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MEDIA RELEASE: WORLD FOOD DAY: WORLD FUTURE COUNCIL CALLS FOR WELLBEING OF PEOPLE AND NATURE THROUGH SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMS

Agroecology in the Himalayas: Call for Proposals

First stakeholders’ workshop on “Scaling up Agroecology in the Himalayas”


Major takeaways  

  • Challenges discussed included food insecurity and malnutrition, availability of arable land, low labour productivity, climate change, migration, labour scarcity and feminization of agriculture, biodiversity loss, water scarcity, unsustainable farming practices, land use changes and land degradation, soil health, urbanization, the loss of community knowledge, dependency on external inputs (especially fertilizers), low competitiveness of domestic production, food imports and the impact of the recent pandemic, oversimplified diets, poverty and food affordability, agroecological products not getting out of the niche, access to markets, poor value addition, post-harvest loss and food waste, lack of coordination and therefore lack of convergence, as well as the lack of mountain-specific policies, programmes and approaches.
  • Opportunities highlighted included agroecology as transition pathway, awareness raising with policymakers, the value of a dedicated legal framework and a national agroecology promotion policy, set up a national centre of excellence for agroecology, more engagement of donors and support for capacity-building, the region’s ecosystem services, strengthening research, teaching and extension, improve the water distribution and efficient water use, use malnutrition as outcome indicator for poverty alleviation schemes, nutrition sensitive agriculture and the integration of nutritious foods, strengthening of local economies through distributing and procuring local food baskets, investment and access to finance,  increase consumer awareness, support access to markets and organic markets, provide price incentives, farm mechanisation, addressing crop depredation, attain commercial scale production of bio-fertilisers and pesticides, forming producer groups and achieving economies of scale, agroforestry, subsidies for agricultural infrastructure and integration with non farm enterprises such as tourism.
  • Value was seen in experience sharing within the region and across borders on agroecology and the food systems approach, innovation through cooperation, making contacts, sensitizing policymakers, strengthening institutional mechanisms and empowering smallholders at grassroots level.
    • An integrated, holistic, mountain-specific approach was emphasized, along with the importance of increased coordination and collaboration. Involving more policymakers and developing a joint roadmap was deemed necessary but also seen as mammoth task, which would require a lot of dedicated coordination and support.
    • While there are some promising policies in place, their weak implementation prevents a resilient and agroecological agriculture to spread more effectively and more sustainable food systems to flourish. In order to effect significant change, stakeholders highlighted, amongst others, that policy development in general needs to become more inclusive and has to include mountain-sensitive approaches, the science-policy interface has to improve, and key players such as government officials, teachers farmers and consumers need to be made better aware of the importance of healthy, nutritious and diverse food. 
    • A national-level mechanism that encompasses all relevant stakeholders was considered necessary to strengthen the coordination and convergence between different governance levels, food system relevant departments as well as all food system stakeholders, to advance collaborative efforts towards sustainable food systems and to address contradictory policy outcomes. 

     

    Why was this event held? What was the aim? 

    Over the last 10 years, Bhutanese, Indian and Nepalese policymakers have increasingly recognized the need for transition towards sustainable agricultural systems to preserve their natural resources and improve livelihoods for their rural populations. Political commitment has been implemented with varying degrees of intensity, including policies and programs with specific budget earmarks for measures supporting organic farming and agroecology. Recently also other parts of food systems, such as value chains and markets, have received more attention from policymakers. 

    To build on this momentum and to explore how to better scale up agroecological food systems, we organized this two-day interactive stakeholder workshop. The event brought together food system stakeholders from diverse backgrounds, who share a common understanding of the need for change. We created a platform, through which we can collaborate and find innovative solutions to accelerate the transition towards more sustainable food systems based on agroecology.  

    The workshop is part of the project “Scaling up Agroecology in the Himalayas”, which aims to draft a common roadmap and which builds on the digital event “Scaling up Agroecology in the Himalayas Together” held in April 2021 (More information at: https://www.ifoam.bio/news/high-level-policy-experts-discussed-current-situation) as well as on the study “The Mainstreaming of Organic Agriculture And Agroecology in the Himalaya Region” (Available at: https://old.worldfuturecouncil.org/the-mainstreaming-of-organic-agriculture-and-agroecology/). 

     

    Will there be more such events to come in the future? 

    This workshop is just the first in a series of stakeholder events that will conclude by the end of 2023 with a common roadmap. By scaling up agroecology in the Himalayas, we can create a blueprint for sustainable food systems that can be replicated in other regions around the world. Moreover, this is a crucial step towards ensuring our common future on this planet, acting upon the fact that the health of our ecosystems and the well-being of all living beings are intimately interconnected.

Welcome to the V. World Organic Forum

Welcome to the V. World Organic Forum

How can the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN (SDGs) be successfully implemented in rural areas through a bottom-up movement? What building blocks do the SDGs provide for regional planning and how do we measure this? What are the opportunities and added values of organic agriculture for implementing the SDGs in regions around the world? How does the German government’s international development cooperation take up the practical localization of the 2030 Agenda?

What potential do communities of strong women, regenerative agrarian culture and new approaches to climate-friendly agriculture offer for anchoring the SDGs in everyday life on the ground?

At the V. World Organic Forum we want to discuss and work on these and many other questions together with highly renowned experts and protagonists of change from global civil society, science and politics as well as farmers from regions around the world and all interested people. We will learn about best practices, develop new approaches and inspire each other to bring the UN 2030 Agenda to the ground!

This year’s conference will again take place in a face-to-face format at Schloss Kirchberg (Kirchberg Castle) from June 27 to 30, 2022. The forum is an impulse-giving place for building a global network of SDG regions, in the North as well as in the South, in which the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are implemented and filled with life!

The conference is organised by Stiftung Haus der Bauern – Akademie Schloss Kirchberg and supported by the World Future Council. 

Under the link you can find more information about the conference and register for participation. 

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