Agroecology Knowledge Hub

The 10 Elements of Agroecology

The 10 Elements of Agroecology resulted from a multi-stakeholder process intended to generate a system re-design framework to be optimized and adapted to local contexts. The 10 Elements of Agroecology framework was originally developed in 2015. Prominent themes from presentations delivered during the First International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition provided an initial coherent structure: recycling, efficiency, diversity, resilience and synergies as central ecological features of agroecology. Nevertheless, calls in regional meetings for reinforcing social and political aspects of agroecology were also strong. Thus, these aspects that emerged from regional consultations were clustered under an additional five elements: co-creation of knowledge; human and social values; culture and food traditions; responsible governance; and circular and solidarity economy. Following the refinement of element names, content, and the development of a consistent storyline highlighting the interconnected nature of agroecology and its 10 Elements, the framework was finalized after several rounds of review by international and FAO experts.

The 10 Elements of Agroecology framework was launched at the Second FAO International Symposium on Agroecology held in April 2018 and continues to evolve. In October 2018, the 10 Elements of Agroecology were supported by the FAO Committee on Agriculture (COAG) at its 26th Session as a guide to one of the ways to promote sustainable agriculture and food systems. Following the review, revision, and clearance process through FAO’s governing bodies, the 10 Elements of Agroecology were approved by the 197 Members of FAO to guide FAO’s vision on agroecology by the 163 session of the Council on 2-6 December 2019.

Diversity

Diversity: diversification is key to agroecological transitions to ensure food security and nutrition while conserving, protecting and enhancing natural resources.

Co-creation of knowledge and transdisciplinary approaches for innovation

Co-creation and sharing of knowledge: agricultural innovations respond better to local challenges when they are co-created through participatory processes.

Synergies

Synergies: building synergies enhances key functions across food systems, supporting production and multiple ecosystem services.

Efficiency

Efficiency: innovative agroecological practices produce more using less external resources.

Recycling

Recycling: more recycling means agricultural production with lower economic and environmental costs.

Balance

Resilience: enhanced resilience of people, communities and ecosystems is key to sustainable food and agricultural systems.

Human and social value

Human and social values: protecting and improving rural livelihoods, equity and social well-being is essential for sustainable food and agricultural systems.

Culture and food traditions

Culture and food traditions: by supporting healthy, diversified and culturally appropriate diets, agroecology contributes to food security and nutrition while maintaining the health of ecosystems.

Land and natural resources governance

Responsible governance: sustainable food and agriculture requires responsible and effective governance mechanisms at different scales – from local to national to global.

Circular economy

Circular and solidarity economy: circular and solidarity economies that reconnect producers and consumers provide innovative solutions for living within our planetary boundaries while ensuring the social foundation for inclusive and sustainable development.