Mitigation of Climate Change in Agriculture (MICCA) Programme

Kick-off of a study on agroecology and climate change

From 15/03/2019 1:00 To 15/06/2019 1:00
Location: FAO HQ, Rome, Italy

To respond to the urgent need for transformational change of our food systems, a study on the Potential of Agroecology to Hedge against Climate Change and build Resilient and Sustainable Livelihoods and Food Systems was kicked off during an expert meeting on March 15 at FAO headquarters in Rome. 

There is an urgent need for a transformational change of our food systems to more sustainable and resilient ones. Agroecology could be the most promising systemic approach to unlock adaptation and mitigation potentials in agriculture and food systems and build resilience for a sustainable development, as highlighted in the previous international and regional conference organized by FAO. Nevertheless, there is insufficient evidence supporting this claim, as well as too little information available on the challenges and constraints that need to be considered when building on the agroecology approach to hedge against climate change.

Also, agroecology is not yet fully taken into account in climate change discussions, especially in the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA) process and the annual Conference of the Parties (COP) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Responding to FAO’s governing bodies’ call for increased evidence-based work on agroecology, and building on the ten elements that characterize agroecology, this study is part of the implementation of the Scaling-up Initiative on Agroecology. It aims to provide evidence and data on the technical potentials (ecological and socio-economic) and the challenges and constraints to consider for scaling up agroecological approaches to combat the impacts of climate change. The results of this study will promote discussions around agroecology in national and international climate forums (COP and KJWA). The launch of the study will take place at COP25 in Chile in early December 2019.

Funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the study will include several components and levels of analysis:

1. At the international level:

  • a meta-analysis: which will provide scientific evidence of the performance of agroecology regarding resilience building (adaptation and mitigation), feeding the Koronivia process through submissions.
  • a policy analysis: which will assess the potential for agroecology to be considered and recommended as a relevant approach in the agriculture-climate debate.

2. At the national level: 2 case studies (Senegal and Kenya), each of which will include:

  • a technical analysis to understand if and why agroecological agroecosystems are more resilient than non-agroecological ones.
  • a policy analysis to understand the current political context as well as the favorable conditions and the obstacles for agroecology to be considered in the decision-making process and in the final documents to address the effects of climate change.

This study is carried out through a close multi-stakeholder collaboration among different units in FAO Headquarters (Plant Production and Protection, Animal Health and Climate Change and Environment), Country Offices as well as research institutes and civil society organizations (FIBL and Biovision at the global level, ISRA and Enda Pronat in Senegal).

Start of the case study in Senegal (16-30 May)

Following up on the kick-off meeting in March and as part of the global study, the country case study in Senegal started with a training and field-testing of the methodology for the analysis of the technical potential in close collaboration with farmers.

The technical analysis will target two areas (Niayes and Tambacounda). It will promote the use of FAO’s tool for Self-evaluation and Holistic Assessment of climate Resilience of farmers and Pastoralists (SHARP) to assess the resilience of agroecosystems in a holistic way and it will be an opportunity to pilot test the recently developed Multidimensional Agroecology Assessment Framework.

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Workshop on policy-related aspects of the case study (28-29 May)

Bringing together thirty participants, the workshop opened up discussions on the obstacles and levers for adopting the approaches and principles of agroecology in Senegal and highlighted the question of its institutionalization.

Dynamic group exercises led to the assessment of an enabling environment for an agroecological transition in Senegal, to a better understanding of the institutional framework related to agroecology and to a collective reflection on policies,strategies and laws (including incentives) favoring or hindering an agroecological transition. Finally, the elaboration of an ideal scenario to ensure an agroecological transition by 2035 drew up a concrete and shared roadmap proposal.

The case study will be developed during the summer months, after which the preliminary results will be shared at the local level and also during a national multistakeholder workshop in Dakar (Senegal) in October 2019.