Pathways to advance agroecology – overcoming challenges and contributing to sustainable food systems transformation
The paper was published in March 2021 by the Swiss National FAO Committee (CNS-FAO), a multi-stakeholder consultative body advising the Swiss Government on food systems, food security and sustainable agriculture.
The overarching aim of this paper is to identify viable solution pathways with reference to explicit practical examples, supporting and strengthening the concept of agroecological systems for the UN Food Systems Summit 2021. The paper builds on two previous working papers of the CNS-FAO which you find here: «Working towards Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems»; “Agroecology as a means to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”).
The paper sets out from a definition of agroecology and highlights its promise for a sustainable transformation of food system. In a second step, it addresses the main challenges for agroecology and systematically outlines solution pathways. Further on, the paper addresses the five Action Tracks of the UN Food Systems Summit 20211 (UNFSS) and emphasizes cross-cutting issues and views between action tracks, as the agroecological approach is classically holistic and system-oriented and tries always to break out of disciplinary “silos”. Finally, it presents promising examples of agroecological transformations in relation to each of mentioned challenges.
The authors see strong linkages between the suggested Action Tracks and the ways forward towards upscaling agroecology discussed in the paper. The connections are made clear in its conclusion part and it is shown how agroecology can contribute to the goal of building sustainable food systems.
Interesting is the fact, that the authors of the paper representing a wide range of different stakeholder groups – private sector, civil society, farmer’s organizations, research and education institutions, etc. – were able to agree on a common definition of agroecology, the associated challenges and on common solutions and pathways to advance agroecology. It may serve as an inspiration for other processes to overcome opposing views and working on a common ground to accelerate the much needed transformation of our food systems.