Switzerland and International
Advocacy for Agroecology
Global food systems are largely based on an agricultural model that has lost touch with its ecological and social base. Instead of a system of farming that is sustainable and diverse, as called for in Agenda 2030, the dominant form of agriculture – at least in industrialised and emerging countries - is intensive, industrial-scale agriculture. This type of farming leaches soils, destroys rainforests, pollutes water courses, threatens biodiversity, causes pesticide resistance and harms the health of producers and increasingly consumers as well. Finally, it increases greenhouse gas emissions and so makes a significant contribution to global climate change. Agroecology offers a systematic approach to food systems whilst simultaneously providing answers to many of the above challenges. Agroecological practices help to retain natural resources, strengthen resistance and maintain a healthy climate.
An objective of the project is to make better use of the potential afforded by systemic, agroecological food systems. It will seek, therefore, to expand further the scientific basis and at the same time encourage agroecology through the creation of a favourable political environment. The project will also seek to improve communication and coordination between funders, researchers and policymakers.
The project will support selected national and regional governments with the introduction of integrated policy planning by providing concrete, understandable information on agroecological methods (e.g. Push Pull). Moreover, the issue of climate change combined with the country-specific commitments in the international Climate Change Agreement have brought about a political framework that will cause governments to realise the urgency of implementing agroecological solutions.
In the longer term, the aim is to establish food systems that are healthy - ecologically, socially and economically - and can also feed populations as climatic conditions change. Such a radical paradigm shift and system change will require a step-by-step approach and a transition over a longer timeframe. This is why Biovision plans to implement the required steps in stages.
At the heart of the project are the balance and synergies between the ecological, social and economic processes in local food systems – as identified back in 2008 in the World Agricultural Report IAASTD) and recognised globally in Agenda 2030.
The project is now using the framework provided by Agenda 2030 and the Paris Climate Change Agreement, in order to raise the profile of a science-based approach to agroecology and so expand its application. This will drive forward the paradigm shift in favour of sustainable, global food systems.
- Objective 1: Encourage agroecological research by raising awareness and cooperation between donor organisations, governments and the research community.
- Objective 2: Continue the approach adopted in the project “Changing Course in Global Agriculture”; in particular, apply the policy planning tool T21/iSDG for the development of a sustainable agricultural strategy in the Senegalese region of Djourbel, in order to shape agricultural policies that focus more on the objectives of Agenda 2030.
- Objective 3: Provide information, raise awareness and support policymakers at the international level (e.g. at climate change conventions) and demonstrate the potential of agroecological measures and strategies in Kenya, in order to counter the negative impact of climate change.
Achievements to date
Changing Course in Global Agriculture (2012-2017):
The project Changing Course in Global Agriculture (CCGA) was carried out by Biovision and the Millennium Institute between 2012 and 2017 with the aim of creating a political environment that favoured global sustainable agriculture.
At the international level, the project team advocated sustainable agriculture at multilateral summit meetings. For example, Biovision was an active participant at the Rio + 20 conference and the Agenda 2030 discussions. During the process to negotiate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Biovision lobbied in particular for SDG 2 “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”.
Through strategic alliances and platforms, e.g. the Committee on World Food Security in Rome (CFS) and the UN Programme for sustainable food systems (10YFP), Biovision strengthened its role as a “pioneer of change” and so made a successful contribution to the implementation of Agenda 2030 at an international level.
At the national level, Biovision, in cooperation with the Millennium Institute, supported the governments of Ethiopia, Kenya and Senegal with the planning of sustainable agriculture strategies – including those required for the implementation of SDG 2. For this purpose, it used an integrated policy planning tool known as the T21/iSDG model. The work by Biovision helped to strengthen political dialogue in these countries; it achieved this partly by including farmer organisations and civil society – groups that would otherwise have been excluded from the decision-making processes.
As a result of its success at the national level in Senegal, the Ministry of Finance in Dakar has asked Biovision and the Millennium Institute to continue their work at the regional level. At the request of the Ministry of Agriculture in Kenya, the team is supporting the government with the process of political analysis and planning so that the latter can introduce agroecological methods to counter climate change.
Beacons of Hope Project (2017-2019):
In the “Beacons of Hope” project, the Policy and Advocacy Team have been commissioned by the “Global Alliance for the Future of Food” to analyse more than 130 projects worldwide that aim to bring about a transition to more ecological and fairer food systems. From this total, it has selected 21 outstanding, exemplary projects that can act as an inspiration for a successful transition. Biovision developed its own methodology for the identification of these projects. In particular, it examined the dynamics of such change processes together with the inherent opportunities and constraints. One of the main findings was that most of the 21 initiatives had based their activities on an agroecological approach. This provided further evidence that agroecology encourages sustainability at all levels and has the potential to drive forward the transformation of the entire food system.