Sustainable Food and Agriculture

FAO has developed both cross-sectoral frameworks and frameworks tailored to specific sectors. Over time, these frameworks have evolved to adapt to a changing global context and growing knowledge base. This page is continuously updated, reflecting new instruments such as frameworks, approaches, policies, tools and techniques, that are developed by FAO and its Member Countries, to enhance the economic, environmental, and social sustainability of food and agriculture.

Frameworks and approaches

Climate Smart Agriculture

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrative approach to address these interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, that explicitly aims for three objectives: (1) sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, to support equitable increases in farm incomes, food security and development; (2) adapting and building resilience of agricultural and food security systems to climate change at multiple levels; and (3) reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (including crops, livestock and ­fisheries).

Coping with Water Scarcity

FAO’s water scarcity programme is aligned with UN-Water’s programmes. This programmatic approach to agricultural water management aims to enhance the agricultural productivity and advance the sustainable use of water resources in agriculture through their improved governance, management, development and conservation. In its water programme, FAO applies the principles of integrated water resources management (IWRM) to the agriculture sector.

Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF)

The Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) has been adopted by the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) as the appropriate and practical way to fully implement the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. EAF is a risk based management planning process that covers the principles of Sustainable Development including the human and social elements of sustainability, not just the ecological and environmental components.


Ecosystem Approach to Aquaculture (EAA)

An ecosystem approach to aquaculture (EAA) strives to balance diverse societal objectives, by taking account of the knowledge and uncertainties of biotic, abiotic and human components of ecosystems including their interactions, flows and processes and applying an integrated approach within ecologically and operationally meaningful boundaries.



FAO-Adapt is an organization-wide framework programme launched in June 2011. It provides general guidance and introduces principles as well as priority themes, actions and implementation support to FAO’s multi-disciplinary activities for climate change adaptation.


Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF)

The Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries was drawn up by FAO, following a call from the International Conference on Responsible Fishing (Cancun, Mexico, 1992), to strengthen the international legal framework for more effective conservation, management and sustainable exploitation and production of living aquatic resources. The CCRF is directed towards all stakeholders of the fishing and aquaculture industries.


Save and Grow: Sustainable crop production intensification 

In 2011, FAO launched Save and Grow as a new paradigm for intensive crop production for that would enhance both productivity and sustainability. Save and Grow calls for greening of the Green Revolution through an ecosystem approach that draws on nature’s contribution to crop growth, such as organic matter, water flow regulation, pollination and bio-control of insect pests and diseases.


Global Plans of Action for genetic resources

Global Plans of Action seek to create an efficient system for the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources for food and agriculture. They are intended as comprehensive frameworks to guide and catalyse action at community, national, regional and international levels through better cooperation, coordination and planning and by strengthening capacities.

States of the world on genetic resources

The global assessments address the state of genetic resources in the respective sectors, along with their uses, drivers that contribute to their erosion, and the challenges and opportunities involved in conserving and using them in a sustainable manner to contribute to food security and nutrition. They are prepared through participatory, country-driven processes.


Sustainable Forest Management

A globally agreed definition of sustainable forest management (SFM) is impractical beyond a very general level because of the huge diversity of forest types, conditions and socioeconomic contexts worldwide. In general, however, SFM can be viewed as the sustainable use and conservation of forests with the aim of maintaining and enhancing multiple forest values through human interventions. People are at the centre of SFM because it aims to contribute to society’s diverse needs in perpetuity.


Sustainable Land Management

SLM can be defined as “the use of land resources, including soils, water, animals and plants, for the production of goods to meet changing human needs, while simultaneously ensuring the long-term productive potential of these resources and the maintenance of their environmental functions” (UN Earth Summit, 1992).

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