Inclusivity in agrifood systems

The 2030 Agenda’s central principle is “Leave No One Behind” (LNOB), a commitment to eradicate poverty, discrimination, inequalities, and vulnerabilities undermining the potential of individuals and communities. However, for this to happen, we urgently need to rethink rural transformation and build sustainable, equitable, and inclusive agrifood systems for everyone.

lnclusivity is an approach to ensure that everyone, regardless of their sociaI, economic or politicaI status and identities (including race, ethnicity, gender, age, beliefs, geographical location, health status, migrant status, etc.), is fully and actively involved in and benefitting from development processes.

Exclusion manifests itself in multiple ways, with the majority of people who experience higher levels of marginalization and vulnerability living in rural areas and having livelihoods based in agrifood systems. Exclusion affects all areas of their lives, including their productivity and their livelihoods. Many cannot express their rights fully and face limited access to resources and services. Most often, they are not part of decision­ making processes and their ability to play an active role in their communities is diminished.

However, these actors have enormous potential to support the shift towards more sustainable agrifood systems. Inclusive structural changes would help to address inequalities, delivering quality services and decent institutions, facilitating access to productive and natural resources, and ensuring everyone's human rights are respected.

Who is left behind?

FAO combats discrimination and inequalities (often multiple and intersecting) that undermine the agency of people as holders of rights, with a focus on the below groups:

Poor and extreme poor

More than 80% of the extreme poor live in rural areas, with limited or no access to finance, resources, and opportunities. Despite these conditions, rural small-scale farmers produce at least a third of the world's food, making them critical to food security and nutrition.

Learn more
Rural women and girls

Globally women make up 37% of agricultural employment, yet the gender gap in food and agriculture remains extensive.  Women constitute a significantly smaller share of all landowners and, compared to men they face greater challenges to access resources, inputs, services, technologies, and socio-economic opportunities.

Learn more
Rural youth

Youth are critical to ensure sustainable agrifood systems and long-term economic development, yet many of them face unemployment, lack of education, and access to essential services.

Learn more

Migrant workers are essential for agrifood systems, yet they are often excluded and discriminated. 80% of all migratory movements involve rural areas, but often migration is not a choice. Many migrate because of a lack of opportunities and climatic changes, while conflicts and disasters trigger forced displacement.

Learn more
People with disabilities

They could be excluded based on psychosocial, physical/sensory, or intellectual disabilities, preventing fair and equal access to opportunities. Poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition can cause disabilities, while disabilities make people more exposed to poverty, hunger, and malnutrition.

Learn more
Indigenous Peoples

There are 476 million Indigenous Peoples around the world, living in more than 90 countries. Due to their vast knowledge, food, and territorial management systems, their territories are home to more than 80% of the planet's biodiversity. However, the systematic lack of recognition of their rights and governance systems, as well as the constant practices of discrimination and marginalization, challenge their very existence.

Learn more
FAO and inclusivity

In a world at risk from climate change and extreme events, biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, conflicts and pandemics, and where economic crises and rising food prices, persistent poverty, and inequalities are affecting the lives of billions, business as usual will not be sufficient to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.   

FAO recognizes that an inclusive approach to rural transformation is crucial to enhance the participation of vulnerable and marginalized groups in processes and unlock opportunities for their engagement. As part of the Organization’s commitment to poverty reduction, FAO is mainstreaming inclusivity and supporting member countries and partners to address unequal social, economic, and political relations, by:

  • Transforming agrifood systems to ensure food security and nutrition for the poorest and marginalized.
  • Promoting a rights-based approach to multi-sectoral policy development and territorial approaches to reduce inequality and exclusion.
  • Investing in sustainable and inclusive livelihoods, income diversification, and decent employment to generate greater opportunities for all.
  • Enhancing excluded people’s access to natural and productive resources, services, assets, and technologies to foster their contribution to rural and agricultural development.
  • Expanding social protection to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable groups.
  • Securing inclusive and equitable land and water tenure to improve the livelihoods of the poorest.
  • Promoting inclusive policy dialogue and platforms to stimulate participation, consultation, and free prior informed consent (FPIC).
  • Ensuring that climate change adaptation strategies are inclusive, based on evidence, and designed to improve the resilience of rural communities.
  • Supporting data collection and analysis, including tools and knowledge dissemination, on drivers of exclusion to guide policy choices and investments to achieve the 2030 Agenda.