On 14-15 March 2023, IFOAM - Organics International and World Future Council organised a virtual workshop on "Scaling up Agroecology in the Himalayas", to discuss how agroecology as a key transition pathway can more holistically address the multifaceted crises we face, for instance, food insecurity and malnutrition, climate change, gender equity, loss of biodiversity, among others.
The dynamic and interesting two-day workshop was held online with over 60 stakeholders from Bhutan, India, and Nepal. Policymakers, parliamentarians, academics, representatives of civil society organisations, members of the private sector, and donors were among those present.
Stakeholders from the three countries discussed the fundamental steps needed to achieve sustainable food systems through agroecology in the Himalayas and they exchanged views on
- the current situation of food systems and agroecology in the Himalayas,
- key challenges and opportunities for positive change
- the available policy solutions that support sustainable and healthy agri-food systems,
- their potential for improvement as well as ideas for additional policy initiatives.
The value of sharing experiences within the region and across borders on agroecology and the food systems approach, innovation through cooperation, strengthening institutional mechanisms and empowering small-scale farmers at the grassroots level was recognised.
To achieve this, an integrated, holistic and mountain-specific approach was emphasised, as well as the importance of increased coordination and cooperation. This would require the involvement of more policymakers and the development of a common roadmap. This was foreseen to be a mammoth task that would require a lot of dedicated coordination and support, but very vital. This is discussed in more detail below.
This workshop is just the first in a series of stakeholder events that will culminate in a joint roadmap by the end of 2023.
By scaling up agroecology in the Himalayas, we can create a blueprint for sustainable food systems that can be replicated in other regions of the world. It is also a crucial step towards securing our shared future on this planet, recognising that the health of our ecosystems and the well-being of all living things are inextricably connected. More information on the next workshops will be shared soon.