Земельные и водные ресурсы

How can we produce food and take action for climate and natural resources?

FAO and The Nature Conservancy co-hosted a publication launch and webinar on 11 February 2021 to explore the potential of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to support  the transformation of our food systems, delivering nutrition for people while restoring natural resources and the climate. This collaboration has generated three reports addressing NbS in agricultural production systems: 1) A literature review on the state of the science; 2) A policy brief on the case and pathways for adoption; and 3) A finance guide for identifying and creating investable projects.

The very foundation of a productive food system - healthy lands, biodiversity and clean water – is  disappearing at alarming rates. In recent years, the science has become increasingly clear that Agriculture Nature-based Solutions can help us to improve agricultural resilience, while addressing climate change, and conserving land, water and biodiversity. Farmers, ranchers, and food producers are on the frontlines of climate change, and play an important role in developing and implementing solutions. Climate and biodiversity actors are increasingly seeing agriculture as a central solution set and they are engaging the agricultural community to solve these collective challenges.

"This is a pivotal time. The global community has identified food systems as one of the strongest opportunities to achieve our shared goals of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and Agriculture NbS offer a bundle of positive natural resources and food security outcomes,” Sasha KooOshima, Deputy Director of Land and Water, Natural Resources and Sustainable Production at FAO said.

Vimlendra Sharan, Director of FAO North America underscored that “Nature-based Solutions can be an effective pathway towards mitigating climate change, promoting resilient food systems and enhancing biodiversity; all of which are major challenges today.”

Andrea Erickson-Quiroz, Global Lead, Water Security & Deputy Director of Provide Food & Water Sustainably at the Nature Conservancy, highlighted that conservation needs agriculture: "We know now from more fine-tuned science that we can't bend the curve on biodiversity loss by conservation efforts alone. To really bend the curve and to restore systems, we need to work in sustainable production in many places around the world,” she added.

What are Nature-based Solutions? “Nature-based Solutions are defined as actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems, that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits,“ as defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), explained Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm, Lead Scientist, Global Water, The Nature Conservancy. “NbS in agricultural landscapes offer ecosystem services to agriculture, such as soil health, water quality and reduced disaster risk,” he added.

“There are a number of ways in which Nature-based Solutions are incredibly cost-effective. One of the biggest challenges is the capital intensity of many interventions,” Eric Hallstein, Deputy Managing Director, NatureVest, TNC underscored. “Barriers to finance NbS in agriculture include a) a mix of public and private benefits, b) that benefits spread across many stakeholders and scales, and c) that there can be complicated repayment mechanisms. How we overcome these barriers matters,” he added.

“NbS provide the triple benefit of resilient food production, mitigating climate change, and enhancing nature and biodiversity. For the adoption of NbS, program and policy design needs to consider perceived benefits, local culture and customs, as well as Gender, Equity and Inclusion considerations,” urged Thomas Iseman, Director of Water Scarcity and Drought Resilience, Provide Food and Water at TNC. To underscore the importance of institutions and governance, he presented a case study of the Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund, which implements a holistic set of conservation activities with the objectives of increasing water yields, reducing sediment loadings, promoting sustainable food production and increasing household incomes in farming communities across the project areas. “Key stakeholder groups are engaged to represent different benefits. A collective action program involving public and private actors was created, and a small fee in water utility tariff to fund NbS practices was incorporated,” he explained.

Zitouni Ould-Dada, Deputy Director, Office of Climate Change, Biodiversity and Environment at FAO underscored the importance of NbS to international processes like COP26 and the UN Food Systems Summit 2021. “Nature is an important part of the solution to address climate change and achieve sustainable and inclusive food systems. NbS have the potential to achieve a third of the greenhouse gas emission reductions needed to reach the Paris Agreement,” he underscored.

After the launch of the publications, over 600 participants from all over the world engaged in an interactive Q&A session, moderated by Thomas Pesek, Senior Liaison Officer at FAO North America.

Watch the recording of the event here

Find the presentation here

Read the speaker bios here

Read the Smart Brief "Three Things to Know About Nature-Based Solutions for Agriculture" here