A Multi-Faceted Approach to Sustainable Development Goals

December 2, 2020

For Immediate Release – SfL Uses UNFCCC Forum to Push Call for Multi-Faceted Approach to Achieve Climate, Other Sustainable Development Goals

(December 2, 2020) – SfL board member Lois Wright Morton advised fellow delegate participating in a two-day UN-sponsored workshop not to take a singular approach when considering the socioeconomic and food-security dimensions of climate change in the agricultural sector. 

Morton, who was the only farmer participating in the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture event, used her closing message today to other workshop participants to stress the need to do more than tell farmers how to farm- “they need to listen to farmers and find out what they need.”

“There are many on the outside looking in offering advice to farmers without acknowledging the complexities, risks, and uncertainties we face in producing the food and ecosystem services that benefit us all and making a living for our families,” she told representatives from countries across the world, as well as from a dozen or more UN agencies and observer bodies, which included SfL.

Morton, who grows blueberries and other specialty crops in Ohio, cautioned fellow workshop participants who are unfamiliar with the hard work farmers must put in to manage the complexities, risks, and uncertainties that are daily events, not to become too obsessed with a singular, agroecological approach. Instead, they should be open to a variety of approaches that can solve the climate and food security issues the world is currently facing.

While she expressed her appreciation for a keynote speaker’s articulation of agroecology and what that approach offers to farmers, she urged the KJWA delegates to be careful not to single out one approach as the best or only one.

Agroecology “is one of the many innovations farmers and scientists are experimenting with,” she said. “The COVID pandemic has showed us that we need all kinds of innovations and diversity of productions systems and practices in order to give farmers capacity to deal with the uncertainties that changing climate, volatile markets, and health and social conditions bring.”

Morton, who is Professor Emeritus with the Department of Sociology at Iowa State University, said the diversity of agricultural landscapes and ecosystems that farmers manage requires a variety of tools and approaches best suited to their resources and their unique situations and circumstances.

She cited as “important” a statement Tuesday from a workshop keynote speaker, Maryam Rezaei, a renowned expert with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Systems and Food Safety Division, acknowledging that “the solutions to food insecurity are beyond food production.”

Morton said it will take integrated efforts using many innovative approaches across many sectors “if we are to achieve zero hunger goals and the 13 other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that farmers and agriculture are partners in solving.”

The SfL board member told other workshop participants that “the call for a systemic approach to this integration (of solutions) means finding root causes of food insecurity; especially focusing on providing farmers and rural peoples the capacities, tools, technologies and knowledge to move beyond subsistence livelihoods to ensure food security for their households and non-farm households.”

She said success in addressing the problems will require blended and diverse approaches – including agroecology, sustainable intensification, and other approaches found to be successful and enable achievement of the multiple SDGs. Morton stressed that farmers are not just producing food, but also providing ecosystem services such as soil health, clean water and reduced emissions.

Dr. Morton’s prepared remarks delivered Tuesday morning can be found HERE. She can be reached via email, or by phone at 330-473-3390.

For additional information, contact SfL President Ernie Shea at 410-952-0123, or Eshea@SfLDialogue.net.


Solutions from the Land (SfL) builds and facilitates state, national and global initiatives and alliances through which farmers, ranchers, foresters and collaborating partners showcase examples of innovation and proactively advocate for policies, partnerships, investments and research that will enable agricultural landscapes to deliver near-term, cost-effective, integrated solutions to global mega-challenges: food and energy security; sustainable economic
development; climate change and environmental improvement. For more on SfL, click here.




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