Solution Cluster 6.1.3
Strengthening Territorial Governance of Food Systems: Rural and Indigenous Territories, Landscape Partnerships and City-Regions Cluster Proposition
The aim is to strengthen and support territorial governance—encompassing rural and indigenous territories, landscape partnerships, city-regions, and other place-based approaches[i]–to deliver integrated strategies for food systems transformation led by local stakeholders. This goal can be achieved with action to link existing territorial networks; mobilize national-level policy frameworks for multi-level governance; institutionalize programs to support territorial partnerships; generate data and knowledge to inform territorial governance; and innovate financial systems and tools.
About this Solution Cluster
Food systems governance comprises complex, overlapping, multi-sector, -jurisdictional, and -stakeholder forms of decision-making, with varying degrees of autonomy, participation, coordination, competition, and cooperation. To deliver integrated food systems that contribute to all SDGs –including food security, biodiversity, health, climate change, consumption, dignified livelihoods[i]–requires a common framework for practical, spatially explicit field implementation.
Territorial governance can support these goals by bringing together actors from different sectors and institutions to work in an aligned and coordinated way that is place-based, with a long-term and multi-generational commitment. Diverse, effective models[ii] have cropped up all around the world in recent years[iii]. However, support for them is fragmented. There is limited recognition of local experience and knowledge, little programmatic support for local partnerships, national governance remains top-down and sectorally siloed, and financial flows bypass partnership platforms and the integrated investment needed for food systems transformation.[iv]
A critical mass of actors is in place to systematize food systems territorial governance. Research and field action have generated an expanding evidence base, implementation toolkits, and experienced practitioners. Territorial, landscape and city-region approaches have been formally endorsed by the UN CBD, UNFCCC, CCD, the Bonn Challenge and the High-Level Political Forum of the SDGs, and in all Action Tracks of the UNFSS. The Global Environment Facility, UNDP, FAO, World Bank, Green Climate Fund, IFAD and the Global Adaptation Fund have large and fast-growing portfolios of integrated landscape, city region and territorial projects.
Business stakeholders have begun to engage, such as partners of the UNDP Green Commodities Community, the Tropical Forest Alliance, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the Global Agribusiness Alliance. Research institutions, including CGIAR, are building research programs. The 1000 Landscapes for 1 Billion People initiative is spearheading a ‘radical collaboration’ of organizations worldwide to strengthen landscape, partnerships. The Global Landscapes Forum and UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration are framing their global mobilization efforts around integrated landscape approaches.
Territorial partnerships are reaching out to one another for cross-learning and collaboration on food systems, with national landscape networks in East Africa, Australia and the U.S.; indigenous territorial networks in Latin America; Model Forest Networks and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). Some UN Member States and international organizations such as Territorial Perspective for Development (TP4D, with the European Union, UNCDF, OECD, BMZ/GIZ, AfD, FAO and NEPAD) are champions. Aligned initiatives include the Satoyama Initiative for Landscapes and Seascapes, the Asian Local Governments for Organic Agriculture (ALGOA), Green Cities Regional Action Programme for Africa-Green Cities, Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, Europe, Urban Food Systems Network (led by GAIN/FAO), UN-Habitat Urban-Rural Linkages (URL-GP), the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT), Consorcio para el Desarrollo Sostenible de la Ecorregión Andina (CONDESAN), Friends of Agroecology, and The Water and Energy for Food (WE4F) initiative. The TP4D, with its recent stocktaking report on territorial approaches to sustainable development[i] and 1000 Landscapes[ii] are building bridges among landscape, territorial and city-region development[iii].
Five core sets of actions are recommended to place territorial governance at the heart of integrated food systems transformation:
1) Linking existing territorial networks: The diverse existing networks for territorial, landscape and city-region development should join forces—to share tools, evidence and lessons learned; collaborate on policy recommendations and processes; and mobilize resources jointly. They should collaborate for advocacy and communications with national governments, market actors and others, and link communities of practice. (See 1.20 Foster shared learning on Food System Transformation Pathways and 3.21 Strengthening Landscape Partnerships)
2) Policy frameworks for multi-level governance: National policy frameworks should embrace territorial, landscape and city-region action as a focal level of multi-level food systems governance, structuring policy and government policies to empower and support landscape and territorial partnerships. (See SC 1.41 Develop a Country-Driven Support Facility for Food Systems Pathway and AT2.5. National Food System Action Hubs). Resources are being developed by organizations like UNDP and the International Development Law Organization.
3) Institutionalizing support for territorial partnerships: Government, private sector and philanthropic actors should shift from short-term project support for landscape, territorial and city-region partnerships, to long-term institutionalized support. Such support would encompass legal frameworks and rights, capacity development for leaders and facilitators, market development, network strengthening, and mobilizing finance.[i] (AT 3.21 on Strengthening Landscape Partnerships, Solution Clusters 3.1.1 Deforestation-free Supply Chains; 3.1.2 Land-freshwater Nexus, 3.2.3 Transformation through Agroecology and Regenerative Agriculture; and 3.2.6 Indigenous Peoples Food Systems and 4.33 Promoting Sustainable Territorial Development).
4) Generating data and knowledge to inform collective territorial governance: Data and science support for food systems, such as early warning systems or agroecosystem analysis, should be designed to inform negotiation, planning and policy development by territorial stakeholders, identifying practical interventions to reduce trade-offs and achieve synergies. (See SC 1.43 Launch a Global Food Systems Data Consortium)
5) Innovating financial systems and tools: Financial programs and innovations are needed to direct public, private and philanthropic financial flows to projects and businesses that deliver local stakeholders’ territorial vision and food system transformation strategy. Landscape partnerships can help members to increase returns, reduce or share costs, manage holistic risks, address change across supply chains, and improve the investment enabling environment. Efforts can build on Finance Levers “food finance architecture” for FS transformation[ii], including the brief on financing SDG2[iii], to strengthen territorial-scale impacts (See 4.1 Food Systems Finance Facility and 4.4 Food Systems Landscape Finance Innovation Hub).
The UNFSS process for Action surfaced a rich abundance of specific solutions for effective territorial governance (see Annex below). Champions for post-Summit action are emerging from, the Coalitions, UNEP Member State Dialogue on Food Systems, the Global Finance Dialogue, Multi-stakeholder platforms to achieve sustainable food systems, the post-UNFSS Member State Support program, the Governance Policy Cluster, the AT Clusters on Localizing Food Systems.
Achieving the integrated food system outcomes for SDGs, for food security, climate change, biodiversity and health, and well-being requires strong governance mechanisms to negotiate, plan, finance, implement and coordinate transformation in every landscape, territory and city-region.
1 Note the rich proliferation of approaches: Scherr S. and Shames S. 2021. A Landscape by Any Other Name: 100+ Communities of Practices for Integrated Landscape Management. EcoAgriculture Partners: Oakton, Virginia. (draft)
9 Scherr, S.J., A. Moore, B. Sethi, L. Buck, S. Shames, R. DeFries. 2021. Institutionalizing Support for Landscape Partnerships. EcoAgriculture Partners, GALLOP, Columbia University, Cornell University.