How Agroecology Can Achieve Sustainable Development in the Global South



Dear Friends and Colleagues

How Agroecology Can Achieve Sustainable Development in the Global South

A recent report by Secours Catholique-Caritas Europe (SCCF) discusses agroecology projects it has supported in the Global South. The report’s primary objective is to explain how agroecology benefits the most disadvantaged and strengthens their inalienable dignity. Its secondary aim is to contribute to reflection on the options for sustainable agriculture, which will allow us to achieve a real reduction in hunger across the world. The wide range of agroecological practices presented is tailored to providing local solutions for sustainable agriculture in a myriad of different regions. All the initiatives are built on the principles of empowerment, action, resilience and integration.

The report covers four key focus areas: (1) Conditions needed for the development of agroecology, (2) Agroecology as a way of achieving food sovereignty, (3) Protection and sustainable management of natural resources – The core principle of agroecology, (4) Smallholder agroecology versus agroindustry – A path to alternative societies.

The respective policy recommendations for each focus area are reproduced below with a link to the full report. These recommendations are drawn from the experience and knowledge of SCCF’s partners in the Global South. Fair and ecological approaches to agriculture must go hand in hand with support to rural and smallholder communities by ensuring they have access to land and control over their natural resources. In a similar vein, the structuring and political representation of these populations needs to be strengthened at the local, national and international levels. By integrating social justice and political representation, agroecology contributes to the realisation of the right to food.

With best wishes,

Third World Network
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Secours Catholique-Caritas France

1.  Recommendations for policymakers on the conditions necessary for the promotion of agroecology

• Recognise and promote indigenous and local knowledge and practices.
• Collate and disseminate the knowledge, practices and real-life experience of smallholders.
This requires dialogue between smallholders themselves, as well as dialogue with their organisations, civil society and agricultural development agencies.
• Create relationships between smallholders and the scientific research community, including action research, and include these actors in national and regional platforms.
• Apply in national legislation the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security.

2. Recommendations for policymakers on how to achieve food sovereignty with agroecology

• Ensure effective participation of smallholder organisations as well as civil society organisations in the design, implementation and evaluation of all public policies which will affect them.
• Integrate smallholder agroecology into rural development policies, laws and programmes, adapted to the country specifi c context, and ensure these policies are actually implemented
• Mobilise additional public funds specifically for smallholder agroecology. At the same time, redirect subsidies away from industrial agriculture to smallholder agroecology.
• Promote agroecology by smallholders in international fora, in particular in the Committee on World Food Security.

3.  Recommendations for policy makers on the protection and sustainable management of natural resources

• Guarantee fundamental rights for populations, including indigenous persons, as well as their access to good quality natural resources, beginning with land and water.
• Ensure that collective property and the social and cultural role of land and water (both being part of the commons) are integrated into land and agrarian policies and reforms.
• Recognise and develop the multiple ecological and environmental functions of smallholder agroecology: soil fertility, water, biodiversity, seeds, genetic resources, etc.
• Provide smallholders with the institutional, scientific, technical and financial means to build their capacity for resilience and adaptation to climate change.

4. Recommendations for policymakers on incorporating the societal aspects of agroecology

• Advance the marketing of produce from smallholder agroecology, notably in national regulation and market organisation, by prioritising short supply chains and quality of produce.
• Support fair remuneration for smallholders, notably via fair trade for smallholder agroecological produce.
• Use the International Labour Organization’s concept of “Decent Work in the Rural Economy” as the basis for all sustainable agriculture development (quality jobs, workers’ rights, social protection, strengthening of smallholder organisations).
• Draw up and implement stricter regulations (environmental and social standards, restrictions on land concentration) which allow agroecology to develop and reduce the expansion of industrial monoculture.

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