Policy Support and Governance Gateway

Issue paper

Progress towards sustainable agriculture – Drivers of change

The Progress towards Sustainable Agriculture initiative (PROSA) is a framework that seeks to complement ongoing efforts on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and particularly indicator 2.4.1, to support country-level assessments using data already available at the national level. Making agriculture more sustainable – productive, environmentally friendly, resilient and profitable is fundamental, as agriculture remains the main source of livelihood for the majority of the world’s poor and hungry. The pathway towards sustainable agriculture must ensure increasing output, but also make more efficient use of increasingly scarce global resources, be resilient to and help mitigate climate change, and improve human well-being.

This technical study examines the key factors driving changes in trends in the indicators of sustainable agriculture and provides decision-makers with insights into viable options for achieving this goal. The study identifies five key groups of drivers that most influence these indicators globally. The ways in which each driver affects the multiple dimensions of sustainability highlights the interconnections, synergies and trade-offs that must be managed in different global contexts to achieve agricultural sustainability. The analysis can help decision-makers operating in different country contexts to identify practical solutions to ensure that their interventions contribute positively to a more sustainable agriculture.