Current agriculture and food systems are far from being sustainable and the methods used in food production are questionable and often detrimental to the environment; almost 800 million people have insufficient food. Since the adoption in September 2015 of Agenda 2030 and the associated 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there has been a hope that the international community will now be sufficiently motivated to implement these goals in the next 15 years.
At a Side Event on 12 July 2016 at the UN in New York held during a meeting of the High Level Political Forum – the UN‘s central platform for the follow-up and review of Agenda 2030 – Hans Herren gave a presentation on the Biovision Project “Changing Course in Global Agriculture” (CCGA). This project will play a crucial role in achieving SDG 2 – End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. Located in Kenya, Senegal and Ethiopia, the project is designed to strengthen political support for sustainable agriculture at the national, regional and global level. It uses the iSDG model, a modelling tool based on system dynamics that simulates a range of long-term, integrated political scenarios. The various scenarios are then discussed at Multi-Stakeholder Workshops attended by those involved in food systems. The resultant recommendations are then submitted to the relevant government. In addition, the project involves extensive capacity building, e.g. the development of a master’s course at ENSAE, the Ecole Nationale de la Statisque et de l’Analyse Economique in Senegal.
The Side Event was run in conjunction with the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). IDDRI and SDSN are involved in the “Agricultural Transformation Pathways Initiative” that is developing a long-term political roadmap of how food consumption and production can be transformed by 2030, e.g. beef production in Uruguay.
The Event demonstrated very clearly to the some 65 participants that we need to tackle the transformation of our food system as a matter of urgency. It also showed that we already possess the required methods and knowledge and what is required now is “just” the associated political will. And here too, the delegation from Biovision and the Millennium Institute in New York has made progress, e.g. an informal exchange of views with David Nabarro, the Special Adviser of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on sustainable development. Attended by senior representatives from leading organisations – the FAO, IFAD, the World Bank, UNDP, UNFCCC and WEF – it included discussions on potential strategies for bringing about a change in the course of agriculture and also how agriculture can be part of the solution to climate change.