Ending poverty and achieving zero hunger, while ensuring inclusive growth and sustainably managing the planet’s natural resources, all in the context of climate change, will only be possible by committing to the sustainable world of tomorrow. This calls for a transition to sustainable food and agriculture systems that ensure food security and nutrition for all, provide social and economic equity, and conserve biodiversity and the ecosystem services on which agriculture depends.
Today’s food and agricultural systems have succeeded in supplying large volumes of food to global markets, yet they cannot deliver sustainable development for all. High-external input, resource-intensive agricultural systems have contributed to deforestation, water scarcity, biodiversity loss, soil depletion and high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Despite progress in reducing hunger, malnutrition – including stunting and wasting, micronutrient deficiencies and overweight and obesity – affects a third of the world.
Agroecology offers a unique approach to meeting the needs of future generations while ensuring no one is left behind. With family farmers, including smallholder farmers, indigenous peoples, fisher folks, mountain farmers and pastoralists at its heart, agroecology seeks to transform food and agriculture systems, addressing the root causes of problems and providing holistic and long-term solutions based on co-creation of knowledge, sharing and innovation, including the combination of local, traditional, indigenous and practical knowledge with multi-disciplinary science.
Although not a new concept, agroecology is today gaining interest worldwide among a wide range of actors as an effective answer to climate change and the interrelated challenges facing food systems, finding expression in the practices of food producers, in grassroots social processes for sustainability and the public policies of many countries around the world.
Many successful agroecological approaches are today being scaled up through the support of public policies, networks of knowledge exchange, and by strengthening rural institutions and improving access to markets.
The agroecology approach is holistic, balancing focus on people and the planet, the three dimensions of sustainable development – social, economic and environmental, while strengthening, the livelihoods of smallholder food producers, indigenous peoples, women and youth.
Chethana network adopted all the 10 principles of agroecology:
- Co-creation and sharing of knowledge
- Human and social values
- Culture and food traditions
- Responsible governance
- Circular and solidarity economy