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Building the evidence base in support of Agroecology

01/04/2016

Agroecology is the science of applying ecological concepts and principles to the design and management of sustainable food systems1. It focuses on the interactions between plants, animals, humans and the environment. Agroecological practices work in harmony with these interactions, applying innovative solutions that harness and conserve biodiversity.

Agroecology is practised in all corners of the world, with the traditional and local knowledge of family farmers at its core. Through an integrative approach, agroecology is a realm where science, practice and social movements converge to seek a transition to sustainable food systems, built upon the foundations of equity, participation and justice.

International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition

In September 2014, FAO headquarters hosted the first International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition. During the symposium, stakeholders representing governments, civil society, science and academia, the private sector, and the UN system, gathered to discuss the contribution of agroecology to sustainable food systems, share experiences, and build the evidence base on agroecology. The lessons learned from the symposium, including scientific research and case studies of agroecology in practice, are now available in the published Proceedings of the symposium.

A significant outcome of the symposium was the recognition that agroecology can provide innovative solutions to the challenges of ending hunger and malnutrition, while adapting to climate change, and restoring ecosystem services and biodiversity. Indeed, agroecology has great potential to contribute to the achievement of the new Sustainable Development Goals.

Continuing the conversation at regional and national levels

The consolidated Proceedings will provide a key resource and reference point as FAO’s work on agroecology shifts from global and regional dialogue to implementation at national level over the next biennium. Already, 2015 saw successful regional meetings held in Latin America and the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia and the Pacific. In 2016, further regional meetings are planned, alongside the integration of agroecology into FAO’s ongoing work at national level. A key objective is to connect and strengthen networks in support of agroecology, including FAO’s network of Farmer Field Schools, farmer–researcher networks, and the launch of an online, participatory, Agroecology Knowledge Hub. Watch this space!

If you are interested in being involved please email Agroecology-Symposium@fao.org


1Gliessman, S.R. 2007. Agroecology: the Ecology of Sustainable Food Systems. 2nd Edition. Boca Raton, FL, USA, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group.