“FAO held the International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition at its headquarters in Rome on September 18 and 19, 2014. Approximately 400 people from 61 different countries (including Permanent Representatives and staff members of representations, FAO / IFAD / WFP staff members, their guests and external participants) attended the event and an additional 186 people followed the Symposium through live streaming.

Steve Gliessman, Chair of CAN’s Board of Directors, chaired the opening plenary. He noted that the focus of Agroecology was originally at the local systems level, but has gradually increased to entire food systems and is now understood as a participatory action research process that leads to sustainability and resilience, as a movement of change and justice.

Steve and Pablo Tittonell reported the key findings and emerging themes of the first one and half days to the plenary. The main findings were: ‘By the final wrap up session, it was clear that the ecological foundation and food system focus of Agroecology provides an action-oriented approach for simultaneously developing alternative food systems, while transforming the current industrial model. FAO is in a unique position to help build a global agroecological network. The Symposium emphatically demonstrated that the stakeholders represented have everything necessary to make this transformation happen. It only requires action, vision, responsibility towards future generations and above
all courage.'”

Key Outcomes

“The Symposium generated the following key outcomes:

  • a proposal to continue the dialogue initiated through three regional meetings to be held in 2015;
  • a large amount of scientific evidence and examples of best practices already adopted in many different ecologies and the commitment to finalize proceedings;
  • the recommendation to accompany countries requesting FAO’s assistance to promote national policy dialogue and research on Agroecology and expand partnership towards a local level;
  • recommendation to operationalize Agroecology into FAO’s operational Work Plan for SO2 and other SOs, and to mainstream some ongoing planned national activities and projects towards Agroecology.”

Next Steps

“Based on the success of the Symposium and FAO’s commitment to facilitate three regional meetings in 2015 in Latin America, Africa and Asia, FAO is looking forward to collaborate with the relevant interested actors on this action plan. More precisely, the Director-General outlined the following points as next steps for FAO:

  • FAO will organize three regional meetings in 2015 in Latin America, Africa and Asia, under the leadership of the Regional Offices (Brazilian government offered to host the Latin America meeting in collaboration with FAO-RLC);
  • The Director-General mentioned during the United Nations Climate Change Summit that participants of the International Symposium on Agroecology called for a United Nations wide initiative on Agroecology in order to help sustainably promote food security, address climate change and build resilience;
  • The Director-General appointed Ms. Maria Helena Semedo, DDG-N as the person responsible for this way forward.”

View the complete report here.