The persistent headlines and public-private response to the threats imposed by the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) underscore the paramount importance of global food security and nutrition. Any challenges to the health of our global population generate an even greater need for an adequate, safe and affordable food supply provided by the world’s agricultural sector.
Given this imperative, Solutions from the Land is ramping up its commitment to food security, proactively engaging with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to better integrate technology and precision-farming systems with conservation and agroecology systems and practices to meet global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
SfL has long been engaged in the promotion of policies enhancing clean energy (25x’25), stemming climate change (North America Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance), and implementing large-landscape solutions that allow finite resources to meet growing demand for local, affordable and nutritious food, feed, fiber and energy, as well as maintain watershed and wildlife habitats and provide other ecosystem services.
SfL is now expanding its work to place an emphasis on the need for policy makers and stakeholders to embrace proven, pragmatic and science-based approaches and techniques, including agroecology and other innovations, to meet food security and nutrition goals and also greatly enhance ecosystem health – regenerating soils, watershed and habitat for biodiversity at scale, as well as serving as a critical sink for greenhouse gases. Land management policies must embrace a systems approach that recognizes the tremendous diversity of agricultural landscapes and ecosystems, and enable producers to utilize the systems and practices that best support their farming operations.
Overseeing this expanded global workstream will be a panel that will be led by SfL Board Co-Chair A.G. Kawamura, California grower, shipper, and former secretary of the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture (overseeing the world’s fifth largest ag economy); SfL Board Co-Chair Dr. Thomas Lovejoy, a world renowned conservation and tropical biologist, and Senior Fellow of the United Nations Foundation; and new SfL board member Dr. Howard-Yana Shapiro, a Senior Fellow in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Davis, and a leading global expert on plant breeding, molecular biology and genetics.
Earlier this month, SfL took a step forward that will further enable and enhance the reach of its expanded global work program by earning membership in the International Agri-Food Network (IAFN). The network is a co-coordinator for the Private Sector Mechanism, an open platform providing a permanent seat for the broad agri-food business value chain at the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS).
The IAFN’s collective role is to monitor and provide input into multilateral processes related to food and agricultural issues, including the CFS, the FAO, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the latter being a financial institution and specialized agency of the United Nations dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries.
SfL’s first deliverable under this new workstream was the submission of comments on CFS’s Zero Draft on Agroecology and other Innovative Approaches for Sustainable Food Systems that ensure Food Security and Nutrition. SfL’s comments emphasized the need to embrace proven, pragmatic and science-based approaches and techniques, including agroecology and other innovations, to meet food security and nutrition goals. Land management policies must embrace a systems approach that recognizes the tremendous diversity of agricultural landscapes and ecosystems, and enables producers to utilize the systems and practices that best support their farming operations.
In these uncertain times, SfL is responding by contributing expanded leadership around food security, nutrition, climate change and ecosystem health. The organization’s work in promoting adequate supplies of food, feed, fiber and energy is an integral part of SfL’s efforts on behalf of policies that allow agricultural and forestry operations to adapt and become resilient to a changing climate. The outbreak of COVID-19 further multiplies known threats to our global wellbeing and underscores the critical need to ensure adequate food supplies and nutrition to an increasingly vulnerable population.
SfL stands ready to collaborate with fellow IAFN members and work to advance land-based solutions to global challenges being addressed by the FAO and other UN platforms.