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Agroecological and other Innovative Approaches for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems

On June 4 2021, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) had their 48th special session. In the bid to take bold and transformational steps to move the world on to a sustainable and resilient path, the committee met to endorse the Policy Recommendations on Agroecological and other Innovative Approaches for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems that Enhance Food Security and Nutrition. Among the challenges is the fast-growing numbers of undernourished people in the world. It is estimated that 690 million people are suffering from chronic undernourishment, 135 million are faced with acute food insecurity, and 2 billion suffer from moderate food insecurity. Unsustainable agriculture and food systems are putting pressure on the world natural resources and, in addition, extreme poverty among the rural populations and COVID-19 remain a global threat to food security.

At the opening ceremony, Dr. Qu Dongyu, FAO Director-General, in a statement emphasized how the pandemic highlighted the importance of resilience and diversification and the urgency for integrating economic, social and environmental sustainability. He commended the CFS and its High-Level panel of experts for their tremendous work. He added that their policy recommendations could contribute to the debate at the next UN Food systems summit. In his opinion it was time to work in harmony and solidarity to redesign the world’s food system them make them more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable. 

The CFS, its member states, the High-level Panel of Experts (HPLE), Private Sector and Civil Society Mechanisms and other stakeholders from research and academia have worked together to develop agroecological and other innovative approaches for sustainable agriculture and food systems that enhance food security and nutrition. It was noted that a context- appropriate pathways towards food systems transformation was key and it is necessary to establish the needed metrics to better measure production, performance and consumption. The innovative approaches discussed go beyond technological revolutions to a well- articulated general set of practices and methods.  

To bridge the gaps of inequalities around the world food systems, the Policy Recommendations include the following:

  • Provide policy advice for agroecological and other innovative approaches to contribute to sustainable agriculture and food systems that enhance food security and nutrition
  • Establish and apply comprehensive performance measurement and monitoring frameworks to encourage the adoption of agroecological and other innovative approaches
  • Support development of resilient, diversified and integrated agriculture and food systems through agroecological and other innovative approaches
  • Strengthen research, training and education, and reconfigure knowledge generation and sharing to foster co-learning
  • Strengthen institutions for stakeholder engagement, create an enabling environment for empowering vulnerable and marginalized groups in agriculture and food systems

IAFN & PSM remain committed to the uptake and implementation of these policy recommendations. Although there is no single approach that will be applicable across board, the network, in the words of IAFN & PSM Chair Rick White, encourages farmers and members to choose the approach that best suits them. As Emerging continues to equip farmers to discuss and negotiate on issues that are pivotal to the development of the agricultural sector, we applaud the successful endorsement of the policy recommendations and look forward to highlighting the various approaches which will be employed by the private sector.


Brian Baldwin

Brian Baldwin (Geographer and Agricultural Economist) held field posts with the UK’s Overseas Development Administration (the precursor of DFID) in Sri Lanka and Zambia in design and evaluation of agricultural and rural development programmes. These long term in-country positions within the civil service structure gave an important perspective on the needs and priorities of emerging countries, their constraints and opportunities. Subsequently, he worked as an independent economist with USAID, UNIDO, FAO, IFAD, EU and the private sector in the Caribbean, Thailand, Philippines, Tanzania, Malawi, Botswana and Zambia. 

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