How donors and funds can accelerate the agroecological transition
This policy brief is about how financial support for the agroecological approaches and practices of people living in drylands can be improved. Based on both literature research, and the examples, experiences, hopes and dreams of the civil society organisations working together with communities in drylands, we would like to share some recommendations for funds and donors to better connect with the agroecological practices of people living in drylands.
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Agroecology is an integrated approach that applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management of food and agricultural systems. It seeks to optimise the interactions between plants, animals, humans, and the environment, while taking into consideration the social aspects that need to be addressed for sustainable and fair food systems.
The central role of the farmer, the importance of traditional and local knowledge, sharing and co-creation of knowledge and practice between farmers and between farmers and researchers, and the emphasis on context-specificity are intrinsic characteristics of agroecology.
Agroecology contributes to several international goals and agreements, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agenda and the international environmental conventions on biodiversity protection, nature restoration, pollution reduction, and climate change response.
The financial mechanisms of donors and funds have the potential to contribute to an enabling environment for agroecological approaches and to support communities living in drylands, especially when the following recommendations are observed:
1) Long term collaboration
2) Flexibility during the funding period
3) Donor and grantee co-creation
4) Grantees know best what their funding needs are
5) Understanding local contexts for better cooperation
6) Linking and learning is vital for accelerating agroecology
7) Consistent portfolios help local communities
The aim of this policy brief is to serve as a starting point for the creation of forward-looking strategies on cooperation between civil society organisations that support communities practicing agroecology and donors and funds financing agroecology, in order to accelerate the agroecological transition.
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Agroecology is a diverse set of agricultural practices, a field of science and a social movement. It aims to transform food systems towards greater ecological sustainability, social justice, and resilience. Both ENDS and CSO-partners around the world support farmers and pastoralists practising agroecology, both on the ground and in gathering political and financial support.
The lion's share of public budgets for climate, agriculture and development still goes to conventional agroindustrial projects that contribute to the current climate, food and biodiversity crises. Both ENDS and our partners are calling for a transition to agroecological practices that are people- and environment-friendly.
News / 20 June 2021
South Africa is the home of rooibos, an ancient, health giving herbal infusion, discovered thousands of years ago by the KhoiSan, indigenous peoples of the Southern part of Africa. During the last century, rooibos has been increasingly commercialised, mainly by white South African farmers who produce it on a very large scale, causing environmental damage, soil erosion and loss of biodiversity. Fortunately, small-scale, environmentally sound and community-led rooibos cultivation initiatives also exist. Our long-standing South African partner Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG) has, for more than two decades, been involved in this type of rooibos cultivation with the communities in the Suid Bokkeveld, in the western part of South Africa. Although it was not always easy, Noel Oettle, senior advisor at EMG, thinks this way of producing is the future.
News / 29 June 2021
The farmers in the Sertão do Araripe region in Pernambuco state are smart. The small-scale family farmers know that securing a sustainable livelihood on the rich but vulnerable soils of the Sertão is only possible if they take good care of the environment. That means sound agriculture, making the best of every drop of available water, diligent use of natural fertilisers and pest-control and fighting for laws and policies that stimulate conservation rather than exploitation. The organisation CAATINGA helps the farmers to face the challenging conditions.
Publication / 11 July 2019
Press release / 7 March 2022
A recent study by Profundo for Both ENDS and Oxfam Novib shows that investment in agroecology is necessary for a sustainable and inclusive global food system. Today, some 768 million – one in ten – people suffer from hunger or a severe shortage of food on a daily basis. Conflict, economic stagnation caused by the Corona epidemic, and the climate crisis present an immediate threat to the production of and access to sufficient nutritious food. Agroecology, a form of agriculture that places small-scale farmers, the natural environment and short supply chains at the centre of food production, makes communities in developing countries more resilient and helps them combat hunger. The study concludes however that major donors, including the Netherlands, are so far providing insufficient support for agroecology.
Publication / 7 March 2022
Publication / 22 April 2021
External link / 24 August 2022
Fundamentally changing the current food and agricultural system towards greater ecological sustainability, social justice, and resilience is a top priority for Both ENDS and our partners worldwide. Together, we are contributing to the growing global movement for agroecology. As part of the Wetlands without Borders programme, partners across the La Plata Basin region of South America further expanded the agroecological practices as a key strategy to strengthen livelihoods, fight deforestation, and conserve the region's vitally important wetlands.
Both ENDS works with partners around the world to ensure that land is governed fairly and inclusively and managed sustainably with priority for the rights and interests of local communities.
Publication / 7 November 2022
Event / 14 November 2022, 18:30 - 20:00
UNFCCC COP side event
Food systems account for 33% of GHG emissions, but receive only 3% of climate finance. Climate finance is urgently needed to fund the food systems solutions that can have real impacts and wide-ranging benefits in a diversity of contexts. How do we improve on current funding pathways?
Join this UNFCCC side event to find out more!
Letter / 9 June 2022
Pesticide Action Network and 430 civil society and indigenous peoples organizations from 69 countries have sent a letter of concern to the 170th session of FAO council about the FAO partnership agreement with CropLife International.
CropLife International is a global trade association whose members are the world's largest agrichemical, pesticide and seed companies: BASF, Bayer Crop Science, Corteva Agriscience, FMC Corporation, Sumitomo Chemical and Syngenta. The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) en CropLife International have started a partnership in 2020 to collaborate on pesticide use. We think that this partnership is incompatible with FAO's obligations to uphold human rights, directly counters any efforts toward progressively banning Highly Hazardous Pesticides, and undercuts the FAO and several Member States' support for agroecology and other transformative practices.
The letter asks the Council to review and end immediately the partnership agreement with CropLife International.
News / 15 June 2023
Koussanar, in eastern Senegal, is a small town that is expanding rapidly, surrounded by villages still rooted in rural and nomadic life. The region is hot and dry, which is exacerbated by climate change. The soil in the region is also dry and often exhausted due to a combination of factors such as unsustainable agricultural practices, (peanut) monoculture, intensive agriculture, forest fires and overgrazing. Today, however, the region's farmers and nomadic pastoralists take a different approach. They are working towards a better future by committing to the restoration of degraded land using Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR).
Blog / 12 October 2022
The Dutch government and Dutch businesses spend a lot of money on food production in developing countries. But, according to Karin van Boxtel, policy officer at Both ENDS, far too little of that money finds its way to sustainable, nature-inclusive producers.
News / 4 November 2022
Climate action is urgently needed to slow down global warming. The effects of climate change are already showing themselves. Floods in Pakistan and closer to us, in the Netherlands, are causing loss of life and much emotional and economic damage, while local climate solutions are still largely being ignored. That's why Both ENDS is going to participate in COP27, the climate conference in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
Event / 6 September 2019, 13:00 - 15:00
At the UNCCD COP14 in India, which is taking place from 2-13 September 2019, Both ENDS is co-organising a number of side events.
News / 17 June 2021
Today is World Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought Day. Such a day is more than needed to get attention for desertification, land degradation and drought that are threatening and hitting hundreds of millions of people in many regions throughout the world. While the causes - such as large-scale agriculture, use of pesticides, water extraction and climate change - are clear and need to be stopped, it is just as important to focus on solutions like restoration and sustainable land use.– in line with World Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought Day's theme for this year: 'Restoration. Land. Recovery. We build back better with healthy land', we will therefore especially focus on inspiring solutions during the next few weeks.
Publication / 4 November 2022
News / 15 June 2023
In the Jenipapo community, in the north-east region of the Caatinga Biome in Brazil, farmer Fátima Maria dos Santos runs her farm. Fátima is applying the principles of agroecology on her farm by having a cistern that collects rainwater, retaining native vegetation and developing an agroforestry system that comprises of native and fruit trees and crops and medical plants. Fátima is also one of the first farmers to be part of the 'Caderneta Agroecológica' or 'Agroecological Logbook' initiative, that stimulates women farmers to monitor their food production. This way, they get more insights about the value of production for the family, about monetary and non-monetary benefits and the preservation of soil health and biodiversity.