Innovating Climate Change Adaptation through Agroecology
27-29 May 2020 | Online
Highlights for Friday, 29 May 2020
The third and last day of the virtual consultations on Innovating Climate Change Adaptation through Agroecology featured two breakout groups on local implementation experiences.
In opening remarks, Jes Weigelt, TMG Research, recalled that climate change poses multiple risks to different elements of the food systems and negatively affects food security, but that agroecology can provide a response to these challenges. Noting some skeptics view agroecology as “backwards-oriented” and intended to “lock people into subsistence farming,” he underscored that agroecology rather is a systemic response to climate change related challenges.
The first breakout group discussed experiences with climate change adaptation and resilience in local agroecological initiatives in France and Kenya. Discussions touched on, inter alia: social and solidarity economy as a lever to promote agroecology and generate systems change; collaborations with and role of local governments in agroecology initiatives; a Kenyan government policy that could prohibit the use of manure in farming; and the need to explore how agroecology performs with regard to income levels and employment opportunities compared to conventional agriculture. On whether upscaling is the right concept for spreading agroecological projects, one participant suggested to instead focus on bridging, bonding, and linking social capital to better account for the context-specific nature of agroecology.
In the second group, facilitated in Spanish, participants discussed three examples of agroecological initiatives implemented in Latin America: from a semi-arid region in the North of Brazil, coffee production in Mexico, and banana production in Costa Rica. They had a fruitful exchange on, inter alia, the following topics: the importance of “technologically simple” and patent-free solutions, such as water tanks; improving market access to reduce migration away from rural areas; and identifying appropriate metrics to monitor the productivity of diversified forms of farming. Participants highlighted the crucial role of women, emphasizing the need to strengthen women’s access to land and to overcome patriarchal decision-making structures, and urged recognizing and valuing indigenous and campesina identities.
In closing remarks, Lauren Baker, Global Alliance for the Future of Food (GAFF), reflected on possible alliances to further promote the objectives of the consultations and noted the importance of critically considering how evidence of adaptation to climate change through agroecology is mobilized, and to what end. She commended the breakout group format of the consultations, noting the way it enabled key messages to be informed by on-the-ground evidence “was fantastic.”
Alexander Müller, Managing Director, TMG Research, warned against the concept of agroecology being “stolen and turned into something meaningless,” for example by those equating it to sustainable intensification. He expressed his hope that participants could soon gather physically, not virtually, and foster their alliance to promote agroecology as a contribution to climate change adaptation. He then raised a glass of biodynamic wine in front of his webcam, celebrating the online consultations as a first step in this direction.
The meeting closed at 19:01 Berlin time.
IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ Meeting Coverage, provided daily web updates from the consultations. A summary report will be available on 30 May 2020.
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- The Hidden Costs of American Food, 26 June 2019, Washington, DC, US
- The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity for Agriculture and Food (TEEBAgriFood) Global Symposium 2019, 25-27 February 2019, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya
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