past with positive intentions.
Other panelists included representatives from Switzerland and Senegal, who highlighted the role of international institutions and projects in facilitating the transition to agroecology in the buildup to the U.N. Food Systems Summit (26–28 July).
"Today, the knowledgewe developped cannot be simply transferred the way we did in the past with positive intentions, said Pio Wennubst, Ambassador for the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the U.N. in Rome. We need another connectivity, another way to discuss and connect with the world on these issues.”
Senegal, for example, is working with FAO to reduce chemical pesticide use through the Integrated Production and Pest Management Programme, which has also increased yields by around 40 %
"It is not easy to promote new technologies, said Papa Abdoulaye Seck, Senegal’s ambassador to Italy, in a statement delivered by advisor Madiagne Tall. “But by raising each other’s awareness, we will all become aware of the need to deepen such approaches.”
The France funded Viability TPP project aims to evaluate the socioeconomic viability of agroecological practices across Africa.
The TPP’s approach consists of four steps, said Elisabeth Claverie de Saint-Martin, CIRAD's CEO. “To tackle knowledge gaps, first gather the best scientists around an unsolved issue. Second, define a common methodology. Third, apply to a wide diversity of situations and contexts; and fourth, try to generate useful knowledge, both specific to the contexts and generic.”
This approach has already been applied to a growing portfolio of projects across Asia, Africa and Latin America, she added, referring to a France-funded TPP project that aims to evaluate the socioeconomic viability of agroecological practices across Africa.
The TPP will embrace the complexity needed to transition to co-created locally relevant agriculture and food systems.
“As it goes forward, the TPP will contribute to creating a level playing field for agroecological approaches to be taken up,” said Fergus Sinclair, chief scientist at CIFOR–ICRAF and co-convener of the TPP and project team leader of the HLPE report.
“The TPP will embrace the complexity needed to transition to co-created locally relevant agriculture and food systems, and enable the horizontal integration across sectors and vertical integration across scales required to translate national and international commitments under the UNFCCC, CBD, UNCCD and AFR100 into meaningful action on the ground.”
The contribution of agroecological approaches to achieving the 2030 agenda by applying locally adapted solutions for agri-food systems that are environmentally sustainable and economically fair and socially acceptable is increasingly recognized.
“The contribution of agroecological approaches to achieving the 2030 agenda by applying locally adapted solutions for agri-food systems that are environmentally sustainable and economically fair and socially acceptable is increasingly recognized. That is why the FAO conference requested the further integration of sustainable agriculture approaches, including agroecology, in FAO’s work,” said Ismahane Elouafi, chief Scientist at FAO. She then concluded the event with these inspiring words: “Through the newly established transformative partnership platform that you presented on agroecology, FAO will actively engage in inclusive collaboration with different stakeholders to transform agri-food systems for better production better nutrition, a better environment and a better life, and leave no one behind.”
The Agroecology TPP builds on a series of major dialogues and reports, in line with the 13 agroecological principles and policy recommendations from the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) of the CFS. It works across eight domains in partnership with a core group of institutions including FAO, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Biovision, CGIAR, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), AFA, AFSA and the governments of France and Switzerland.
This news item is an adapted version of an article published on the CGIAR Forest, Tree and Agroforestry Programme website.