A Coalition for Food Systems Transformation through Agroecology

To implement agroecological and regenerative agriculture approaches, as a key lever to transform food systems by operationalizing the 13 principles of agroecology set out in the HLPE[1]HLPE. 2019. Agroecological and other innovative approaches for sustainable agriculture and food systems that enhance food security and nutrition. A report by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security, Rome. report (which embrace the FAO 10 Elements of agroecology adopted by 197 countries).

To apply the agroecological principles globally, supporting local innovation, thereby making a major contribution to achieving the SDGs in a holistic, integrated way. This involves four key sub-objectives to:

  • implement the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) policy recommendations on agroecological and other innovative approaches;
  • strengthen research and development programs to support agroecological transformation, in particular by promoting local innovation, through a transdisciplinary and participatory approach involving scientists, farmers, indigenous peoples and other stakeholders within food systems;
  • strengthen the consistency amongst sectoral policies aiming at the agroecological transformation of food systems, including agricultural, forestry, fisheries, environmental, water, energy, health and trade policies; and,
  • ensure that public and private investments promote the adoption and large-scale implementation of agroecological practices.

Join this coalition by completing and signing the declaration of commitment.

Science based evidence to prioritize this coalition

Despite a very low level of investment in research on agroecological approaches[2]Biovision Foundation for Ecological Development & IPES-Food. 2020. Money Flows: What is holding back investment in agroecological research for Africa? Biovision Foundation for Ecological Development & International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems https://www.agroecology-pool.org/moneyflowsreport/, there is mounting evidence that they deliver more equitable food security and nutrition while avoiding negative environmental impacts of agriculture, while contributing to the restoration of ecosystem services across agricultural landscapes[3]HLPE 2019. Agroecological and other innovative approaches for sustainable agriculture and food systems that enhance food security and nutrition. A report by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security, Rome http://www.fao.org/3/ca5602en/ca5602en.pdf. This is done through harnessing natural processes such as biological nitrogen fixation and recycling in integrated production systems rather than using environmentally disruptive chemicals in separated monocultural crop and intensive livestock production systems[4]Wezel A, Gemmill Herren B, Bezner Kerr R, Barrios E, Gonçalves ALR and Sinclair F (2020). Agroecological principles and elements and their implications for transitioning to sustainable food systems. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development 40: 40 13pp. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-020-00646-z.
There is strong empirical evidence of the economic potential of agroecology in Europe[5]van der Ploeg, J.D. et al. (2019). The economic potential of agroecology: empirical evidence from Europe. Journal of Rural Studies, 71: 46-61 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2019.09.003. The whole food system perspective adopted in agroecology addresses consumption patterns as well as production, better connecting producers and consumers and ensuring responsible governance of food systems and fair trade[6]Willett, W., et al. (2019). Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. Lancet, 393(10170), pp. 447-492. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31788-4 .

Agroecology provides both climate change adaptation[7]Sinclair, F., Wezel, A., Mbow, C., Chomba, C., Robiglio, V., and Harrison, R. (2019). The contribution of agroecological approaches to realizing climate-resilient agriculture. Background Paper. Global Commission on Adaptation. Rotterdam. https://gca.org/reports/the-contributions-of-agroecological-approaches-to-realizing-climate-resilient-agriculture/[8]Altieri, M. A., Nicholls, C. I., Henao, A., & Lana, M. A. (2015). Agroecology and the design of climate change-resilient farming systems. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 35(3), 869–890. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-015-0285-2 and mitigation[9]Snapp S, Kebede Y, Wollenberg E, Dittmer KM, Brickman S, Egler C, Shelton S. 2021. Agroecology and climate change rapid evidence review: Performance of agroecological approaches in low- and middle- income countries. Wageningen, the Netherlands: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). https://hdl.handle.net/10568/113487 benefits thereby contributing to resilience. Global reviews find positive impacts of agroecological transitions on food security and nutrition outcomes[10]R. Bezner Kerr, S. Madsen, M. Stuber, J. Liebert, S. Enloe, B. Noelie, P. Parros, D.M. Mutyambai, M. Prudhon, A. Wezel 2021. Can agroecology improve food security and nutrition? A review. Global Food Security, 29, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gfs.2021.100540 and many national and local studies show positive impact on productivity and resilience[11]Schader, C., Heidenreich, A., Kadzere, I., Egyir, I., Muriuki, A., Bandanaa, J., Clottey, J., Ndungu, J., Grovermann, C., Lazzarini, G., Blockeel, J., Borgemeister, C., Muller, A., Kabi, F., Fiaboe, K., Adamtey, N., Huber, B., Niggli, U., Stolze, M. (2021) How is organic farming performing agronomically and economically in sub-Saharan Africa? Global Environmental Change, 102325. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2021.102325 [12]Calderón, C. I., Jerónimo, C., Praun, A., Reyna, J., Santos Castillo, I. D., León, R., Hogan, R., & Prado Córdova, J. P. (2018). Agroecology-based farming provides grounds for more resilient livelihoods among smallholders in Western Guatemala. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, 42(10), 1128–1169. https://doi.org/10.1080/21683565.2018.1489933[13]Leippert, F., Darmaun, M., Bernoux, M. and Mpheshea, M. 2020. The potential of agroecology to build climate-resilient livelihoods and food systems. Rome. FAO and Biovision. https://doi.org/10.4060/cb0438en[14]Sinclair, F and Coe R (2019). The options by context approach: a paradigm shift in agronomy. Experimental Agriculture 55 (S1): 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0014479719000139.

Mechanisms of implementation

The coalition acts through nested scales of implementation – globally (e.g. UN conventions, CFS policy recommendations), regionally (e.g. the Great Green Wall Accelerator), nationally (e.g. national agroecology policies and strategies), sub-nationally (e.g. state implementation of natural farming in Andhra Pradesh) and locally (e.g. actions of civil society partners and local government initiatives). The focus is on supporting local innovation and a national reconfiguration of research and extension systems to enable transdisciplinary research. EU-INTPA funds a programme on private sector engagement. Each action of the coalition will have an explicit implementation pathway that sets out the nested scale arrangements.

Strategic partners

The coalition is gaining partners and commitments at an accelerating pace. Strategic countries supporting its development have been Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Estonia, Ethiopia, France,Guinea, Hungary, Ireland, Islamic Republic of Iran, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritanie, Mexico, Morocco, Philippines, Senegal, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania, Vietnam.

Supporting organizations: African Union Commission, 4 per 1000” Initiative, Académie d’agriculture de France, Africa Rice, Agroecology Europe, Agroecology Fund, Agropolis Fondation, Alliance for Agroecology in West Africa (3AO), Allianve of Bioversity International and CIAT, Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development, Biovision Africa Trust, Biovision – Foundation for Ecological Development, CFAP Cambodia, CIFOR-ICRAF, CIRAD, EAT, EcoAgriculture Partners, FAO, Global Alliance for the Furture of Food, IFAD, IFOAM-Organics International, ILRI, INRAE, France, IRD, France, IRRI, Montpellier SupAgro, Regeneration International, ROPPA, SOMEXA, Mexico, SYMABIO, Madagascar, The Indigenous Partnership, UNDP, UNEP, WFP, WWF Germany, WWF International.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Metrics for economic social and environmental impacts at field, farm, landscape and food system scales will be used to monitor performance of actions taken by the coalition and be tracked by the Transformative Partnership Platform on Agrorecology (TPP) with dashboards available on their webplatform. Combinations of already accepted SDG indicators (such as prevalence of undernourishment in relation to agricultural land degraded) will be used to get an immediate handle on performance across SDGs.

The CFS policy recommendations will also be tracked alongside other policy reforms conducive to and currently constraining agroecological transition as well as investments consistent with agroecological principles.

Areas of land under agroecological transition, numbers of people affected and outcome mapping to understand behaviour change in the public and private sector will be monitored for each specific action taken by the coalition.

Join this coalition by completing and signing the declaration of commitment.

Focal point contacts