Global Soil Week Peer-reviews Strategies for Transforming Agriculture

by LYNN WAGNER, PH.D.

Group Director, SDG Knowledge Program; Interim Director, Reporting Services; IISD

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Discussions first focused on lessons “on the ground,” to draw broader insights for policymakers, agricultural services providers, development partners and other stakeholders on how to build an enabling environment for achieving the SDGs by strengthening the “missing middle” between global and national targets, and local realities.
  • These lessons were then distilled into key strategies for achieving an enabling environment for sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture.
  • Finally, peer-review workshops as well as a ‘GSW Lab’ examined the final set of strategies and recommendations against the realities of day-to-day policy formulation and implementation.

30 May 2019: Global Soil Week (GSW) 2019 convened under the theme, ‘Creating an Enabling Environment for Sustainable and Climate-Resilient Agriculture in Africa.’ Speakers stressed that what is needed is nothing less than transforming and modernizing agriculture and associated policies for an estimated 1.5 billion smallholder farmers, “the biggest workforce on our planet.” The discussions also brought in the perspectives of diverse “voices from the ground” – representatives of women’s and farmers’ organizations and youth – who underscored the importance of focusing on women’s empowerment as managers of land and natural resources, providing farmer-friendly extension services, and making agriculture “cooler” in order to attract youth.

The conference adopted a “bottom-up” approach that first allowed participants to discuss lessons learned from more than 20 projects in Africa and Asia that are promoting sustainable land management (SLM) at the local level. The aim of this technical segment, which took place during the first two days of the conference, was to draw broader insights for policymakers, agricultural services providers, development partners and other stakeholders on how to build an enabling environment for achieving the SDGs by strengthening the “missing middle” between global and national targets, and local realities.

(Continued)

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Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.