The UNCSD Rio 20 Conference’s declared goal of Sustainable Development through a “balanced consideration of social, economic and environmental goals and objectives in both public and private decision-making” cannot be achieved without including food security and sustainable agriculture as one of its most critical topics.
Current agricultural policy and governance fall short of contributing to sustained food security, the eradication of poverty and sustainable rural development. The reasons are numerous: diverging views on the future of agriculture and consequently a lack of financial and political commitment; the lack of a well-coordinated initiative no global level to implement sustainable agriculture; economic, social and ecological benefits of sustainable agriculture have not been duly considered in policy making.
A paradigm shift in agricultural policies and practices towards sustainable agriculture is necessary. It is in fact the only viable solution, if agricultural produce is to be increased to feed a growing world population in the long run, under the given circumstances of degraded soils, dwindling water reserves, loss of biodiversity, climate change and high dependence on finite natural resources.
The timing for change is excellent: The UNCSD Rio 20 Conference presents the opportunity for the international community to acknowledge the critical role Sustainable Agriculture casino for Sustainable Development and the Conference theme Green Economy, and to finally take action for its implementation, especially within the Conference theme of the Institutional Framework. The necessary knowledge and know-how for a change exists and was put forth for example in the 2009 IAASTD Assessment or UNEP’s Green Economy Report 2011.
What would be a meanigful outcome to deliver the urgent change we need?
1. Mandate an International Organization to propose actions to implement sustainable agriculture and food security based on the findings of relevant reports such as the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD).
2. Strengthen the scientific basis for political action on sustainable agriculture and food and security by inviting an existing body to conduct a regular, intergovernmental, participatory, and multi-stakeholder assessment of agricultural knowledge, science, and technology, while taking into account pre-existing processes.