Reflections on Rio: International Discourse on Integrated Agricultural Landscapes
The formal government negotiations from the Rio+20 Conference held last month in Brazil fell disappointingly short in terms of agreed commitments, timelines and funding. However, the text finally agreed upon included bold statements of vision about “The Future We Want” in relation to ecoagriculture. There was strong language about local, integrated solutions for sustainable agriculture, food security, agroforestry, community-based natural resource management, protection of land and water rights, biomass energy, climate change action and biodiversity conservation. While the term ‘landscape’ was not highlighted, the key elements of the approach were laid out.
Meanwhile, the real energy in Rio was outside the official negotiations, in side events and the parallel People’s Summit for Social and Environmental Justice. Major United Nations reports on the future vision of agriculture were launched, including two by UN-DESA and UNEP that strongly highlighted the landscape approach. Keynote speakers and breakout sessions at both Agriculture and Rural Development Day and Forest Day emphasized integrated landscape approaches. Our colleagues at the Rome-based food and agriculture agencies (FAO, IFAD, Bioversity, World Food Programme) organized a day-long event on strategies to be pursued at landscape, as well as national and international levels. The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative was presented at the action-oriented Partnership Forum. Concrete commitments for action were made toward the Green Economy, like greening national accounts, and strategies for next generation agricultural eco-certification discussed at a special session organized by COSA.
The most enjoyable and inspiring event for me at Rio was the Equator Prize Ceremony. 25 community initiatives supporting poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation in the tropics were honored by the Equator Initiative (EcoAgriculture is a partner) and celebrity friends. Their energy crackled in the room, in person and in short films describing their work, and reminded us all that the development of ecoagriculture landscapes relies on—and can be achieved by—courageous leadership and innovative collaboration at the grassroots level.
Sara J. Scherr, President, EcoAgriculture Partners
The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature’s Nairobi 2012 International Forum
The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative convened the Nairobi 2012 International Forum in Nairobi, Kenya March 6-9 hosted by the World Agroforestry Centre. Over 140 landscape champions from diverse stakeholder groups in 40 countries participated. International leaders engaged in the meeting included Achim Steiner of UNEP and Ambassador Yaya Olaniran of the UN Committee on World Food Security. The Forum featured three days of professionally facilitated sessions and a one-day field trip to visit integrated agricultural landscapes outside Nairobi. Participants explored the role of landscape initiatives in the future trajectory of global agriculture and environment from the perspective of diverse thought leaders. The meeting showcased country-level policies for effectively scaling-up integrated agricultural landscapes and analyzed the emerging evidence on integrated landscape approaches. Finally, participants planned for strategic action to achieve six sets of Outcomes over the next three years: strengthened capacities in landscape initiatives, supportive national policies, mobilized finance for landscape investment, engagement of business in landscape initiatives, research and knowledge systems supporting landscape initiatives, and stakeholder awareness.
Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative’s 'Call to Action' and 'Vision Report' released
On June 15, 2012, the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative organized a media launch to promote a shift to integrated landscape management, or a “whole landscape” approach. Media materials included a press release with quotes from high-level thinkers and actors, a new Report articulating the Vision and rationale for whole Landscape approaches, graphic illustrations of the landscape approach, the Call to Action, and a summary of impact evidence from 23 specific landscape cases were released together and can be found here. International media coverage of the release (in four languages) can be foundhere.
Agricultural Green Growth Leaders Workshop held in Tanzania
EcoAgriculture Partners and the SAGCOT Centre conducted a three-day SAGCOT Green Growth Leaders Workshop in Dar es Salaam from May 15–18 for 50 ‘agricultural green growth innovators’ from priority SAGCOT development Clusters and from Dar es Salaam. The workshop brought together investors, farmers and representatives from public, private and civic sector organizations to build a common understanding about green growth and recommend ways to implement the approach in the Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor of Tanzania. Participants used maps, case studies, presentations and small group discussions to highlight promising innovations, identify challenges and recommend technologies and approaches for developing agriculture in ways that protect ecosystem services and benefit local livelihoods while improving food security. Ideas from the workshop are informing the preparation of a green growth investment framework for SAGCOT. Louise Buck, Jeff Milder and Sara Scherr of EcoAgriculture Partners led the workshop together with Drs. Elly Tumsifu, John Recha and Felix M’mboyi of our East Africa-based consulting team, Environmental Resource Management Center for Sustainable Development.
BACP Biodiversity Conservation event held at the 7th International Conference on Responsible Soy
On the 23rd and 24th of May, Lee Gross attended the 7th International Conference on Responsible Soy (RT7) in London, UK. This 7th annual meeting of soy value chain stakeholders took place in a European country for the first time in its history. Since producers started to certify RTRS almost a year ago – June 2011 – it was now time to become more intimate with the demand side of the value chain. The Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program (BACP) Team including EcoAgriculture Partners, Chemonics and the International Finance Corporation hosted a side event with presentations from its portfolio of projects focused on biodiversity conservation and certification within soy production landscapes.
EcoAgriculture co-authors two major UN publications on food and agriculture at Rio
Sara Scherr and Jeff Milder were among the eight authors and numerous contributors of a high-profile publication released by the UN-DESA (United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs) in May 2012 synthesizing trends and perspectives related to the future of agriculture and food security. The report, Food and Agriculture: The Future of Sustainability, was led by Daniele Giovannucci. Scherr attended the launch event during Rio+20; the document can be found online here.
Scherr also co-authored a chapter on Sustainable Food Systems for the UNEP publication, Avoiding Future Famines: The Ecological Underpinnings of Food Security. The book was launched at Rio+20 during an event at which Scherr was present. The Synthesis Report is available online here.
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EcoAgriculture Partners Change of Address
EcoAgriculture Partners moved offices this May! You can now find us at the following address:
1100 17th Street NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036
EcoAgriculture Partners Staff Updates
We are excited to announce four new staff members who have joined EcoAgriculture Partners in the past five months, and one who soon will join the Ecoagriculture Working Group at Cornell University! In March, Alexandra Cook started with EcoAgriculture as an Associate supporting our Director of Finance in administrative, personnel and financial matters and Sarah Fiorenza joined our team to support the President, particularly in donor relations. In April, former intern Sarah Thompson became a full-time employee working on outreach and advocacy, primarily for the Landscapes for People Food and Nature Initiative. Raffaela Kozar joined EcoAgriculture in July as a Senior Manager for our Landscapes and Leaders Program. In October, Dr. Wieteke Willemen will join the Ecoagriculture Working Group at Cornell University as a post-doctoral associate to work closely with EcoAgriculture’s Research Program. In July, Program Associate Courtney Wallace left EcoAgriculture Partners to pursue a degree in Education at Cornell University. While we are sad to lose her after three years we plan to stay in contact and wish her the best in the next stage of her career.
Summit for Sustainability in Africa hosted by President of Botswana
The Summit for Sustainability in Africa was hosted by the President of Botswana and facilitated by Conservation International on May 24-25. There were delegations from Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania and the Summit produced the “Gaborone Declaration.” EcoAgriculture Partners supported the summit with analytical materials as well as communications and graphics materials and Sara Scherr participated and facilitated a working group on Agriculture.
Conference on “Business meets Biodiversity” held in Utrecht
“Business meets Biodiversity,” an international conference, explored why and how businesses can effectively incorporate the sustainable use, conservation and restoration of ecosystems and biodiversity in their operational strategies. Sara Scherr attended the full day conference and presented a keynote address on Pro-Biodiversity Agriculture. See more about the event, including copies of individual presentations, here.
UNDP’s Equator Prizes Awarded for Local Sustainable Development Solutions
The Equator Prize is awarded biennially by the United Nations Development Programme’s Equator Initiative to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As local and indigenous groups across the world chart a path towards sustainable development, the Equator Prize shines a spotlight on their efforts by honoring them on an international stage. This year’s prize ceremony was held during Rio+20 and also served as the 10th year anniversary celebration of the prize. Actors Edward Norton of the U.S. and Camila Pitanga of Brazil co-hosted the event, and famed Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil entertained the prize winners and guests. EcoAgriculture Partners is a partner organization of the Equator Initiative and Sara Scherr and Erik Nielsen attended this year’s event. See information on the 25 winners here.
Sustainable Food Cities programme launched by the Soil Association in the UK
United under the common belief that food is a driver of positive change, public, private and third sector organizations are coming together to form the Sustainable Food Cities Network recently launched in the UK. The new network strives to address health and well being, fairness in the food chain, community resilience, local economic prosperity, and economic sustainability. Any community, village, town, county or region interested in being involved in this new alliance aiming to help people and places share ideas, create practical solutions and develop best practices in all aspects of sustainable food is encouraged to contact the network. For information on how to get involved contact Tom Andrews at the Soil Association on email@example.com. Read more about the new programme here.
Seeds and Climate Change Discussed at “Feeding the World While the Earth Cooks”
The New America Foundation’s "Feeding the World While the Earth Cooks" took place April 12 in Washington, DC. The event was held to discuss how everyone must be part of the solution for climate change. Sara Scherr spoke about new seeds and their role in our responses to climate change. She spoke opposite Nina Fedoraff of Pennsylvania State University. For more information on the event including video of the debate, click here.
World Vision’s 'Beating Famine' focuses on Landscape Restoration
World Vision International held a conference titled 'Beating Famine' at the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi, Kenya this April. The conference theme centered on low cost and rapid methods of environmental restoration as a pathway to food security and adaptation to climate change. Over 250 delegates attended the Beating Famine Conference representing national governments, international organizations, development NGOs, researchers and expert practitioners. World Vision and the World Agroforestry Centre are both collaborating with the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative. For more about the Beating Famine Conference, click here.
Satoyama Initiative holds Second Global Conference in Nairobi
The International Partnership for Satoyama Initiative (IPSI) held its second global conference this March in Nairobi, Kenya. About 90 participants representing 58 different member organizations gathered for two days of active discussion, presentations and development of action plans. Major themes included disaster resilience, sharing restoration experiences, and revitalizing local communities through traditional knowledge. IPSI is facilitated by the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies, a Co-Organizer of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative. In addition, EcoAgriculture Partners is a member of the Satoyama Partnership. For more about the IPSI Second Global Conference, click here.
Worldwatch’s Nourishing the Planet highlights ecoagriculture on Earth Day
Earth Day, held annually around the word, aims to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth’s natural environment. This year, Earth Day was celebrated by the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet Project with an article highlighting 15 cutting-edge sustainable agriculture practices that are working to protect the environment and enhance rural livelihoods. The article highlights increasing food production, improving soil fertility and our favorite, “Moving Ecoagriculture into the Mainstream.” Nourishing the Planet emphasizes the importance of integrated landscape approaches, acknowledging the land degradation often associated with increased production and lauding a group of ranchers and farmers in Zimbabwe who have begun successfully embracing ecoagriculture. Read the full article here.
International Guidelines on Land and Resource Tenure for Agriculture adopted
In May of this year, The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) endorsed a set of voluntary guidelines outlining responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests as it pertains to national food security. The CFS suggests that regional governments consider the guidelines as land-grabbing becomes increasingly prominent. The guidelines suggest protection of tenure rights, best practices of transfer of tenure rights, transparency in the system, and conservation of indigenous rights in rural areas among other land tenure topics. Ambassador Yaya Olaniran, CFS Chair, highlights that a diverse group of stakeholders was brought together to form the guidelines which are meant to provide a meaningful set of principles and practices that can be implemented and expanded upon by various countries, the private sector, farmers and civil society to create support that "will work out in the real world." For more information about the new guidelines, click here.
Forest Peoples Programme Publication Provides Population Data on Indigenous People in Forested Regions
In an effort to continue protecting the rights of indigenous communities that depend on forested areas around the world, the Forest Peoples Programme recently released a new publication. FOREST PEOPLES: Numbers across the world by Sophie Chao was published by the Forest Peoples Programme earlier in 2012. The goal of the publication is to provide population estimates of indigenous communities nestled in rural, forested regions, in an effort to raise awareness of the existence of people dependent on forests for their livelihoods. The Programme hopes that the numbers and figures from the report will aid in advocacy for the legal and human rights of such indigenous people. For more information, please access the site, or read the full publication.
International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability article and video on the Future of Food Production in Iowa
What is the current state of agriculture? Where are we going? Where would you like to see us go? These questions were presented to farmers, government officials, civil society groups and others stakeholders across the state of Iowa in the United States as part of a problem-based "Atelier" workshop comprised of graduate students from Iowa State University and the University of Vermont. The goal was to better understand the current trends in agriculture and to discuss the future of food production in Iowa. As a result, the group, including EcoAgriculture’s Lee Gross, recently published a multi-author paper and video documentary depicting four scenarios for the future of food, energy and quality of life in Iowa.
Meghann E. Jarchow, Ida Kubiszewski, GL Drake Larsen, Gretchen Zdorkowski, Robert Costanza, Stefan R. Gailans, Nicholaus Ohde, Ranae Dietzel, Sara Kaplan, Jeri Neal, Mae Rose Petrehn, Theodore Gunther, Stephanie N. D'Adamo, Nicholas McCann, Andrew Larson, Phillip Damery, Lee Gross, Marc Merriman, Julian Post, Meghan Sheradin & Matt Liebman (2012): The future of agriculture and society in Iowa: four scenarios. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability / Vol. 10, No. 1, February 2012, 76–92
Enabling Local Success Primer on Solutions to Poverty-Environment Challenges released by UNDP-UNEP-PEI and WRI
“Enabling Local Success: A Primer on Mainstreaming Local Ecosystem-Based Solutions to Poverty- Environment Challenges” has recently been released by the Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI) in conjunction with the World Resource Institute (WRI). The primer intends to provide expertise, analysis and tools, global-level knowledge management and outreach activities to help scale-up the mainstreaming of poverty-environment linkages in the national development planning process. The primer is set to be a working document, and encourages feedback from country practitioners after sufficient testing. To download the document in full and read more, click here.
Workshop Report on Sustainability and Future Food Security
After holding two workshops in 2011 addressing the issue of sustainability as it pertains to food security in the future, the National Research Council’s Science and Technology for Sustainability Program released a report summarizing the outcomes of the workshops. The workshops identified major challenges and opportunities for a sustainable, food secure future and facilitated discussions about natural resource availability and its potential to influence policy, science and governance in the future. To learn more about what the contributors have to say, take a look at the publication here.
National Research Council. A Sustainability Challenge: Food Security for All: Report of Two Workshops. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2012.
Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration is Offering Courses
The Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration hosts a learning network that has many dynamic classes scheduled to be held in the near future, two of which use landscape based approaches to convey complex, innovative development strategies and tools. “Managing Multi-Stakeholder Learning in Sector Programmes and Policy Processes” and “Applying Strategic Planning Approaches for Good Natural Resource Governance” are two upcoming courses to be held in Indonesia and Thailand, respectively. For more information and to register, visit the site here.
Integrated Natural Resource Management in the Highlands of Eastern Africa
Editors Laura German, Jeremias Mowo, Tilahun Amede and Kenneth Masuki published a book in early 2012 titled Integrated Natural Resource Management in the Highlands of Eastern Africa. The book, published by Earthscan, documents research and lessons learned during a development program instigated by the African Highlands Initiative. It explores innovations used in implementing an integrated approach to natural resource management in the region. Learn more about the book here.
WRI Working Paper on Degraded Land and Sustainable Palm Oil in Indonesia
With support from the Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program (BACP), the World Resource Institute's POTICO Team published a new working paper: Gingold, Beth, A. Rosenbarger, Y. I. K. D. Muliastra, F. Stolle, I. M. Sudana, M. D. M. Manessa, A. Murdimanto, S. B. Tiangga, C. C. Madusari, and P. Douard. How to identify degraded land for sustainable palm oil in Indonesia, co-branded with partner Sekala (April 2012). The working paper demonstrates how to implement a quick and cost-effective method for identifying potentially suitable areas for oil palm cultivation. With approximately 7 million hectares of land in the provinces of West and Central Kalimantan as potentially suitable, the methods and tools provided offer industry stakeholders an alternative pathway for sustainable palm oil expansion on low carbon degraded land in Indonesia.
Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning for Mangrove Systems
Pilot programs in Cameroon, Tanzania, and Fiji hosted by the World Wildlife Fund have inspired and shaped a recent report working to assess the vulnerability of mangrove ecosystems to the impacts of climate change. The Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning For Mangrove Systems report by Joanna Ellison, published by WWF in 2012, combines intensive fieldwork with specific case studies to outline a series of eight methods for addressing adaptations to climate change in the future. Click here to read the full report.
SOCLA’s The Scaling up of Agroecology: Spreading the Hope for Food Sovereignty and Resilience
In May of this year, the Sociedad Cientifica Latinoamericana de Agroecologia released a report titled The Scaling up of Agroecology: Spreading the Hope for Food Sovereignty and Resilience as a contribution to the discussions that took place at Rio+20 regarding hunger, agriculture and environmental and social justice. The report was prepared by Miguel A. Altieri with contributions by Clara Nicholls, Fernando Funes, and other members of SOCLA. It outlines the significance of agroecology, and defines why other approaches to feeding the world, such as industrial agriculture, simply are not an option anymore. Read the full report here, and learn more about SOCLA’s view and suggestions for the future.
Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World 2012: Moving Towards Sustainable Prosperity
The State of the World 2012 Symposium was held April 11, 2012 in Washington, D.C to prepare global leaders for Rio+20 by introducing the Worldwatch Institute’s newly released publication, State of the World 2012: Moving Towards Sustainable Prosperity. International experts from a diverse array of fields spoke at the symposium and shared their opinions on how to effectively achieve “sustainable development.” The report is based on three decades of interdisciplinary information from global experts and reports on current global sustainability economics, provides a “toolbox” of solutions for critical ecological issues and outlines a strategy for promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of human-environment interactions around the world. To view the event page, visit the site here.
World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden: August 26-31
As populations continue to grow, access to clean and safe water for drinking, agriculture and other uses will be harder to come by. Land and water managers need to form a united force in combating this ever intensifying issue and work to develop policy, exchange knowledge and build partnerships. The World Water Week in Stockholm, taking place from August 26 to August 31 will aim to do precisely this, bringing together experts, practitioners and decision makers from around the globe to address the multifaceted issue of water accessibility. For more information, visit the events website here.
2nd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in Hanoi, Viet Nam: September 3-7
From September 3 to September 7 of this year, FAO, the World Bank and key Government Ministries from Vietnam and the Netherlands will host the 2nd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in Hanoi, Viet Nam. This conference will provide another opportunity for global leaders, practitioners, scientists, civil society and the private sector to convene and discuss strategies to scale-up the rapidly expanding green economy with Climate-Smart Agricultural techniques intended to increase productivity and adaptation, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and enhance national food security and sustainable development. Discussions taking place at the conference will involve promotion of the landscape approach and the enhancement of linkages between agriculture and forestry. Collaborators of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative will participate.
IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Korea: September 6-15
The upcoming IUCN World Conservation Congress forum will be held in Jeju, Korea from September 6 to September 15 of this year. The international conference, held every four years, is meant to facilitate the Congress’ goal of improving how the globe manages the natural environment for human, social and economic development. Influential leaders from the government, the public sector, NGOs, business, UN agencies and social organizations will put their differences aside and come together in a collaborative effort to encourage shared responsibility of ever evolving landscapes and seascapes. Natural resource governance within a transboundary context will be encouraged through ongoing dialogues and global collaboration. EcoAgriculture Partners will attend the Congress along with other partners and Co-Organizers of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative.
African Green Revolution Forum in Arusha, Tanzania: September 26-28
September 26-28, the African Green Revolution Forum will take place in Arusha, Tanzania, bringing together African heads of state, ministers, farmers, financial institutions and other interested parties for an all-inclusive meeting on food security. The forum will focus on bringing smallholder farmers to the forefront of the issue and developing strategies to scale up Africa’s agricultural sector for the benefit of all involved. To learn more, visit the forum’s site here.
The CBD’s COP meeting in Hyderabad, India: October 8-19
An upcoming meeting in Hyderabad, India will take place from 8 October until 19 October to address global biodiversity objectives put in place by the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, originally outlined by the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity (UNDB) and implemented through the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Government delegates will engage with diverse stakeholders including representatives from civil society, subnational and local authorities, the private sector, youth, indigenous leaders, development agencies and parliamentarians to discuss biodiversity as it pertains to livelihoods and national planning. For more on the event, and to learn more about the Convention on Biological Diversity, visit the official site here.
Committee on World Food Security 39th Session in Rome, Italy: October 15-20
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security (CFS) will have its 39th meeting this fall in Rome from 15-20 October 2012. The CFS is the UN forum for reviewing and following up on policies concerning world food security. The CFS will review a report commissioned by its High-Level Panel on Climate Change and Food Security and develop recommendations for action. EcoAgriculture and other Landscapes Initiative collaborators provided input for the report. For more information on the CFS, click here and for a copy of the High-Level Panel Report on Food Security and Climate Change click here.
UNFCCC Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar: November 26-December 7
From 26 November to 7 December at the Qatar national Convention Center in Doha, Qatar, leaders from the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) will come together to represent initiatives put in place by the Kyoto Protocol. The conference will allow leaders to readdress objectives from both treaties and determine how the coalitions will move forward to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Stay tuned for more information regarding the event by visiting the UNFCCC site here.
The newsletter was compiled by Ecoagriculture Partners. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about Ecoagriculture Partners and related employment opportunities can be found at www.ecoagriculture.org.