The last few weeks have felt like a watershed moment for EcoAgriculture Partners. First was the international attention focused on agricultural landscapes at the Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties held in Nagoya, Japan at the end of October. Not only was the role of agricultural landscapes in biodiversity conservation emphasized, but a new international initiative on “satoyama” landscapes was launched.
Then in early November, the Ministry of Agriculture of the Netherlands hosted “Down to Earth”—an international conference held in The Hague on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change. The Road Map for Action developed at this conference stressed the need for an integrative, cross-sectoral investment agenda. Not all elements received adequate attention; for example, while language on biodiversity conservation was included, there was little discussion of crop genetic diversity. However, the engagement of more than 60 agriculture ministers, in addition to influential keynote speakers such as HRH Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Kofi Annan and Jeffrey Sachs, was unprecedented in an international forum on agriculture and environment. New opportunities are clearly arising to mainstream ecoagriculture strategies and approaches.
EcoAgriculture at the Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change.
EcoAgriculture Partners had high visibility at The Hague Conference, with Sara Scherr and Courtney Wallace in attendance the whole week. We convened a Side Event on “Operationalizing Landscape Approaches” with ICRAF, CATIE, COMESA and the Dutch Nature Conservation. Held on the last day of the conference, there were almost 40 people there from around the world. Panelists discussed landscape approaches on the ground to increase agricultural productivity, address climate change, sustain ecosystem services and enhance rural livelihoods. Panelists' powerpoint presentations are available at: http://www.ecoagriculture.org/announcements.php?id=472.
New policy documents on Agriculture and Climate Change.
EcoAgriculture Partners has produced three new publications on agriculture and climate change, which will be circulated to participants at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change COP-16 in Cancun, Mexico:
Bellagio Africa Dialogue Policy Brief and published.
On 6-8 July 2010, EcoAgriculture Partners, jointly with the NEPAD Agency, the World Wildlife Fund and the United Nations Foundation, convened the “Dialogue Towards a Shared Action Framework for Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in Africa” at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Center in Bellagio, Italy.
The group shared diverse perspectives on the interface between sectors, explored strategies for policy integration and committed to collaborate in concrete follow-up actions at African regional and national levels. Discussions were frank and realistic, yet also full of concrete examples of policy models for integration that have already been tested in different parts of the continent. After an exploration of the perspectives and processes associated with integration, the group committed to several collaborative action initiatives.
EcoAgriculture Partners co-convenes Wallace Conference on Agrobiodiversity in Mesoamerica: from Genes to Landscapes" in Turrialba, Costa Rica.
EcoAgriculture Partners, along with the Center for Research and Teaching in Tropical Agriculture (CATIE), Bioversity International and the French agricultural research organization CIRAD, co-sponsored the 6th Henry A. Wallace Inter-American Scientific Conference held at CATIE on 20-24 September 2010. The aim of the conference was to strengthen the use and management of agrobiodiversity in Mesoamerica by bringing together international research and public sector organizations, universities and civil society to study, analyze and take action to promote sustainable land management, in recognition of the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010, as declared by the United Nations. The conference linked science, practical action and policy to address the challenge of loss of agricultural biodiversity in Mesoamerica. EcoAgriculture staff presented on “Prospects for Agrobiodiversity in 2050: Key Economic & Policy Factors,” discussing how agrobiodiversity could be compatible with the consolidation of food production and merchandising in Latin America; effects of climate change policy on incentives for maintaining agrobiodiversity; and the need for 21st century knowledge systems that support conservation and use of agrobiodiversity. For more information, see the conference report at www.bioversityinternational.org.
Joint EcoAgriculture and CCAFS workshop on Agricultural Carbon Projects held in Nairobi.
The Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), part of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP), and EcoAgriculture Partners are currently collaborating on the Institutional Analysis and Capacity-Building for Agricultural Carbon Projects in Africa. The initiative supports developers and managers of agricultural carbon projects in Africa that pay farmers for the climate regulation services they provide, to enhance benefits for local sustainable development priorities and to be more cost-effective. The seven participating projects are diverse, and include the Humbo Assisted Regeneration Project in Ethiopia, the International Small Group Tree Planting Programme (TIST) of Kenya and Uganda, the Western Kenya Smallholder Agricultural Carbon Finance Project, the Cocoa Carbon Initiative (CCI) in western Ghana, the Nile Basin Reforestation Project, the Trees for Global Benefits Program of EcoTrust Uganda, and Making Carbon Finance Work for the Poor run by CARE in Western Kenya.
A workshop held 3-5 November allowed the 16participants to share their experiences as well as develop a field methodology, to better understand the institutions and operations that enable agricultural carbon projects to produce significant offsets at a reasonable price and with significant benefits for farmers. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
EcoAgriculture staff initiates collaboration on landscape restoration in China.
In September, Jeff Milder, EcoAgriculture’s Director of Strategic Planning and Research, spent a week in the Yellow River Valley of China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region working with a team of US and Chinese scientists to develop restoration approaches with improved outcomes for water conservation, soil fertility, and carbon storage. China is currently investing heavily in tree-planting and other forms of restoration. The team explored opportunities and developed a proposal for improving ecosystem benefits from restoration activities in four typical landscape elements: wetland, degraded steppe, roadside verge/hedgerow and new village settlements. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
EcoAgriculture Partners welcomes three new members to team.
David Starrels joined the DC office as Administrative Associate in September. He graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.A in Environmental Studies and a minor in Spanish, and since then has held several internship and volunteer positions, a teaching assistantship, and has partaken in large and small scale campaign work. Also in DC, Rachel Friedman joined EcoAgriculture Partners at the beginning of October as an intern and will be involved in joint projects with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, particularly the Payment for Environmental Services Newsletter and helping to convene the Roundtable on Climate and Agriculture in Washington, DC.
Abigail Hart joins the Ithaca-based team as Program Associate. Her work focuses on improving EcoAgriculture Partners’ messaging and communication, curricula development, and supporting EcoAgriculture’s collaborative research. Abby holds B.S. in Environmental Studies at Wheaton College, and has experience in Central America and at the USDA.
Launch of the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI) at the CBD in Nagoya, Japan.
The Satoyama partnership aims to advance socio-ecological production landscapes for the benefit of biodiversity and human well-being, for example to enhance stable food production and income generation by applying pluralistic land uses, rooted in multi-stakeholder dialogue. EcoAgriculture Partners is a founding partner of IPSI. The initiative was formally launched at the Convention on Biological Diversity’s COP-10 in Nagoya, Japan, with an impressive turnout of over 500 people. The program, presentations, and member introductions are available at http://satoyama-initiative.org/en/. A video of the launch is available at http://webcast.cop10.go.jp/player.asp?id=1911&type=ondemand. For more information on the CBD COP as a whole, see http://www.cbd.int/cop10/.
Ethical Framework for a Sustainable World conference marks 10 years since launch of Earth Charter.
Held in Ahmedabad, India on 1-3 November 2010, the conference was hosted at Centre for Eco-cultural Studies (CES) Sri Lanka, a member of the Community Knowledge Service (CKS) India. The Earth Charter represents a global consensus on the meaning of sustainability, the challenge and vision of sustainable development, and the principles by which sustainable development is to be achieved. The Earth Charter +10 aims to increase awareness and outreach of the Earth Charter, and position it as an inspirational, dynamic, global civil society movement and framework to address key world challenges, issues and priorities. CKS member representatives at the conference included the M.S. Swaminathan Foundation (India), the Institute of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, FRLHT (India) and the Centre of Environmental Studies (Sri Lanka). Sajal Sthapit of EcoAgriculture Partners also participated. To learn more about the conference and follow up, please visit http://www.earthcharterplus10.org, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quivira Coalition holds Carbon Ranching Meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The Quivira Coalition held its 9th annual conference “The Carbon Ranch: Using Food and Stewardship to Build Soil and Fight Climate Change” on 10-12 November 2010. Presenters discussed their diverse methods and sometimes startling results in restoring the health and resilience of agricultural ecosystems, with an emphasis on soil organic matter. Strategies ranging from the ancient to the innovative to innovative combinations of both addressed issues that are critical to food stewardship and local resilience. EcoAgriculture President and CEO Sara Scherr presented at the conference on “The Carbon Ranch: A Global Perspective”. Presentations for all 16 speakers are available at http://quiviracoalition.org/_2010_Conference/Speakers_2010/index.html.
CATIE and Model Forest Network workshop held in Colombia discusses integrated territorial development.
The Center for Research and Teaching in Tropical Agriculture (CATIE) and the Ibero-American Model Forest Network (RIABM) organized a workshop on “Management of Territories: Beyond Planning” in Pereira, Colombia held 15-17 November 2010. The workshop was held at the Technical University of Pereira and sponsored by the International Model Forest Network and CARDER, the Regional Autonomous Corporation of Risaralda (Colombia). The workshop had 70 participants, including facilitators and organizers, representing Model Forests throughout Latin America and Canada, as well as organizations involved in integrated territorial development such as RIMISP, IICA, and EcoAgriculture Partners. The speakers and activities of the workshop were organized in three days to address the experiences of local territorial development in design, planning, implementation, governance, and evaluation. The last day was used to explore gaps in capacity-building to support successful local territorial development in forest landscapes. Dr. Robin Marsh, of EcoAgriculture Partners, was invited to give a keynote address titled "Ecoagriculture and the Collaborative Management of Rural Landscapes". Outputs from the meeting will shape a comprehensive capacity building program to support integrated territorial development in Model Forests in Latin America. For more information, contact email@example.com or visit the IMFN website, www.imfn.net.
Equator Prize 2010 winners announced.
This new group of 25 remarkable local and indigenous communities join past Equator Prize winners in what is a growing network of leading best practice in biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction. Equator Prize 2010 winners were celebrated on 20 September 2010 at a high-level event at the American Museum of History in New York City. Winners include several groups working on ecoagriculture, including RIBA Agroforestry Resource Center in Cameroon, Mara River Water User’s Association in Kenya, the Smallholders Foundation in Nigeria, and Farmers Association for Rural Upliftment in the Philippines. EcoAgriculture (a partner in the Equator Initiative) congratulates the 2010 winners. Summaries of all organizations are available here, at www.equatorinitiative.org.
OECD endorses Policy Statement on Integrating Biodiversity and Associated Ecosystems Services into Development Co-operation.
The OECD Development Assistance Committee ENVIRONET (The Network on Environment and Development Co-operation) developed a Policy Statement on Integrating Biodiversity and Associated Ecosystems Services into Development Co-operation. This statement was endorsed at the DAC Senior Level Meeting on 14-15 April 2010, and outlines priorities for action such as supporting developing country partners, engaging at the global level and tracking progress on integration. For more details, see http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/37/52/46024461.pdf.
UN Secretary-General establishes MDG Advocacy Group.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the establishment of an advocacy group to galvanize worldwide support towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by their target date of 2015. The group is co-chaired by Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, and includes four representatives from the US: Ray Chambers, Bill Gates, Jeffrey Sachs and Ted Turner For more information, see http://www.un-ngls.org/spip.php?article2686.
Certification, Consumption and Change conference held in London in September.
This event brought together 150 thought leaders from social enterprises, leading brands and certifying bodies for a day of thought-provoking panel discussions concerning the future of certification. Highlights included technology trends that are reshaping the face of certification and innovative case studies that define certification in the 21st Century. Speakers came from ISEAL, Rainforest Alliance, Forest Stewardship Council and Unilever. For more information, see http://www.theinsource.com/.
UNDP High-Level Event on Biodiversity, Ecosystems and Climate Change.
The event, to discuss scaling up local solutions to achieve the MDGs, was organized by UNDP together with a range of partners in support of the UN MDG Review Summit, and held on Monday 20 September at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. This date coincided with the opening day of the MDG Review Summit and attracted over 500 participants, including: heads of state, ministers and members of the diplomatic corps from more than 60 countries; celebrities serving as UN Goodwill Ambassadors; top officials from UN agencies, civil society organizations, foundations and the private sector; leading academics and experts; and the media. For more details, see http://www.equatorinitiative.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=621%3Aintroduction&catid=177&Itemid=656&lang=en.
EU submission on agricultural biodiversity calls for support of high nature value farmland.
Finland and the European Commission formally submitted statements on recent developments in the implementation of the Programme of Work (PoW) on agricultural biodiversity in the European Union, as well as individual contributions by Belgium, the Czech Republic and Poland (Notification 2006-079). The submission called for continued support of high nature value farmland conservation, and outlined the challenge to implement the conservation and sustainable use of all three main pillars of agricultural biodiversity at the global, regional and national scales.
Launch of Rural Futures Initiative at the Seventh African Development Forum.
The NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NEPAD Agency), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) launched the Rural Futures Initiative on 11 October 2010 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This initiative is an initial two year action-oriented effort to stimulate participation, consensus and investment around rural transformation as the basis for long-term sustainable national development and pro-poor economic growth across the continent. Rural Futures contemplates an ever-enlarging engagement of partners and stakeholders. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
New institutional support for System of Rice Intensification.
A new publication on SRI, More Rice for People, More Water for the Planet, released by Oxfam together with WWF and Africare, was launched at an event at the US Agency for International Development in Washington, DC The report highlights the experiences of the three organizations' work with SRI in Vietnam, India and Mali. Evidence presented demonstrates that, although implemented in very different cultures and climates, the pattern is the same: farmers are able to produce more rice using less water, agrochemical inputs, and seeds, and often with less labor. The net effect is to improve household incomes and food security while reducing negative environmental impacts and making food production more resilient. EcoAgriculture Partners President Sara Scherr spoke at the event, discussing SRI as part of a broader agricultural strategy with ecosystem benefits The report is available at http://www.oxfamamerica.org/publications/more-rice-for-people-more-water-for-the-planet/.
Vulnerable Places, Vulnerable People cases link trade liberalization and environment.
While some argue that trade liberalization has raised incomes and led to environmental protection in developing countries, others claim that it generates neither poverty reduction nor sustainability. The detailed case studies in Vulnerable Places, Vulnerable People, edited by Jonathon A. Cook, Owen Cylke, Donald F. Larson, John D. Nash and Pamela Stedman-Edwards, and co-published by The World Bank, the WWF and Edward Elgar, illustrate that neither interpretation is entirely correct, given how much depends on specific policies and institutions that determine ‘on-the-ground’ outcomes. Drawing on research from six countries around the developing world, the book also presents the perspectives of researchers at both the world’s largest development organization (The World Bank) and the world’s largest conservation organization (World Wildlife Fund) on the debate over trade liberalization and its effects on poverty and the environment. The authors trace international trade rules and events down through national development contexts to investigate on-the-ground outcomes for real people and places. The studies underscore the importance of evaluating trade from a perspective that pays attention to environmental and social vulnerability and understands the linkages between poverty reduction and environmental protection. The lessons drawn suggest response options needed to ensure that trade plays a positive role in promoting truly sustainable development. The book is available from the publishers http://www.e-elgar.co.uk/bookentry_main.lasso?id=13440 and many booksellers.
Conservation titles available free for developing country readers.
The British Ecological Society and the NHBS Environment Bookstore together are offering free ecology and conservation books to readers and professionals in developing nations. The aim of this scheme is to provide ecology and conservation books to those from outside Western Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand who would otherwise be unable to obtain them. The simple purpose of this scheme is to spread ecological knowledge as widely as possible. This scheme is a collaboration between the British Ecological Society (who pay for the postage), the NHBS Environment Bookstore (who co-ordinate and organize the distribution) and the publishers and authors of the books (who provide the books for free). For further information, please see http://www.nhbs.com/Conservation/gratis-books.php.
FAO releases newest estimate on global hunger.
The new estimate of the number of people who will suffer chronic hunger this year is 925 million — 98 million down from 1.023 billion in 2009. The complete analysis will be available in the "The State of Food Insecurity in the World" (SOFI) to be jointly published by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Program (WFP) in October. The figure was released in advance of the 20-22 September Summit meeting in New York called to speed progress towards achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the first of which is to end poverty and hunger. The press release is available at http://www.fao.org/publications/sofi/en/.
Networking Action Blog a clearinghouse for innovations for 21st century challenges.
There are global challenges that require big changes in us as individuals, our organizations and our societies. Networking Action is organizing innovations to address these challenges, and this blog aims to spur further development and dissemination of those innovations. This is a blog for people who want to improve ways to address critical challenges of the 21st century such as climate change, poverty, sustainable agriculture, corruption, water, security, the financial system, forests, and marine resources. For more details, see www.blog.networkingaction.net.
The Tropical Commodity Coalition (TCC) comprises ten Dutch Civil Society Organizations, with an aim to improving the social, environmental and economic conditions at the beginning of the coffee, tea and cocoa value chains. The Cocoa Barometer report looks at trends in production, certification and consumption. The coalition also has similar reports available for tea and coffee. For more information, see www.teacoffeecocoa.org.
Launch of the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences (JESS).
The National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) recently launched the official publication of the Association for Environmental Sciences and Studies (AESS). The Journal will be issued quarterly in electronic and hard copy by Springer Publications beginning in early 2011. AESS is an independent professional association designed to serve the needs of environmental scholars, scientists, practitioners and students who value interdisciplinary approaches to research, teaching and problem-solving, with NCSE serving as Secretariat. The AESS and Journal provide venues for the advancement of interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the coupled human-nature systems. Those interested can join as a member and become an original subscriber to the Journal. For more information about AESS, please visit http://www.aess.info/.
New report on livestock's long shadow.
A recent report compares the contributions of the global livestock sector in 2000 with estimated contributions of this sector in 2050 to three important environmental concerns: climate change, reactive nitrogen mobilization, and appropriation of plant biomass at planetary scales. The authors suggest that, by 2050, the livestock sector alone may either occupy the majority of, or significantly overshoot, recently published estimates of humanity’s “safe operating space” in each of these domains. In light of the magnitude of estimated impacts relative to these proposed (albeit uncertain) sustainability boundary conditions, that authors suggest that reigning in growth of this sector should be prioritized in environmental governance. The abstract is available at http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/09/27/1004659107.abstract.
Recently published: Farmland Birds across the World.
Farmlands, collectively, form the largest habitat on the globe, supporting a huge variety of birds. Farmland Birds across the World, edited by Wouter van der Weijden, Paul Terwan and Andriaan Guldemond, and published by Lynx Edicions, is the first global review of farmland birds, and was written by seven experts in biology and agriculture and compiled by the Dutch Centre for Agriculture and Environment (CLM). It covers all the major farmland habitats of the world, from grasslands to rice fields, and from arable land to coffee cultivations, detailing them with pictures. The book also identifies the many challenges that farmland birds face, such as intensification and greater mechanization of farming as well as opportunities available for protecting and supporting farmland birds, and actions that can and have been taken. Farmland Birds across the World is aimed at a wide audience: the conservation and farming communities, birdwatchers, the food industry, policy makers, and other people interested in sustainable farming, food and birds. It is available at http://www.lynxeds.com/product/farmland-birds-across-world.
TerrAfrica Newsletter Issue 4 highlights Country-level Sustainable Land Management Investments.
The newsletter discusses national sustainable land management (SLM) investments, as well as climate change and sustainable water management and Strategic Investment Programme Implementation. The TerrAfrica Newsletter provides current news and issues in sustainable land management initiatives in Africa. Issues may be found at http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs007/1102608312694/archive/1102941125555.html where you may sign up for the newsletter. For further information, also see www.terrafrica.org.
Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program Newsletter Issue 7 Released.
The Rainforest Alliance and Research in Tropical Non-Timber Forest Products announce the Kleinhans Fellowship, which provides $16,000 per year for 2 years to one individual conducting research to better understand and improve the impacts of non-timber forest product (NTFP) harvest and marketing on rural livelihoods and tropical forest ecosystems. The fellowship area is restricted to Latin America. Applicants should have at least a master's degree in forestry, ecology, botany, environmental science or an appropriate related field. Fellowship proposals should be submitted to email@example.com by 31 December 2010. For more information about the fellowship including application guidelines, please consult the webpage http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/fellowships.
United Nations Climate Change Conference, 29 November-10 December, Cancun, Mexico.
The conference encompasses the sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP) and the sixth Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP), as well as the thirty-third sessions of both the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), and the fifteenth session of the AWG-KP and thirteenth session of the AWG-LCA. EcoAgriculture Partners staff are currently attending the conference. For details, see http://unfccc.int/meetings/cop_16/items/5571.php.
Agriculture and Rural Development Day 2010, 4 December, Cancun, Mexico. The fourth Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD) will convene in conjunction with the Cancun Climate Change Conference. The day will be hosted by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, the CGIAR Challenge Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food of Mexico. For details, see: www.agricultureday.org.
Forests Day, 5 December, Cancun, Mexico. This event will be held alongside the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC and will be organized by a number of organizations, including the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), a member of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). For more information, visit http://www.forestsclimatechange.org/ForestDay-4_339.html.
Joint FAO/UNDP/UNEP meeting on "Regions and biodiversity in a context of climate change", 14-16 December, Bretagne, France.
Phosphorus, food and our future: Sustainable Phosphorus Summit, 3-5 February 2011, Arizona State University-Tempe.
The workshop-based summit aims to define the scope of the phosphorus (P) sustainability problem, to develop and communicate possible solutions for achieving sustainable P use, and to raise awareness about the issue, locally and globally. Please visit http://sols.asu.edu/frontiers/2011/index.php for the list of featured speakers, and information on how to register. Student travel grants are available.
International Symposium on Ecosystem and Landscape-level Approaches to Sustainability, 22-24 March 2011, Burgos, Spain.
The Symposium, organized by the International Model Forest Network (IMFN) Secretariat, Natural Resources Canada, Minsterio de Medio Ambiente y Medio Rural y Marino, Spain, and Junta de Castilla y Leon with additional support from CIFOR, the CBD Secretariat, the IUCN and FAO, is designed to highlight the significant activities being undertaken globally to advance understanding of ecosystem processes and the application of ecosystem and landscape-level approaches to sustainable land use and management from local to international levels. The Symposium will address ecosystem and landscape-level issues under four themes: 1) inventory & monitoring; 2) ecosystem goods and services, 3) governance; and, 4) future directions and opportunities. Symposium organizers are currently looking for additional sponsors. For more information on the conference, sponsorship and other opportunities for involvement, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The newsletter was compiled by Ecoagriculture Partners. For more information, please contact email@example.com. Information about Ecoagriculture Partners and related employment opportunities can be found at www.ecoagriculture.org.