Transforming Agri-food Systems

Throughout the year, discussions will go on and lead us to COP 16 in Cali, Colombia.
Building a new narrative to support the effective transformation of agri-food systems in line with the KMGBF implementation

On March 19th-20th 2024 in Montpellier (France), the Montpellier Process Global Days focused on strengthening the science-policy society interfaces for sustainable food. To build on these discussions, our Project organised a back-to-back workshop on March 21st. It was dedicated to the development of a new narrative to support the effective transformation of agri-food systems in line with the implementation of several targets of the Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF) adopted at CBD COP 15 in December 2022.

1st Edition: From Synergies & Alignment…

A first edition of the Montpellier Global Days was held in Montpellier in 2022. Entitled “Feed-Care-Protect: intelligence to accelerate food systems transformation at local and global levels”, the event aimed at initiating a collaborative workspace to address the “Feed-Care-Protect” challenges. At that time, the idea was to pool on the collective intelligence of current sector-based fragmented expertise, to better tackle the multiple and interconnected crises.

Agri-food Sectors in the Kunming-Montreal GBF 

Agri-food sectors – crop and livestock production, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture – are directly related to more than half the targets of the KMGBF in one way or another. This ranges from the targets on ecosystem restoration (Target 1, Target 2, Target 3); the use of wild species (Target 9); Invasive Alien Species (Target 6, Target 18) and pollution (Target 7) to those addressing genetic resources for food and agriculture, soil health and pollination. 

Moreover, Target 10, for instance, commits countries to managing areas under agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries and forestry sustainably, including through the sustainable use of biodiversity and a substantial increase in the application of biodiversity-friendly practices. 

Target 16 also focuses on Sustainable consumption and highlights the need to reconciling our food systems and make sustainable consumption choices. The agri-food topic also includes elements linked to financial resources (Target 19); as well as equity (Target 22) and gender aspects (Target 23), which shows the important role agri-food sectors can play in the planning, implementation and monitoring of the actions needed to meet the Biodiversity Plan targets.  

In the run-up to CBD COP15, our Project was mobilised to initiate conversation and raise awareness on this priority topic and organized a dedicated webinar entitled ‘Transforming the agri-food systems for Biodiversity prior to the UN Food Systems Summit held during the UN General Assembly in New York in September2021.

This event was followed by the dedicated publication ‘Mainstreaming: reconciling our food systems with nature’. And since the KMGBF adoption, the project produced videos explaining each of its targets and in particular Target 16 on Sustainable Consumption.

2nd Edition: …To a Concrete Common Vision & Transformation 

During the 2nd edition of the Montpellier Global Days, more than 300  international science-policy experts gathered to establish a collaborative dialogue to increase the impact and accelerate the global agri-food systems’ transformations. This two-days event have been dedicated to designing transformative pathways to jointly address the climate, biodiversity, health and food systems crises.

Post 2020 Biodiversity Framework – EU Support Workshop: ‘Transforming agri-food systems: Building a new narrative’

The main objective of this workshop held on March 21st, was to put into action the Montpellier Process discussions. By drawing on experiences from a diversity of perspectives and stakeholders across the world, this workshop intended to help participants jointly develop key messages with the aim to come up with a new narrative, in order to get closer to an effective transition to sustainable agri-food systems.

This endeavour represented a concrete and useful step for policy and decision-makers, but also for civil society, to implement the KMGBF. The approach was based on a cross-sectoral and holistic perspective to tackle the poly-crises we are facing at the Feed-Protect-Care nexus.

Beyond Target 10, several targets in the KMGBF addresses sustainable consumption and production systems, and are directly related to the need for the transformation of agri-food systems and the enabling environment to facilitate the transition.

Using collective intelligence techniques and Design Thinking (a method centred on the uses, expectations and needs of users), the workshop offereed interactive exchanges among more than twenty participants in a safe and open environment. This working session allowed everyone to participate, while respecting the diversity of existing opinions, for moving towards agreement on joint key messages for the new narrative.

Workshop outputs and expected results

The workshop gathered a diversified panel of stakeholders, including representatives from local NGOs, farming organisations, local authorities, youth and women’s organisations, relevant international institutions and scientific organisations.

It was a beginning of a process. At the end of the day, this working session will result in a report, taking the form of a consolidated and collectively built new narrative on the transition towards sustainable agri-food systems that encompasses the necessary regulatory and socio-economic enabling conditions.

Throughout the year, discussions will go on and lead us to COP 16 in Cali, Colombia.

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