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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (iisd)

Vol. 96 No. 2
Sunday, 3 October 2004



The International Ecoagriculture Conference and Practitioners’ Fair convened from 27 September to 1 October 2004 at the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. The meeting brought together over 200 of the world's leading innovators in ecoagriculture, representing diverse sectors including: community leaders, farmers, conservationists, policymakers, researchers, technical advisors, land-use planners, and the private sector. The purpose of the Conference was to assess the state of ecoagriculture systems and practices, and to develop a strategy to promote and support ecoagricultural development around the world. The Conference was organized by Ecoagriculture Partners. 

During the Conference, participants reviewed diverse examples of practices along with evidence of the social, cultural, economic, environmental, institutional, technical, geographic and political characteristics of successful ecoagriculture initiatives. Participants shared experiences, gained knowledge, built new partnerships, broadened awareness of the potentials of ecoagriculture, and elaborated a number of specific recommendations for action to further the concepts and tools needed to implement ecoagriculture.

The Conference was organized in plenary sessions and group discussions focusing on four key themes: understanding ecoagriculture; managing ecoagriculture; valuing ecoagriculture; and mobilizing community ecoagriculture. The latter Theme Group was commonly referred to as the “Community Shamba.” Other activities included the development of the Nairobi Declaration on Ecoagriculture, Farming System Focus Groups, and Field Trips.

This report provides a summary of the Conference, including the presentations and the outcomes of the plenary, Farming Focus Groups and Theme Groups, as well as a brief description of the Field Trips. The report also summarizes the Conference outcomes, namely the future actions identified in the four Theme Groups and the Nairobi Declaration on Ecoagriculture.


Global demand for food and fiber is expected to grow by at least 50 percent in the next few decades. In many cases, the need to increase food, forest and fisheries production and sustain rural livelihoods increasingly conflicts with the equally important need to protect biodiversity and ecosystems services upon which both human and wildlife depend. Over half of the most species-rich areas contain large human populations who depend on farming, forestry, herding or fisheries for their livelihoods. In such places, a new land-use approach, often referred to as ecoagriculture, is needed to integrate food production with the provision of ecosystem functions at the landscape scale.

Ecoagriculture refers to sustainable agriculture and associated natural resource management systems that embrace and simultaneously enhance productivity, rural livelihoods, ecosystem services and biodiversity. Ecoagriculture includes a wide range of systems and practices that integrate productivity goals with the provision of ecosystem services.

Ecoagriculture Partners: Ecoagriculture Partners was formally established as a “Type II outcome” or non-negotiated partnership between governments, business and civil society aimed at implementing Agenda 21, and was announced during the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). Ecoagriculture Partners is a network of worldwide ecoagriculture innovators and serves as an umbrella organization with actors from conservation non-governmental organizations (NGOs), agricultural NGOs, international research organizations, farmers’ organizations, universities, private sector companies, intergovernmental organizations, and public agencies. Ecoagriculture Partners seeks to transform rural landscapes where both agricultural production and natural biodiversity are highly valued to ecoagriculture.  Ecoagriculture Partners is jointly sponsored by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), Forest Trends, and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).



ECOAGRICULTURE: INNOVATION ON THE GROUND: On Monday morning, 27 September, Sara Scherr, Director of Ecoagriculture Partners, welcomed participants and introduced the speakers for the opening plenary. Noting that nearly half the areas currently protected for biodiversity are heavily used for agriculture, Dennis Garrity, Director-General, ICRAF, stressed the need to challenge the “old” model of segregating agriculture and landscape protection. He mentioned some of the challenges for ecoagriculture, including: determining the technologies and resource management systems that generate the necessary synergies; designing and managing landscapes at the necessary scale; re-shaping incentives for farmers, rural businesses and financial groups; and mobilizing communities to pursue ecoagriculture successfully and at a globally meaningful scale.

Gratien Andres Frezac Coloneth, Talamanca Initiative Costa Rica (Panama), presented a case study on sustaining productive agroforests in the Mesoamerican biological corridor of Panama and Costa Rica. He described the structure of the binational farming alliance working in this World Heritage Site and explained how traditional organic production methods preserve the ecological system. He warned that the drop in the price of organically certified products threatens the agroecological system of production.

Rajendra Singh, President, Tarun Bharat Sangh (India), presented a case study on community water harvesting in the Arvari river basin, Rajasthan province. Highlighting the relationship between people and the earth, he defined ecoagriculture as a process of “giving back to nature as much as farmers and communities take from it.” He said ecoagriculture should not be seen as a productive industry but as a practice that is a crucial part of peoples’ cultures. He underscored the importance of peoples’ participation in water management through the establishment of water parliaments; stressed the maximum use of traditional technology, wisdom and practices; and urged the involvement of women in decision-making.

Francis Chachu Ganya, President, Pastoralist Integrated Support Programme (Kenya), highlighted the role of pastoralists as protectors of biodiversity. He underscored the central role of pastoralism and the use of mixed livestock species as measures for sustainable resource utilization and protection in dryland environments. He stressed that pastoralism is a dynamic and viable form of ecoagriculture.

Sara Scherr explained that Ecoagriculture Partners is a public-private partnership created during the WSSD with the mission to mainstream ecoagriculture. She listed the Conference objectives, namely to: promote knowledge-sharing; advance understanding of ecoagriculture principles and strategies; enable participants to identify and pursue actions and collaborative partnerships; develop the foundation for a strategic plan of action for Ecoagriculture Partners; and produce the Nairobi Declaration on Ecoagriculture.

ECOAGRICULTURE INNOVATIONS-CHALLENGES MOVING FORWARD: This plenary session took place on Monday afternoon, 27 September, and was moderated by Dorota Metera, IUCN. Mohamed Bakarr, ICRAF, introduced the draft Nairobi Declaration on Ecoagriculture. He said the Declaration aims to capture the “essence of the Conference” and share this understanding with the international community.

Gladman Chibememe, Chibememe Earth Healing Association (Zimbabwe), presented the outcomes of the two-day Community Shamba preparatory meeting of local and indigenous communities, held from 25-26 September 2004. He explained that the Community Shamba was created to discuss perspectives and innovations regarding: the success of local involvement in ecoagriculture; sharing knowledge, experiences, innovations and practices; and informing and influencing policy. Over 60 community ecoagriculture innovators from 24 countries participated in the Community Shamba, with discussions focusing on: key values and principles of ecoagriculture; actionable activities for capacity building; and measures to create an enabling environment for community-level ecoagriculture. On the values and principles of ecoagriculture, he said participants to the Shamba agreed that these must: appreciate and integrate local and indigenous knowledge systems and technical skills; address the need to recover and conserve biodiversity; recover and promote endemic species; contribute to family food security and seed diversity and sovereignty; and strengthen the social and cultural fabric of local communities. On actionable activities for capacity building, he said participants highlighted the need for exchanging good practice, creating networks of communities, and strengthening local institutions. On creating an enabling environment, Chibememe said participants proposed that ecoagriculture practices: build on existing community initiatives, including strengthening existing institutions and taking advantage of the inherent internal strengths of communities; create incentives for communities; promote win-win solutions for the environment and communities; ensure the participation of women and indigenous peoples organizations in ecoagriculture; and promote participatory practices, networking, partnerships and collaboration.

Bernward Geier, International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), reported on the third IFOAM meeting on Biodiversity and Organic Agriculture, held in Nairobi from 24-26 September 2004. He said participants agreed that organic agriculture and agroecology are synonymous, and that such practices do not use chemical pesticides, fertilizers or genetically modified organisms. He stressed the need to form partnerships with local conservation and consumer groups, promote organic agriculture as a tool for biodiversity conservation and food security, and include organic farming in national biodiversity plans.

In a discussion period, participants addressed the: high prices and premiums placed on organic products; protection of organic agriculture from the current system of agriculture; need to protect small-scale and mountain farmers, as well as indigenous products from the current market forces driven by large scale agricultural producers; and need to create a bridge from “agriculture to dining culture.”

ECOAGRICULTURE – STATE OF THE ART: This session took place on Tuesday morning, 28 September, and was moderated by Dennis Garrity.

Louise Buck and Thomas Gavin, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, presented the outcomes of an assessment on the state of international research on ecoagriculture. Buck said the research was based on three core concepts underpinning ecoagriculture, namely: agriculture productivity; economics and rural livelihood; and wild biodiversity. Gavin said the research outcomes included the recognition that: visions for ecoagriculture have scientific foundations; claims about the benefits of ecoagriculture have scientific merits, but the trade-offs are not always transparent; and long-term research at a landscape scale is needed.

Sandeep Sengupta, IUCN, outlined the role of forest landscape restoration (FLR) as an approach for developing integrated land-use and landscape management systems that supports human needs and biodiversity and ecosystem conservation. He said FLR emerged in response to the failure of conventional planning models and stressed that it emphasizes a people-centered, landscape scale approach to decision-making and management.

Minu Hemmati, The SEED Initiative, explained that the Initiative provides tailor-made support to locally-driven partnerships on sustainable development. She stressed the importance of involving all stakeholders based on democratic principles for successful partnerships. She listed the advantages of partnerships, including quality, credibility and likelihood of implementation. Hemmati explained the social psychology of partnerships, noting that clear principles and shared ownership and knowledge build trust and strong relationships.

In response to the presentation from Buck and Gavin, a participant highlighted the need to address the benefits of ecoagriculture for agricultural productivity, while another underscored the important role of ecoagriculture in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). One participant stressed the importance of prioritizing and identifying biodiversity-related elements that need to be protected in agricultural systems. In response to Sengupta’s presentation, one participant underscored the need to respect the knowledge and practices of local people. Another participant stressed the importance of adaptive management and underscored that forest restoration be included under the ecoagriculture umbrella. In response to the presentation from Hemmati, participants highlighted the need to develop a learning alliance to share knowledge and reach out to policy makers, address the costs of information sharing, and consult stakeholders to prioritize knowledge sharing.

MOBILIZING ACTION FOR ECOAGRICULTURE: This policy forum took place on Friday afternoon, 1 October, and was moderated by Mohamed Bakarr. On the accomplishments of the Conference, Haward-Yana Shapiro, Mars Incorporated, with Esther Mwaura-Muiru, GROOTS-Kenya, underscored the successful integration of community voices and the sharing of experiences.

On the role of conservation in poverty reduction, Helen Gichohi, African Wildlife Foundation, noted the increasing meeting of minds between the conservation and the agricultural sectors, and Shapiro stressed that ecoagriculture is a platform for achieving the MDGs.

On the incentives for ecoagriculture, Gichohi and Jack Wilkinson, International Federation of Agricultural Producers, urged looking at all sources of income and not focusing solely on poverty reduction. Wilkinson further suggested setting up an “auction system” to encourage organic farming.

On policy issues, Shapiro argued that a policy change can be created from “the ground up” and Wilkinson agreed that there is an opportunity for a change in policy and called for increased lobbying. David Smith, UNEP, noted that in most developing countries a bottom-up policy change is unrealistic and called for eliminating agricultural subsidies and mainstreaming ecoagriculture products. Mwaura-Muiru underscored the importance of recognizing and scaling-up existing community knowledge. Gichohi called for an integrated policy and underscored the key role of land-use planning.

On the role of governments, Wilkinson said they need to be part of the policy change, while Smith underlined the need for comprehensive national strategies on ecoagriculture backed by regional processes. Smith also warned against the risk of developed countries using ecoagriculture as a trade barrier.


On Monday, 27 September, ten Farming Focus Groups met in parallel to discuss innovations contributing to ecoagriculture and identify critical actions for the way forward.

The group on water systems management identified the following critical issues: ensuring diversity in agricultural systems; sustaining the ecological condition of the natural resource base; ensuring technological improvements, including promoting “more crop per drop;” developing appropriate cost effective technologies; creating incentives for water productivity; maximizing market opportunities for people and the environment; minimizing the negative externalities of market systems; and creating systems for water allocation among environmental, social and agricultural demands.

The group on temperate cropping systems identified the following critical issues: supporting policies that include ecosystem values; identifying viable ecosystems for temperate zones; transferring knowledge and management strategies for ecoagricultural systems; building consumer support and raising awareness for ecoagriculture friendly products and influencing consumer patterns; and proactively promoting ecoagriculture in “new agriculture frontiers.”

The group on humid/sub-humid tropical cropping systems identified the following critical issues: building a database of ecoagriculture initiatives; scaling-up ecoagriculture; protecting traditional methods with patents and intellectual property rights; preventing loss of traditional knowledge; defining ecoagriculture; and identifying mechanisms to achieve ecoagriculture.

The group on dryland tropical cropping systems identified the following critical issues: increasing farmers’ control over their seeds; raising awareness of all stakeholders on the synergies between agricultural production and the environment; linking culture and agriculture; creating linkages and synergies between agriculture and natural resource management; implementing legislation to support a shift to ecoagriculture; making ecoagriculture rewarding and advantageous; increasing incomes and market profitability; adding value to local resources and products; increasing productivity by using alternative methods; and defining ecoagriculture.

The group on pastoral and ranching systems identified the following critical issues: establishing a strategic plan and setting objectives by synthesizing knowledge and establishing long-term objectives; raising awareness at all levels; improving regulations and institutions to support community management; creating incentives for pastoralists to adopt ecoagriculture friendly practices; and ensuring accountability, better monitoring and enforcement.

The group on intensive dairy and meat production systems identified the following critical issues: measuring the landscape impact of ecoagriculture practices; raising awareness on the connection between policy and practice; creating incentives for environmental practices; adopting a global policy perspective for ecoagriculture; and raising awareness of environmental concerns related to increased demand for livestock products.

The group on agriculture and fisheries identified the following critical issues: including aquatic biodiversity, aquaculture and fisheries in ecoagriculture practices; highlighting the role of water in agriculture beyond irrigation; reviewing water management planning and investment to assess their impacts on aquatic biodiversity and fisheries-dependent communities; researching sustainable aquaculture; and securing the livelihoods of fisherfolk and other communities dependent on aquatic biodiversity.

The group on perennial crop systems, agroforests and homegardens identified the following critical issues: developing research and development priorities for ecoagriculture; verifying the scientific basis of ecoagriculture’s contribution to the economy, society and the environment; developing more sustainable and profitable land-use systems; mainstreaming biodiversity conservation; promoting education, training and participatory approaches on best agricultural practices; increasing awareness of ecoagriculture across all sectors; and promoting institutions and policies to encourage the adoption of ecoagriculture principles and practices.

The group on mountain agroecosystems identified the following critical issues: defining ecoagriculture; bridging the gap between theory and practice; filling the gaps in ecoagriculture practices; capitalizing on small farm ecoagriculture; balancing economic and conservation goals; creating incentives for the diversification of crops; changing consumers’ behavior; and empowering mountain communities.

The group on forest landscape mosaics identified the following critical issues: addressing the bias of science-based agricultural systems; ensuring a landscape level perspective with community participation; strengthening institutional arrangements at the community level; reflecting community interests in policies and programmes; addressing weak incentive systems and inappropriate land tenure policies; establishing feasible markets for ecosystem services; limiting the impact of trade liberalization and globalization on smallholder products; and reducing the cost of certification for small-scale farmers.


Throughout the day on Tuesday, 28 September, and Thursday, 30 September, participants engaged in four parallel Theme Group sessions. Sustainable Developments covered Themes 1 and 2 and based its report of Theme 4 on information provided by a representative from the UN Development Programme. On Friday morning, 1 October, the outcomes of the Theme Groups were reported back to the plenary. These reports are recorded under the “Conference Outcomes” heading.

THEME GROUP 1: UNDERSTANDING ECOAGRICULTURE: This Theme Group was co-chaired by Louise Buck and Jeffrey McNeely, IUCN, and was facilitated by Aderojuo Odunsi (Nigeria). The purpose of the Theme Group was to assess the current understanding of biological and ecological interactions, as well as conflicts and synergies of jointly managing landscapes for agricultural productivity, biodiversity and ecosystem services. Participants assessed the knowledge base for ecoagriculture-from science, local innovation, and technology-and identified barriers, gaps and opportunities for developing improved ecoagriculture systems, as well as policy implications for agricultural and conservation research. They also addressed how to overcome information barriers to ensure that ecoagriculture research reaches and benefits farmers.

Biodiversity components in agricultural land use systems: Kwesi Atta-Krah, International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, presented on managing genetic diversity in agroecosystems. Recalling that agriculture and wild biodiversity conservation are not mutually exclusive, he outlined the advantages of sustainably using genetic diversity in agriculture. He underscored the link between agrobiodiversity and biodiversity, and stated that protecting agricultural biodiversity is an “insurance policy against the loss of production.” He called for: mainstreaming agrobiodiversity; considering the effects of agricultural practices on wild biodiversity; developing landscape management methods that optimize diversity; and negotiating global ecoagriculture partnership projects.

Dino Martins, African Pollinator Initiative and Environmental Liaison Centre International, presented on the role of pollinators in preventing losses and promoting resilience. Noting that a third of all food production is dependant on animal pollinators, he said that pollinators are under various threats. He explained that pollinators affect seed and fruit yields and quality, noted that pollination systems are linked to biodiversity, and called for academic investment in the taxonomy of pollinators and training of taxonomists. He listed challenges faced, including: lack of awareness of pollinator conservation, inadequate legislation and law enforcement; and insufficient knowledge on managing pollinators.

Roger Leakey, James Cook University, presented on domesticating tree crops and marketing novel crops for ecoagriculture. He explained the process of domestication and mentioned some of its objectives, including to: support the livelihood of farmers in relation to the MDGs; improve environmental, social and economical outputs; and diversify farming systems. He said the challenge was defining the role of agroforestry in biodiversity conservation and providing livelihoods while decreasing environmental degradation.

Lee de Haan, The Land Institute, addressed the development of perennial grains for ecoagricultural systems. He described the disadvantages of annual crops and said perennial grain breeding programmes provide a better alternative. He listed the obstacles to perennial grain breeding, including the time it requires and the opposition from annual grain stakeholders. He called for: reviving the International Rice Research Institute’s perennial rice programme; exploring the possible use of perennial grains in the tropics; and initiating perennial grain breeding programmes worldwide.

Enhancing biodiversity in agricultural land use systems: Edmund Barrow, IUCN, explained how pastoralism makes the best use of natural resources in space and time, manages risk associated with drylands, enhances resilience, and is compatible with wildlife. He warned against ill-informed myths about pastoralism, including that it is archaic, disruptive, results in land degradation, and makes little contribution to the national economy. He noted the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) World Initiative for Sustainable Pastoralism and the contribution of pastoralism to the MDGs and the WSSD goal of reducing biodiversity loss by 2010.

Jan Sendzimir, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, presented on the potentials of polyculture and on steering disturbances to promote diversity and resilience. He described how inducing or steering natural disturbances such as fire, landslides or floods can be an “engine of biodiversity” and called for ecoagriculture to seek new alliances with natural disaster experts in order to protect biodiversity.

Hans Herren, International Centre for Integrated Pest Ecology, presented on how agricultural pest management can enhance ecosystem sustainability. He explained how recognizing the drawbacks of increased yields obtained with chemical fertilizers and pesticides have lead to “rediscovering” natural control methods. Herren described how the extension of traditional resource management as well as adaptive management systems can achieve ecosystem sustainability enhancement and address the MDGs.

Keith Jones, Croplife International, presented on the plant science industry’s contribution to ecoagriculture. He said the current challenge is increasing productivity and ensuring food security and safety while conserving wild biodiversity. He explained that integrated crop and pest management apply technologies and expertise in ways that suit local conditions in order to optimize agricultural production and enhance nature conservation and livelihoods. He underscored the importance of the industry’s investments in research and development and called for training farmers, negotiating multistakeholder partnerships, and adopting a participatory approach.

Following the presentations, participants broke into subgroups to discuss: agro/wild biodiversity conservation and enhancement in ecoagricultural landscapes; ecosystem services and restoration in ecoagricultural landscapes; and cultural, institutional and policy determinants in ecoagriculture innovations, adaptations and impact.

THEME GROUP 2: MANAGING ECOAGRICULTURE: This Theme Group was co-chaired by Mohamed Bakarr and Konrad von Ritter, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and was facilitated by Thava Govendar (South Africa). The purpose of the Theme Group was to assess lessons learned from managing landscapes to achieve productive and profitable farms within land-use mosaics that achieve biodiversity and ecosystem service objectives. Participants discussed ecosystem design principles for agricultural landscapes; institutions that enable collaboration and coordination among farmers, conservationists and land-use planners; methods for monitoring and conducting impact assessments at a landscape scale; and implications for land-use policy.

Integrated management at a landscape scale: Tom Tomich, ICRAF, outlined the role of ecosystem services in landscape mosaics in tropical forest margins. He highlighted one of the main challenges as identifying innovative policies, institutions and technologies that can reduce poverty without decreasing environmental services. In outlining a future vision for landscape mosaics, he underscored the need for: diverse landscapes with increased wild species; tenure reform; access to resources and improved livelihoods; and education and awareness.

Meine van Noordwijk, ICRAF, addressed the issue of managing agricultural landscapes for watershed services in South East Asia. He outlined a ten-step management approach including: undertaking landscape appraisals; addressing natural resource flows; characterizing land-use systems and landscape mosaics; addressing trade-offs; analyzing existing land-use patterns from a stakeholder perspective; and negotiating solutions, including monitoring and compliance measures.

David Molden, International Water Management Institute, addressed the management of biodiversity in irrigated landscapes. He stressed the importance of: ensuring water productivity, including growing more food with less water; using low-cost technologies to improve water productivity; maintaining habitat integrity; promoting community awareness; and ensuring environmental flows. Among the challenges, he identified the need to manage multiple water uses and balance irrigation requirements with environmental needs.

Practice and implementation: Howard-Yana Shapiro addressed lessons learned in implementing ecoagriculture in the cocoa sector. He identified four key elements of functional biodiversity: diversity of vegetation; permanence of various crops; intensity of management; and the extent of isolation from natural vegetation. He stressed that ecoagriculture can serve as a “springboard” for building sustainability, protecting biodiversity, eliminating poverty, correcting ecosystem degradation and soil erosion, and reversing declining livelihoods.

Götz Schroth, Center for International Forestry Research, presented on the role of agroforestry in biodiversity conservation in the tropics. The challenges he identified included: maintaining and promoting biodiversity-friendly traditional agroforestry practices against growing pressure to intensify production; preventing farmers from using improved incomes to convert more land to forests; and creating a conservation ethic and compensating farmers for not killing wild species.

Mohamed Said, International Livestock Research Institute, addressed the role of pastoralists as ecoagriculture managers. He identified the linkages between biodiversity, ecosystem process, and ecosystem goods and services, and outlined research findings on the coexistence between people and livestock in East Africa. The challenges he identified included linking ecological field studies and regional and continental scale studies to develop an appropriate policy framework, and developing policies to reverse negative trends and enhance existing synergies between people and livestock.

Monitoring and impact evaluation: Tim Reed, TNC, addressed measures to manage ecoagriculture and biodiversity at the landscape level with a focus on audits undertaken by TNC on its agricultural projects. He said the audits aimed to measure project impact, effectiveness and efficiency. Among the results of the audits, he highlighted the benefits of working directly with farmers, noted that farmers require incentives to provoke and maintain changes, and stressed that projects demonstrating the value of new techniques can lead to policy changes.

Aaron Dushku, Winrock International, highlighted innovative tools for the quantification of ecoagriculture, focusing on the use of multicriteria analyses, statistical sampling techniques for project measurement and monitoring, and the spatial characteristics of the landscape for habitat assessments.

Following the presentations, participants broke into subgroups to address: designing and managing agricultural landscapes for production and conservation; institutions for ecoagriculture planning and coordination at the landscape scale; and methods and strategies for monitoring ecoagriculture at a landscape scale.

THEME GROUP 3: VALUING ECOAGRICULTURE FOR LIVELIHOODS AND BUSINESS: This Theme Group was chaired by Josh Bishop, IUCN, and was facilitated by Rita Schweitz (USA). The purpose of the Theme Group was to assess livelihood and financial incentives for farmers, other land managers and investors in order to develop and invest in ecoagriculture systems. Participants examined evidence of livelihood benefits and economic profitability of existing ecoagriculture systems relative to mainstream agricultural systems. They also explored institutional changes in agribusiness and the food industry; payments for ecosystem services that could shift incentives in favor of ecoagriculture; and the implications for economic, business and rural development policies.

Following the presentations, participants broke into subgroups to address: measuring and monitoring progress towards ecoagriculture; incentives for ecoagriculture-innovations in product markets; and incentives for developing markets for ecosystem services.

THEME GROUP 4: MOBILIZING COMMUNITY ECOAGRICULTURE: This Theme Group was co-chaired by Sean Southey, Equator Initiative, and Robin Marsh, University of California-Berkeley, and was facilitated by: Patrick Muraguri, African 21st Century Development Organization; Ester Mwaura-Muiru; Donato Bumaca, Kalinga Mission for Indigenous Children and Youth Development; and Gladman Chibememe. The purpose of the Theme Group was to focus on community-level actions across ecosystems and farming systems needed to develop, implement, manage and scale-up successful ecoagriculture initiatives. Participants examined barriers and obstacles to community development and ecoagriculture strategies for achieving community action at a meaningful scale; and the implications for community capacity-building, investment and policy. Discussions also drew on the outcomes of the two-day Community Shamba preparatory meeting held from 25-26 September.

Participants heard presentations from Farhad Mazhar, Policy Research for Development Alternatives (Bangladesh), and Peryapatan Satheesh, Deccan Development Society (India), that demonstrated community understanding of ecoagriculture, highlighting peer-to-peer learning initiatives and possibilities offered by ecoagriculture initiatives for communities. The presentations highlighted key areas where strategic partnerships between communities and researchers, policymakers, and community-led business initiatives are required.

Erick Fernandez, World Bank, and Walter Lusigi, GEF, outlined the challenges in creating policy and institutional frameworks to support community-led ecoagriculture. The presentations addressed problems relating to land degradation, drylands, unsustainable resource exploitation as well as social, policy and institutional challenges that hinder investment in land and ecosystem restoration. During the discussions participants examined the values and principles of community engagement in ecoagriculture, including capacity development needs and the types of interventions required to support local level action. On Tuesday evening, 28 September, the Equator Initiative hosted a Community Celebration to explore how ecoagriculture provides innovative solutions to conserve biodiversity while helping eradicate poverty and enhance social and cultural objectives, with participants sharing experiences from a number of countries, including Honduras, India, Kenya, Mongolia, the Philippines and Senegal. Following the presentations, this Group continued discussions on mobilizing community ecoagriculture.


On Wednesday, 29 September, participants went on field trips to 11 ecoagriculture sites in Kenya. The objectives of the field trips were for participants to determine what elements of the projects or sites could be scaled-up and how the success stories could be made to work at the landscape level for improved livelihoods and conservation practice. The sites visited included: bamboo cultivation in Thika; organic agriculture around Nairobi; using insects to improve human livelihoods in eastern Kenya; conservation and pastoralism in Kajiado; enhancing agricultural productivity on the forest margins of Kakamega; watershed restoration in Katut Kodyo, Lake Victoria; commercial tea plantations in highland watersheds, Kericho, Western Kenya; community-driven conservation for endemic bird conservation and improved livelihoods in the Kinangop Plateau and the Aberdare Forest; the restoration of disused quarries into thriving habitats in Bamburi; organic coffee and macadamia nut in Thika; and reducing the human-wildlife conflict and improving agriculture at Mount Kenya.


THEME CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND PROPOSALS FOR ACTION: The recommendations from the four Theme Groups were presented to participants on Friday morning, 1 October, during a plenary session moderated by Jeffery McNeely.

Theme Group 1: Understanding Ecoagriculture: The recommendations from this Theme Group highlighted that knowledge is the basis for more equitable decision making and negotiation at all levels, and that an improved knowledge base that integrates the different aspects of ecoagriculture is required.

On agro and wild biodiversity, the Group recommended establishing a research initiative on the links and trade-offs between wild biodiversity and agricultural production and/or livelihoods. The Group identified the purpose of such an initiative as providing information to managers and resource users to assist in reducing negative and enhancing positive interactions between wild biodiversity, agricultural production systems, and agrobiodiversity. The specific goals for this recommendation include: obtaining information on the benefits of wild biodiversity for agricultural production and the trade-offs with other goals of ecoagriculture; identifying the benefits of agricultural systems and agrobiodiversity for wild biodiversity; and analyzing the trade-offs for policy makers, managers, and resource users. The Group also recommended undertaking an analysis of case studies on ecoagriculture, with the purpose of making a scientifically credible case for the benefits of ecoagriculture. The specific goals for this recommendation include: developing a consistent set of protocols for the assessment of ecoagriculture outcomes; identifying the key drivers of success; and communicating the outcomes of case studies and analyses to stakeholders.

On ecosystem functions, the Group recommended designing and implementing a participatory and adaptive programme for stakeholders to achieve the sustainable provision of agricultural and ecological services. The specific goals for this recommendation include: recognizing intact (non-degraded) soil as an ecological service and identifying ways in which such services can be used in the restoration of landscape integrity; ensuring that the landscape paradigm of ecoagriculture includes aquatic and terrestrial systems and the flow of ecological services; and identifying ecological services that rapidly benefit farmers by negotiating alternatives and trade-offs in the long-term.

On social issues, the Group recommended urging stakeholders at all levels to support, adopt and advance ecoagriculture using holistic decision-making frameworks. The Group identified the purpose of this recommendation as facilitating stakeholders to fully take into account the diversity of drivers of natural resource degradation and the multiplicity of dimensions involved in poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation. The specific goals for this recommendation include: developing and testing interdisciplinary ecoagriculture curricula and programmes that incorporate social, economic, biophysical and conservation ecology sciences; creating a fund for partnerships to develop ecoagriculture concepts and methodologies; and understanding local knowledge systems, institutional dynamics, and negotiation processes as a basis for improved ecoagriculture at the landscape level.

Theme Group 2: Managing Ecoagriculture: The recommendations from this Theme Group focused on: managing trade-offs between ecology, livelihood and productivity; empowering local stakeholders to arrive at negotiated agreements; measuring trade-offs and outcomes from the perspective of different stakeholders; and identifying incentives needed for local stakeholders to scale-up ecoagriculture.

On managing ecoagriculture at a landscape scale, the Group recommended creating a web-based platform for practitioners on current ecoagriculture practices, projects and research. The overall purpose of this recommendation is to develop a communication platform that is accessible to ecoagriculture stakeholder groups, local communities, farmers and policy makers. The specific goals for this recommendation include making the platform interactive and user-friendly in order for practitioners to exchange knowledge and experiences on ecoagriculture, and allowing for dissemination of information to end-users.

On policy and institutional issues, the Group recommended documenting and identifying enabling and constraining policy and institutional environments for ecoagriculture.

On measures of success, the Group recommended defining specific, measurable outcomes that the ecoagriculture movement is trying to achieve.

On current ecoagricultural measures and tools, the Group recommended developing an inventory with the purpose of evaluating what measures, tools and methods (ecological, agricultural and socio-economic) already exist, in order to focus future research efforts.

On the integration of measures and approaches, the Group recommended defining measuring methodologies between different scales (both spatial and temporal), actors (communities, scientists and governments), and disciplines (socio-economic, ecological and agricultural).

Theme Group 3: Valuing Ecoagriculture: The recommendations from this Theme Group highlighted the need to: clarify the values of ecoagriculture; link local and global beneficiaries; create financial and non-financial incentives at all levels; and build on local and indigenous knowledge.

On assessing and monitoring the economic, environmental and social performance of ecoagriculture, the Group recommended carrying out a stakeholder analysis. The Group also recommended developing a set of indicators that would include the environmental, economic, social and spiritual aspects of ecoagriculture.

On product and market incentives for ecoagriculture, the Group recommended facilitating the engagement of all stakeholders involved in food production to achieve transparent, market-driven incentives, consistent with the principles of ecoagriculture. The specific goals of this recommendation include: adopting and sustaining ecoagriculture practices; operating a transparent purchasing system that transfers the benefits of the incentive system to producers; implementing systems of buying preference, store placement, policy and consumer information and awareness building in support of ecoagriculture products; setting purchasing policies in support of ecoagriculture; and changing consumer behavior to purchase ecoagriculture products. The Group also recommended strengthening local organizations to provide support services to producers. The Group identified the purpose of this recommendation as creating incentives for ecoagriculture to become operational at the producer level. The specific goals for this recommendation include: strengthening and supporting producer organizations; and creating new producer organizations where none exist.

On incentives for ecosystem services, the Group recommended piloting, promoting and enhancing incentives for ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. The Group identified the purpose of this recommendation as demonstrating the feasibility of incentives for ecosystem services.

Theme Group 4: Mobilizing Community Ecoagriculture: This Theme Groups’ recommendations were based on the outcomes of the Community Shamba preparatory meeting. On the key values of ecoagriculture, Community Shamba participants committed to:

  • appreciating and integrating local and indigenous knowledge systems and technical skills, and protecting them from being appropriated by external forces;

  • protecting  knowledge and resources through community intellectual property rights;

  • recovering and conserving biodiversity, including diversity of crops;

  • promoting natural species and local varieties;

  • maximizing the use of local skills, technologies and resources;

  • contributing to family food security and seed diversity, livelihood security and sovereignty;

  • strengthening the social and cultural fabric and integrity of local and indigenous communities; and

  • promoting multistakeholder participation and the formation of strategic alliances.

On ecoagriculture policy, the Community Shamba recommended building peoples’ capacity to engage in holistic policy development through education, training, networking, public awareness and negotiation at various levels; and creating mechanisms, frameworks and platforms to institutionalize ecoagriculture policy and programme development with the participation of all stakeholders. These recommendations aim to build capacity and institutionalize the mechanisms that effectively engage the community in policy development. The specific goals of these recommendations include: developing stronger linkages through existing mechanisms at various levels; identifying timelines and targets for planning and giving communities time and space for mobilization; and promoting participation of local and indigenous communities in policy formulation, development and implementation.

On capacity building, the Community Shamba recommended identifying, documenting and disseminating locally adaptive technologies, harmonizing modern and indigenous knowledge to improve livelihoods and conserve the environment and ecosystems; enhancing local communities’ knowledge, skills and awareness through effective learning processes such as community-to-community learning, field training and exchange visits; and providing resources to scale-up good practices on ecoagriculture. Specific actions identified by the Community Shamba include: documenting technologies in the form of stories, books and songs; involving the community in research using participatory methodologies; developing and strengthening existing community-based information centers; exchanging information among communities and local and international institutions; and enhancing the capacity of communities to seek external support.

A complete version of the recommendations developed by the Community Shamba is available online at

THE NAIROBI DECLARATION ON ECOAGRICULTURE: The first draft of the Nairobi Declaration on Ecoagriculture was presented to Conference participants during the opening plenary on Monday, 27 September. Based on comments provided by participants, a second draft was circulated for further suggestions on Thursday, 30 September. The final version of the Declaration was adopted by acclamation in plenary on Friday, 1 October.

The Nairobi Declaration on Ecoagriculture underscores the need for an ecoagriculture framework that seeks to simultaneously achieve improved livelihoods, conservation of biodiversity and sustainable production at a landscape scale. In the Declaration, participants commit to ensure that large-scale development of ecoagriculture contributes to achieving the MDGs. Participants also declared that ecoagriculture embraces diverse systems and practices linking production and biodiversity across landscapes, including those that, inter alia:

  • utilize organic and low external input agriculture, which emphasize locally adapted methods;

  • minimize pollution by reducing and managing agricultural inputs and farm waste;

  • improve soil, water, vegetation and wild species management;

  • reduce or reverse conversion of wild lands to production agriculture, agroforestry, forestry or aquaculture by sustainably increasing the productivity of land already under use; and

  • place protected areas within the process of landscape planning and implementation, enabling livelihoods, biodiversity conservation and economic benefits to be articulated and realized.

The Declaration recognizes that: grassroots communities and farmers around the world have practiced ecoagriculture for millennia; ecoagriculture is globally important wherever the demands for food, ecosystem services and rural livelihoods converge; and ecoagriculture is highly important in critical catchment areas such as mountains and biologically degraded landscapes. The Declaration includes several Conference recommendations, which call on policy makers at the local, national, regional and global levels, including planners, researchers and practitioners, to promote ecoagriculture by:

  • encouraging multistakeholder participation and formation of strategic alliances for planning and implementing ecoagriculture;

  • incorporating and enhancing the wide range of grassroots and rural community innovations that simultaneously enhance productivity, livelihoods and ecosystem services;

  • recognizing the importance of local and indigenous knowledge, their institutions and decision-making processes, and the central role of rural land users as environmental stewards;

  • integrating and scaling-up farm-level and landscape-wide initiatives of sustainable land management and biodiversity conservation;

  • advocating policies and actions that support the integration of food production with biodiversity;

  • supporting and building capacity of farming and pastoral communities to implement ecoagriculture, including managing and protecting natural habitats on private and communal lands;

  • implementing the Programmes of Work on Agricultural Biodiversity, Ecosystem Approach, and Protected Areas and the Global Strategy on Plant Conservation agreed by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity; and further integrating ecoagriculture into other major conventions including those on desertification, climate change, wetlands and plant genetic resources for food and agriculture;

  • articulating and enhancing the value that protected area networks can provide in the maintenance of ecosystem functions that sustain food production and rural livelihoods;

  • building incentives for ecoagriculture in commercial food and input markets, and markets for other rural products and environmental services; and

  • investing in public and private national and international research, development and capacity building programmes pertinent to ecoagriculture.

A full version of the Nairobi Declaration on Ecoagriculture is available online at:


In her closing presentation on Friday, 1 October, Sara Scherr, highlighted the Conference’s accomplishments, noting that participants shared knowledge, developed new initiatives and partnerships for collaborative work, deepened their understanding of ecoagriculture principles and strategies, provided the foundation of an action plan for Ecoagriculture Partners, and adopted the Nairobi Declaration on Ecoagriculture.

She noted that Ecoagriculture Partners is in the process of formalizing its status as an independent NGO, and that in the coming months a new board of directors will be elected. She said that following the Conference, the main activity for Ecoagriculture Partners will be the development of a strategic action plan, based on the Theme Groups’ recommendations. She highlighted ecoagriculture-related events at the third IUCN World Conservation Congress in November 2004, including a draft Congress resolution on ecoagriculture. She thanked the coordinating and sponsoring organizations, secretariat staff, facilitators, report writers and translators, and closed the Conference at 4:31pm.


THE 2004 WORLD FOOD PRIZE INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM:  This symposium will convene from 14-15 October 2004, in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. The symposium coincides with the UN World Food Day and the International Year of Rice. For more information, contact: The World Food Prize Foundation; tel: +1-515-245-3783; fax: +1-515-245-3785; e-mail:; Internet:

TERRA MADRE WORLD MEETING OF FOOD COMMUNITIES: This conference is being organized by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements. It will convene from 20-23 October 2004, in Turin, Italy. The meeting aims to promote food security in ways that respect the environment, defend human dignity and protect the health of consumers. For more information, contact: Terra Madre - Slow Food; tel: +39-0172-472-911; fax: +39-0172-472-912; e-mail:; Internet:

AGROENVIRON 2004: MEETING ON THE ROLE OF MULTI PURPOSE AGRICULTURE IN SUSTAINING THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT: This meeting will take place from 20-24 October 2004, in Udine, Italy. For more information, contact: Giuseppe Zerbi; tel: +39-43-255-8670; fax: +39-43-255-8603; e-mail:; Internet:  

CGIAR ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2004: The annual general meeting of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) will take place from 25-29 October 2004, in Mexico City, Mexico. For more information, contact: CGIAR Secretariat; tel: +1-202-473-8951; fax: +1-202-473-8110; e-mail:; Internet:

10TH REGULAR SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON GENETIC RESOURCES FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE: This meeting is being organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and will take place from 8-12 November 2004, in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: Alvaro Toledo; tel: +39-6-5705-2753; fax: +39-6-5705-6347; e-mail:; Internet:

SECOND MEETING OF THE COMMISSION ON GENETIC RESOURCES FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ACTING AS THE INTERIM COMMITTEE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL TREATY ON PLANT GENETIC RESOURCES FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE: This meeting is being organized by FAO and will take place from 15-19 November 2004, in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: Alvaro Toledo; tel: +39-6-5705-2753; fax: +39-6-5705-6347; e-mail:; Internet:

COMMUNITY MOUBAN: The Equator Initiative will host the Community Mouban - a dialogue space to recognize communities as a vital driving force of sustainable development - at the third IUCN World Conservation Congress, from 17-25 November 2004, in Bangkok, Thailand. For more information, contact: Equator Initiative Secretariat; tel: +1-212-457-1709; fax: +1-212-457-1370; e-mail:; Internet: 

THIRD IUCN WORLD CONSERVATION CONGRESS: PEOPLE AND NATURE, ONLY ONE WORLD: The third IUCN World Conservation Congress will convene from 17-25 November 2004, in Bangkok, Thailand. The Congress will consist of a three-day World Conservation Forum and a four-day Members’ Business Assembly. During the Forum, IUCN members, partners and interested stakeholders will debate options that safeguard the ecosystems upon which future prosperity depends. During the Assembly, IUCN members will approve the 2005-2008 IUCN Programme Framework and Financial Plan, elect officers, consider resolutions and recommendations, and set the membership dues. For more information, contact: Ursula Hiltbrunner, IUCN; tel: +41-22-999-0232; fax: +41-22-999-0020; e-mail:; Internet: 

EXPERT MEETING ON TRADITIONAL FOREST-RELATED KNOWLEDGE AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF RELATED INTERNATIONAL COMMITMENTS: This meeting is being organized by the International Alliance of Indigenous Tribal Peoples of Tropical Forests and will convene from 6-10 December 2004, in San José, Costa Rica. For more information, contact: Annabel Pinker; tel: +66-53-904-037; fax: +66-53-277-645; e-mail:; Internet:

ITTC-37:  The 37th session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-37) will take place from 13-18 December 2004, in Yokohama, Japan. For more information, contact: ITTO Secretariat; tel: +81-45-223-1110; fax: +81-45-223-1111; e-mail:; Internet:

COMMUNITY VILAJ: The Equator Initiative and partners will present the Community Vilaj - a dialogue space for local voices - at the 10-year Review of the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (BPoA+10) from 8�14 January 2005, in Port Louis, Mauritius. For more information, contact: Equator Initiative Secretariat; tel: +1-212-457-1709; fax: +1-212-457-1370; e-mail:; Internet:

SECOND SESSION OF THE UN CONFERENCE FOR THE NEGOTIATION OF A SUCCESSOR AGREEMENT TO THE INTERNATIONAL TROPICAL TIMBER AGREEMENT, 1994:  The second session of the UN Conference for the Negotiation of a Successor Agreement to the International Tropical Timber Agreement, 1994 will be held from 14-18 February 2005, in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, contact: Alexe� Mojarov, UNCTAD Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-5809; fax: +41-22-917-0051; e-mail:; Internet:

CRIC-3: The third session of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification�s Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC-3) is tentatively scheduled to convene in April/May 2005, in Bonn, Germany. For more information, contact: UNCCD Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-2802; fax: +49-228-815-2898; e-mail:; Internet:

UNFF-5: The fifth session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF-5) is scheduled to convene from 16-27 May 2005, in New York. For more information, contact: Elisabeth Barsk-Rundquist, UNFF Secretariat; tel: +1-212-963-3262; fax: +1-917-367-3186; e-mail:; Internet:

ITTC-38: The 38th Session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-38) and Associated Sessions of the Committees will convene in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo from 21-23 June 2005. For more information, contact: ITTO Secretariat; tel: +81-45-223-1110; fax: +81-45-223-1111; e-mail:; Internet:

15TH IFOAM ORGANIC WORLD CONGRESS: This conference is being organized by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) and the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia. It will take place from 19-23 September 2005, in Adelaide, Australia. For more information, contact: Jan Denham, Conference Coordinator; tel: +61-8-8339-7800; fax +61-8-8339-7800; e-mail:; Internet:

SEVENTH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE CCD:  The seventh Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification will take place from 17-28 October 2005, in Bonn, Germany. For more information, contact: UNCCD Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-2802; fax: +49-228-815-2898; e-mail:; Internet:  

Sustainable Developments is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) <>, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin �. This issue was written and edited by Alice Bisiaux and Richard Sherman. The editor is Lynn Wagner, Ph.D.<>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services (including Sustainable Developments) is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI <>. Funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by Ecoagriculture Partners. The authors can be contacted at their electronic mail addresses and at tel: +1-212-644-0204. IISD can be contacted at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada; tel: +1-204-958-7700; fax: +1-204-958-7710. The opinions expressed in Sustainable Developments are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or Ecoagriculture Partners. Excerpts from Sustainable Developments may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of Sustainable Developments are sent to e-mail distribution lists (ASCII and PDF format) and can be found on the Linkages WWW-server at <>. For further information on Sustainable Developments, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <>.