New guidance on measuring food systems launched ahead of un biodiversity summit – futureoffood
The Guidance enables users to identify a range of actions that can transform how food systems operate and, simultaneously, helps to create a practical roadmap for action on biodiversity loss. The Guidance was developed in partnership with the Institute for the Development of Environmental-Economic Accounting and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Policymakers flying blind in action on biodiversity loss without full picture of food system impacts
Changing the tools used to assess food systems is an immediate way to take action that promotes human, animal, and planetary health. Simplistic economic productivity metrics like ‘yield-per-hectare’ mean that negative externalities — habitat destruction, soil erosion, water contamination, displacement of Indigenous Peoples, diabetes, and more — go unaccounted for in the final price of food, in policy documents, and on balance sheets (but the price is still paid). This also means that positive impacts — carbon sequestration, insect pollination, resilience to natural disasters, and vibrant communities — are hidden and can’t be enhanced.
The TEEBAgriFood Framework (“The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity”) is already being used by policymakers, investors, and farmers around the world to comprehensively evaluate their work, fill in the gaps, and make better decisions about the future. For example, a CONABIO valuation of maize production systems found that the lack of genetic diversity in corn grown in the USA and Canada — which makes them more vulnerable to pests and disease — resulted in yield losses of $27,403,616,604 between 2012-2015. Genetically diverse crop species are more resistant and not subject to the same type of losses.
Ruth Richardson, Executive Director, Global Alliance for the Future of Food: “As the pandemic challenges world leaders to confront the links between industrialized agricultural land use, habitat loss, and risks to public health, now is the time to seize new tools to inform policy and practice, leading markets towards healthy, resilient, and equitable food systems. Without being able to see the full picture of how food systems impact people and the planet, policymakers are simply flying blind in their efforts to deliver on the SDGs, climate, and biodiversity targets.”
Mark Eigenraam, Director at IDEEA Group and lead report author: “These ground-breaking guidelines are an important step towards transforming the world’s food systems. They provide practical steps for integrating natural capital with human and social capital to move beyond narrow measures of economic productivity. Business, government, and communities can now combine forces to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals related to poverty, food, health, and the environment.”
Dr. Salman Hussain, Coordinator, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, UNEP: “I am often asked by people interested in true cost accounting: ‘where do I start?’ I now have the answer. Authored by some of the great thought-leaders in food and agricultural systems, these new materials are a user-friendly and accessible resource for the community.”
The Guidance is supported by The True Cost Accounting Inventory. Developed by the Global Alliance, Soil & More Impacts and TMG ThinkTank for Sustainability, this free-to-use collection of methodologies, case studies, and valuation approaches is useful to researchers, civil society organizations, policymakers, farmers, and the private sector when conducting a ‘true cost’ or TEEBAgriFood assessment in the field of agriculture and food systems.
About the Global Alliance for the Future of Food: The Global Alliance for the Future of Food is a strategic alliance of philanthropic foundations working together and with others to transform global food systems now and for future generations. We believe in the urgency of transforming global food systems, and in the power of working together and with others to effect positive change. Food systems reform requires new and better solutions at all scales through a systems-level approach and deep collaboration among philanthropy, researchers, grassroots movements, the private sector, farmers and food systems workers, Indigenous Peoples, government, and policymakers. www.futureoffood.org.
Brazil says it should receive $10 billion a year in foreign aid, including $1 billion for forests, to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, instead of 2060 as currently planned. What about the forest ecosystems of the Congo Basin?
As replacements for outgoing statutory executives, the Extraordinary Council of COMIFAC Ministers have tapped the following as the new statutory executives: Executive Secretary: Mr. Hervé Martial MAIDOU from the Central African Republic; Deputy Executive Secretary-Technical Coordinator: Mr. Chouaibou NCHOUTPOUEN from the Republic of Cameroon; Administrative and Financial Director: Mr. François DAYANG from the Republic of Chad.
The Congo Basin’s forests and peatlands are a major component of Earth’s life-support systems, and it is a key supplier of vital minerals needed to build a low carbon economy. The case for the people of the Congo to benefit from not exploiting these resources is irrefutable.
As part of the ECOFAC 6 capitalization program, and in order to help improve the sharing of information between researchers, policy makers and protected area managers in central Africa, we propose that you answer a questionnaire on the usefulness of research for conservation.
The JRS Biodiversity Foundation is pleased to announce Matthew Cassetta as its new Executive Director. Cassetta brings over two decades of diverse experience in international diplomacy and project management, much of it focused in Africa on capacity-building and development partnerships.
Wildlife: during the month of March, the UICN publicly announced two decisions concerning forest elephants. The first one was declaring the forest elephant (Loxodonta Cyclotis) an altogether different species, as until recently it was merely considered a subspecies. The second decision was declaring this species critically endangered.
The EU is the world’s largest aid donor and a major political actor with a strong influence over global policies. The EU recognises civil society as an essential actor in policy making and implementation, specifically in the development sector.
To read: The German CBFP Facilitation and COMIFAC are preparing for the 2021 Climate and Biodiversity Conferences of the Parties; Report on landmark deforestation events in 2019; The 2021-2025 Operational Plan of COMIFAC Convergence Plan validated...
March 2021 Highlights: Rescued 1 Black-bellied pangolin; Released 1 Black-bellied pangolin back into the wild; Released 19 African grey parrots into the wild; Finished maintenance of Gorilla group 1 night den; Completed phase 1 of the Gorilla re-enrichment project…
Read: Position of European Partners on SIGIF 2 in Cameroon; Only few days left to register for the webinars "The Role of Forest Certification in the EUTR"; ATIBT technical data sheet : quality of plantation species for timber use; "Choosing tropical woods to fight climate change" says Timber Trade Federation...
Read: FLEGT ‘Fitness Check’: Abandoning FLEGT licenses would harm forest governance and the legal timber trade; EU Law on deforestation: Key land rights risk being ignored in DG Environment’s proposal; Could the palm oil arrangement between Indonesia and Switzerland offer lessons for EU and Indonesia free trade agreement negotiations?
The co-facilitators for the negotiated outcome of the 2021 UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development have issued an outline for consideration. The proposed structure includes sections on: the impact of COVID-19 on the 2030 Agenda; progress towards the SDGs under review in 2021; and accelerated actions to achieve the SDGs.
The International Renewable Energy (IRENA) has published a preview of its publication, ‘World Energy Transitions Outlook.’ The report reviews technology choices, investment needs, and socio-economic contexts necessary to set the world on a trajectory towards a sustainable, resilient and inclusive energy future.
From 9 to 13 March the COMIFAC Working Group meetings of the Central African Climate and Biodiversity Negotiators took place in Douala, Cameroon. These two meetings were held at the same time and place, with financial support provided by the German cooperation.
This publication adds to ongoing work by the World Bank Group on how to better design and incorporate fiscal policy within the climate and sustainable development policy mix. The publication shows how various fiscal reforms can positively influence forest conservation while freeing up resources that can be used for national development.
Environmental issues affect us all. As is it, the planet is moving towards a global warming of 3°C by 2100. This is not the future we want. Forests, our first carbon sink within submerged land, are however in critical danger, with the possible savannahisation of the Amazon and tropical forests that could eventually turn into proper CO2 emitters. Faced with these projections, that involve unimaginable socio-economic consequences, our absolute priority can be summed up in a single word: reduction. Reducing our carbon footprint. Reducing deforestation. Reducing the degradation of forests. Reducing them increasingly and continuously.
The world is facing unprecedented economic and environmental challenges. While climate change increasingly poses risks to macroeconomic and fiscal stability, deforestation and forest degradation impair the ability of forests to act as carbon sinks and reduce the resiliency of local communities to climate damages. The loss and decay of forests also threaten global biodiversity, the provision of ecosystem services, and other core ecological functions that economies worldwide rely on.
Fern’s report Beyond commitments: How can Nationally Determined Contributions contribute to forest governance and resilient local communities? looks at progress, challenges, and opportunities in six African countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Liberia, and Republic of the Congo.
The undeniable connection between nature, human health, and economic well-being has become more evident than ever during this time of crisis. Resilience is in our nature: IUCN and its Members are working to ensure a nature-based recovery that can deliver sustainable solutions, providing a foundation for a healthier relationship between humanity and the planet.
As indicated on the Fordaq website, Hans Fahrni, CEO of FACO Construction, is pleased with the effects of the log export ban on the timber industry in Gabon, where the majority of the forest area is FSC-certified (the government's goal is to certify all of them within 4 years).
The ATIBT and the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) have recently held several online meetings to clarify their common issues for the development of a responsible tropical timber sector. These meetings have been preceded in recent years by annual meetings.
REN21’s Renewables in Cities Global Status Report (REC) series provides an overview of the status, trends and developments of renewable energy in cities, using the most up-to-date information and data available. The REC’s neutral, fact-based approach documents in detail the annual developments in policies, markets, investments and citizen action, with a particular focus on renewables in public, residential and commercial buildings as well as public and private urban transport. This report aims to inform decision makers and to create an active exchange of views and information around urban renewable energy.
The crisis provoked by the coronavirus pandemic offers a chance to shift from a fossil-fuel based economy to a nature-based circular bioeconomy, said Britain’s heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles on Friday.
The UK and Norway launched an initiative on sustainable finance that will serve as a platform for British and Norwegian financial institutions to share knowledge and best practices focused on actionable climate solutions in the financial sector and explore the regulatory frameworks and investment decisions that would be necessary to achieve a zero-emissions economy.
The post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF) took center stage at the informal meeting in preparation for the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI-3), convened by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
UN-Water convened a three-day event to discuss accelerating progress towards water and sanitation for all by 2030, and a report that indicates ambitions for 2030 remain off-track. Participants were briefed on the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework, upcoming high-level events on water, and the preparatory process for the 2023 UN conference for the midterm review of the Water Action Decade.
The pandemic has tragically claimed millions of lives and placed countries in complete economic and social lockdown, with the threat of a global recession looming. But the pandemic is not just an immediate human health crisis; it also poses a long-term socio-economic ramifications for people who depend on natural resources such as timber, fisheries and wildlife.
This Sunday, 21 March, is the United Nations International Day of Forests (IDF), intended to celebrate and raise global awareness of the importance of forests. The theme is "Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being", a cause that Fern championed in our recent report looking at how rights-based forest restoration can empower communities, recover biodiversity, and tackle the climate crisis. It also explained that forest restoration must never be used to greenwash other sectors' lack of action towards climate objectives.
Elon Musk tweeted earlier this year that he would be "donating $100 million towards a prize for best carbon capture technology”. Out of 600 thousand likes and retweets, twenty thousand corresponded to a brilliant solution: “A tree”. The Tesla boss responded that trees were, indeed, part of the solution, but that we may require something that is “ultra-large-scale industrial in 10 to 20 years”. The sense of acting ‘urgently’ and at ‘scale’ are clearly central to the concepts of innovations announced in his offer.
19. February 2020 | In the past, Germany has been among the more ambitious providers of financial assistance to developing countries’ efforts to adapt to a changing climate and cut or avoid greenhouse gas emissions.
The findings and recommendations in this Toolkit were identified based on a meta-review of program evaluations and scholarly research in French and English, supplemented by a series of key informant interviews with program implementers. The Toolkit was validated through review by an Advisory Council of external civil society practitioners and researchers as well as practitioners from Search for Common Ground’s field offices across the Sudano-Sahel (Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, South Sudan, Sudan).
Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day of Forests, observed on 21 March: Humanity’s well-being is inextricably linked to the health of our planet. Forests play a crucial role.