Perspectives on FAO International Agroecology Symposium
THIRD WORLD NETWORK INFORMATION SERVICE ON SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has opened up a new space for agroecology with its International Symposium on Agroecology for Nutrition and Food Security held in September 2014 in Rome. Attended by more than 300 people from the public and private sectors, civil society organizations, peasant and social movements, and the academe, this represents a highly important and unprecedented move by the organization.
The Latin American Scientific Society on Agroecology (SOCLA) and La Via Campesina, a peasant organization, have cited several critical observations of the meeting (See Items 1 and 2). The first is that international organizations, governments, some members of the academe, and the private sector tend to regard agroecology as a toolbox which can incorporate 'new Green Revolution' technologies. This was in direct contrast to the stand of civil society and peasant organisations which put forward agroecology as “a fundamental and unique alternative to profoundly transform the current agri-food system confronted with climate, energy and economic crisis” and a set of ecological and social principlesin “the construction of food sovereignty”.
In light of this, strong challenges remain to ensure that agroecology is not coopted by industrial agriculture proponents. The Symposium’s conclusions, summarized below by SOCLA, are an important starting point:
* Agroecology consists in a series of ecological and social principles, and is not a box of tools or technological recipes
* Agroecology questions and defies the dominant food system and proposes its radical transformation where producers (peasants) are at the center of this social process
* Agroecological interventions transcend the farm scale to embrace territorial scales and the food system as a whole, including environmental, socioeconomic and political dimensions
* Agroecology is deeply rooted in a dialogue of wisdoms and its role is to continue linking science with the knowledge, practice sand innovation of peasants
In his closing remarks, the FAO Director General said that “Today a Window was opened in what for 50 years has been the Cathedral of the Green Revolution.” The FAO willorganize three regional symposiums in Africa, Asia and Latin America in the next two years.
With best wishes
Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister
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Reflections on FAO’s International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition held at FAO in Rome 18-19 September, 2014
SOCLA - The Latin American Scientific Society on Agroecology
by La Via Campesina