Publication / 10 October 2022

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.

Also available in French:

"Comment les bailleurs peuvent accélérer la transition agroécologique"


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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