Rio+20 has passed, but that doesn’t mean that agriculture and sustainable development are off the table. We are continuing to showcase some of the work in prep for Rio+20, relevant to landscapes for people, food and nature.
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) released a policy brief this month highlighting the increasing need to shift to an economy that is environmentally responsible, socially accountable, and more equitable. IFPRI presents this notion of a “green economy” as one solution to the inevitable increasing demands on food and natural resources as population continues to grow in a world already plagued by hunger, land degradation, and climate change. The policy brief discusses the multiple resource issues being currently faced around the world, especially those in developing countries, and the best ways to develop a green economy with agriculture at its core.
While intensifying food production is considered a valuable way to address the increasing lack of food and nutrition security, it also causes various negative results that ultimately hinder the very intention of such efforts. Food production alone cannot solve the food security and environmental crises that are currently occurring. The brief argues that a focus solely on increasing food production has resounding impacts and a large footprint, affecting people, food, and nature. Increased fresh water consumption, higher levels of green house emissions, and land degradation for agricultural intensification have repercussions beyond just the agriculture sector. For instance, green house emissions contribute to global climate change, which feeds back again as a threat to food security and the environment.
A green economy has the potential to support poverty reduction and food and nutrition security in a way that is both pro-poor and pro-agriculture. The policy brief states several key policy actions that are essential not only to transition to a green economy, but also for an integrated landscape approach to agricultural management. These actions include incorporating food and nutrition security into sustainable development programs; valuing the benefits of natural capital; identifying indicators to evaluate cross-sectoral impacts; and engaging multiple stakeholders.
The synergies between food and nutrition security, agriculture, natural resource management, and economic growth are emphasized as key connections at all scales. IFPRI clearly indicates that a one pronged approach will not suffice when trying to help a variety of interconnected sectors prosper. Their solution is a green economy. Read the policy brief and related blog post on IFPRI’s website.