Happy World Food Day! It's Time to Scale up Policies for Agroecology and Transformative Food Systems

On World Food Day, 15 October 2020, IFOAM -  Organics International is celebrating policies that are upscaling agroecology and promoting the transformation of our food systems towards greater fairness, stronger social justice and sounder environmental sustainability.

In the face of the current global challenges the planet is experiencing, more and more governments are exploring approaches that can substantially contribute to the transformations of our food systems and societies in general. This transformation is urgently needed, made even more pressing by the current health and economic crisis caused by the COVID pandemic. Currently, there are good but rather scattered examples of governments that have been developing conducive and innovative policy instruments in line with the four principles of organic agriculture.

To connect these efforts, IFOAM – Organics International, Biovision Foundation and the Millennium Institute are creating a platform - the Food Policy Forum for Change  – to increase learning between policymakers, as well as enriching the discussion on the role and instruments for country-level action to deliver food security and nutrition.

The launch of the Forum

The Food Policy Forum for Change was officially launched on the 13th of October during a virtual event organised in the context of the High-Level Virtual Special Event on Global Governance of Food Security and Nutrition (13 - 15 October 2020). This virtual gathering is organised by the Committee on Food Security in lieu of CFS 47, which has been rescheduled to 8 - 12 February 2021 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During our session - Connecting Agroecological and Integrated Policies in Time of Crisis - we showcased good policy practices, illustrating the key role of policymakers as agents of change when it comes to the long-term and resilient transformation of food and agricultural systems.

A rich panel of speakers populated our virtual session:

  • Dr. Maria Tekülve, Senior Policy Officer, Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
  • Pio Wennubst, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the Rome Based Agencies
  • Dr.Papa Abdoulaye Seck, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Senegal to the Rome Based Agencies
  • Dr. Vijay Kumar, Head of Department of Natural Farming, Andhra Pradesh, India
  • Emma Siliprandi, Lead Focal Point for the Scaling up Agroecology Initiative in FAO
  • Aline Boy, Deputy Head of Agroecology Project, French Ministry of Agriculture and Food
  • Louise Luttikholt, Executive Director, IFOAM – Organics International

Several speakers, such as Marie Tekülve and Pio Wennubst, have highlighted the increasing consensus growing around the urgency to transform our food systems in the face of the current global challenges such as climate change and the new pandemic. Time of crisis are usually a propitious moment to bring forward systemic changes. Today there is a momentum for developing policy instruments working towards scaling up agroecological systems, creating a space for actors to develop solutions and integrating agroecological approaches in mainstream systems for continuous improvements of practices.

The experiences of Senegal and India as well as France, respectively presented by Papa Abdoulaye Seck, Vijay Kumar and Aline Boy, emphasized the importance of building policy interventions that are bottom-up and able to involve a wider range of actors and stakeholders at the very beginning of each policy cycle, so that the policy processes become an exercise of co-creation and deliver more meaningful and effective measures.

Emma Siliprandi presented the Scaling up Agroecology Initiative of the FAO, which aims at increasing awareness for agroecological solutions at the international level (e.g. through different UN fora) while also facilitating implementation of agroecological policies at country level. An important objective of this initiative is to create evidences of the performance of agroecological producers and value chains to support decision making at policy level. For this purpose, FAO developed the TAPE tool, which should contribute to a global data base on the performance of agroecological systems. This tool should also facilitate exchange between usually isolated sectors (e.g. governmental, agricultural, environmental, socio-economic sectors).

Louise Luttikholt concluded the event by inviting policy makers to join the Food Policy Forum For Change and share and learn experience on agroecological policies.  The forum is an interactive global network that offers opportunities for peer-to-peer exchanges between policy makers. These exchanges will support the development of effective integrative policies for sustainable food systems that can address the challenges created by current global crises. The forum is open to national and subnational government officers and official advisors in the agriculture, nutrition, rural development, environment, finance and planning sectors. It will provide participants access to:

·       Community driven coaching

·       Regional and international champions and experts

·       Case studies

·       Tools and evidence

·       Opportunities to share experiences and gain visibility.

Join an interactive network of policy makers interested in making our food systems sustainable in the face of current global challenges. Register here: https://bit.ly/signup-peer2peer

More information about the Food Policy Forum for Change can be found here: https://www.agroecology-pool.org/policy-forum/                          


This initiative is led by Biovision Foundation, IFOAM – Organics International, the Millennium Institute, with the technical support of FAO (Scaling up Agroecology) and financed by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Should you need further information, please do not hesitate to contact the leading team at food.policy.forum@biovision.ch