Laurent Levard, agricultural development expert at GRET, participated in the second international symposium on agroecology organised by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) on 3, 4 and 5 April last in Rome. Laurent was representing GRET, as well as Coordination Sud’s Food and Agriculture Commission (C2A) (in french only) and the Work group on agroecological transitions (GTAE)*,of which GRET is a member.
This symposium followed on from a first meeting organised in 2014 and four continental symposiums organised in the mean time in Africa, Latin America and Asia. This made it possible to take the measure of progress made in terms of recognition of agroecology: while the 2014 symposium was purely scientific in nature, the 2018 symposium focused on the subject of “upscaling of agroecology”, and gave rise to the launch of an initiative by the FAO for this upscaling. Participation at the event exceeded the organisers’ expectations: 768 participants representing 72 member States of the FAO, 350 NGOS, numerous research centres and several United Nations organisations.
The conclusions of the symposium’s chairperson will contribute to specific initiatives by the FAO on agroecology during its next Committee on agriculture meeting in September 2018 and its biannual Conference in July 2019, as well as to the report on agroecology that will be drawn up by the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), with a view to its October 2019 session.
It should however be noted that highlighting of agroecology by international organisations remains fragile, given the position and weight of numerous multinational companies (pesticides, fertilizers, seeds, etc.) and some member States (United States, Canada, Argentina, Australia, etc.), despite the fact that the informal friends of agroecology group (G2A) at the FAO has grown and now has sixteen members (including France, Brazil, China, Switzerland, Japan, Madagascar, etc.).
The symposium also provided an opportunity to check the pertinence of GTAE’s work on evaluation of agroecological practices, which is becoming a subject of interest for numerous stakeholders, especially the FAO itself.
* GTAE is made up of four NGOs (Agrisud International, Agronomes et Vétérinaires Sans Frontières – AVSF, Cari (in french only) and GRET) supporting the development of agroecology in various countries worldwide. They wanted to pool their efforts, in particular to equip themselves with methodological tools to evaluate the conditions for the development and the impacts of agroecology, and to share these with other stakeholders.
More information on the Work group on agroecological transitions (GTAE)
More information on the Food and Agriculture Commission (C2A) (in French only)
More information on GRET’s activities in the area of agroecology