UN Agencies and Donors Support Transformations in Food and Water Sectors
Photo by Neil Palmer (CIAT)
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With funding from Germany, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) programme at UNEP is supporting national, regional and local government capacity to produce tailored economic assessments of ecosystems.

World Agriculture Watch (WAW) is a joint project of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), with support from France.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme has supported smallholder farmers in Brazil to shift from traditional to agro-ecological farming.

22 February 2018: International and national initiatives are promoting agricultural and water sector reforms to boost the livelihoods of poor farmers and reduce negative impacts on human health and ecosystems. With funding from Germany, the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) programme at the UN Environment Programme (UN Environment or UNEP) is supporting national, regional and local government capacity to produce tailored economic assessments of ecosystems. World Agriculture Watch (WAW) is a joint project of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), with support from France. Meanwhile, two Brazilian NGOs are supporting smallholder farmers to shift to agro-ecological farming with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme.

The three-year ‘Supporting Biodiversity and Climate-friendly Land Management in Agricultural Landscapes’ project is funded by the German Government under the overall coordination of the TEEB unit at UN Environment. Other countries participating in the study, which was launched at a scoping workshop from 21-22 February 2018, are Colombia, Tanzania and Thailand.

Specific activities will include: consolidating guidance and training for TEEB national implementation; providing technical support on valuation and accounting for specific national-level TEEB projects; and enhancing the communication and dissemination of TEEB results. The project will build on the 2015 TEEB for Agriculture and Food (TEEBAgriFood) Interim Report that aimed to explain the complex links between ecosystems, agriculture and the food we eat. Based on five exploratory sector studies (on livestock, rice, agroforestry, inland fisheries and palm oil), as well as an overarching ‘valuation framework,’ the TEEBAgrifood report examines the economic and policy drivers and incentives that influence land-use decisions and management techniques within production systems around the world.

WAW was launched in 2011 with the goal of ending “one size fits all agricultural development,” by helping policy makers to understand the diversity of the types of agriculture and the transformations they are undergoing. The project aims to support better decision making to achieve the projected 50% increase in food production needed to feed a growing world population by 2050. The project also aims to stem rural-urban migration, especially for young people, by providing better employment prospects in agriculture. WAW is providing support to farming organizations and governments from six partner countries: El Salvador, Madagascar, Niger, Senegal, Tunisia and Viet Nam.

Early findings from southern Senegal, for example, have demonstrated that farmers who diversified from the usual rain-fed crops into high-value crops such as horticulture, raising small stock or producing fruit had increased their income for a relatively small investment.

Implemented by two local NGOs, Instituto Salvia Soluções SocioAmbientais (ISSA) and Aprospera, with support from the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the GEF-funded project in Brazil began in 2016 with the aim of reducing pressure on land and water resources and limiting pollution by decreasing use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The two NGOs introduced the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) approach with the aim providing a more secure source of income for the farmers by promoting agro-ecological farming and food production.

In 2017, Aprospera was awarded the ‘Sustainable Rural Initiatives – Jorg Zimmermann Award,’ for their work supporting local farmers and securing water quality in the region. The project was also showcased at the third GEF-7 replenishment meeting, which took place in Brasília, from 23-25 January 2018. [UN Environment Press Release] [Publication: TEEBAgriFood Interim Report] [UN Water Press Release on WAW Initiative] [The WAW Initiative] [GEF Press Release on Brazil CSA Project]

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