The Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land-Use, and Energy (FABLE) Consortium

About the FABLE Consortium

The Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land-Use, and Energy (FABLE) Consortium is convened as part of the Food and Land-Use Coalition (FOLU). It aims to understand how countries can transition towards sustainable land-use and food systems. In particular, we ask how countries can collectively meet associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the objectives of the Paris Agreement. FABLE comprises 20 country teams, which develop data and modelling infrastructure to promote ambitious, integrated strategies towards sustainable land-use and food systems. A summary of FABLE can be downloaded here.

Countries participating in the FABLE Consortium are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Germany, Finland, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Russian Federation, Rwanda, South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States.

FABLE is led by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), working closely with Bioversity International, EAT, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), and many other institutions.

FABLE Consortium meeting participants (4-7 June 2019 in Bogota).
Photo: courtesy of the Centro de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible para América Latina y el Caribe (CODS)

Sustainable land-use and food systems have to meet multiple needs encapsulated in the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement.

These include food security and healthy diets; adequate incomes for farmers; net-zero greenhouse gas emissions; protection of biodiversity; sharp declines in the release of nitrogen and other nutrients as well as chemical pollution; and sustainable use of water resources. Countries also need to consider trade and spillovers of their food and land-use systems on other countries. Today’s global food and land-use systems do not meet these needs, and countries need to understand how to fix their land-use and food systems.

Fortunately, solutions exist to address these challenges, but they are not widely known or applied at scale.

Countries lack integrated strategies that tackle synergies and trade-offs between agriculture, water, biodiversity, healthy diets, and greenhouse gas emissions. The FABLE Consortium aims to understand how countries can ensure food security and healthy diets for all, promote decent rural livelihoods, keep the rise in average global temperatures to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity, ensure sustainable water use, and contain the pollution of water and air, including through excessive use of fertilizers.

FABLE organizes its analysis around three pillars for sustainable land-use and food systems. They are complemented by an analysis of trade in the context of integrated land and water-resources planning.

The FABLE Consortium pursues three objectives:

Capacity development and sharing of best practice for data management and modelling of the 3 pillars

through (i) simplified assessments of land-use and food systems for stakeholder engagement (“FABLE Calculator”); (ii) integrated data to support policy-making; and (iii) integrated, geospatially-explicit modelling with trade analyses.

Development of mid-century national pathways

that can collectively achieve shared global targets and have consistent trade assumptions. Such pathways can directly support governments’ efforts to develop mid-century low-emission development strategies under the Paris Agreement’s Article 4.19. They also support achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Analysis of national policy options

By establishing national tools for policy analysis, governments and their stakeholders can test the impact of proposed policies across the three pillars of sustainable land-use and food systems, which can help raise the level of ambition and promote policy coherence.

2019 FABLE Report and Country Chapters

FOLU Report

The FABLE Consortium has issued a first report. Over the coming years, members will improve data systems, analytical tools, and analyses of policy options for land-use and food systems. With other parts of the Food and Land-Use Coalition, we work with interested governments to help improve policies and to develop long-term transformation strategies, including low-emission development strategies required under the Paris Agreement.

This first report by the FABLE Consortium presents preliminary pathways towards sustainable land-use and food systems prepared by 18 country teams from developed and developing countries, including the European Union. The aim of these pathways is to determine and demonstrate the feasibility of making land-use and food systems sustainable in each country to achieve the SDGs and the objectives of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The report represents the first coordinated effort by researchers from most G20 countries and other nations to chart long-term pathways towards sustainable land-use and food systems. Our preliminary results show that the objectives can be achieved but will require deep transformations in every country.

Full Report (14,279 kb /31,762 kb)

Full Report excluding country chapters (4,327 kb /18,823 kb)

Executive Summary (2,741 kb /6,294 kb)

Country chapters: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, 
Colombia, Ethiopia, European Union, Finland, India, 
Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Russian Federation, Rwanda, 
United Kingdom, United States

Publications

Fix a broken food system in three steps (May 2019)

This Nature Comment, authored by SDSN’s Guido Schmidt-Traub and Aline Mosnier with Michael Obersteiner from IIASA, discusses three steps to fix the food system, including the Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land-Use, and Energy (FABLE) Consortium, which is part of the Food and Land-Use Coalition. Access the publication.

Fixing Our Broken Food System: A crucial SDG challenge (Summer 2018)

SDSN’s Executive Director Guido Scmidt-Traub and IIASA’s Michael Obersteiner shared their analysis on the importance of fixing food systems to meet the SDGs in an article published in the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development’s quarterly magazine Horizons – Journal of International Relations and Sustainable Development (Summer 2018 / Issue No. 2). Access the publication.

Advancing the G20’s Commitment to the 2030 Agenda

Through a policy brief the work of the FABLE Consortium has been formally proposed for adoption by the G20 as a signature initiative on the SDGs by the T20 (Think20) – a group of influential think tanks from G20 countries. The policy brief is available here.

Tools

The FABLE Consortium supports capacity development and sharing of best practice for data management and modelling of the 3 pillars through (i) simplified assessments of land-use and food systems for stakeholder engagement (“FABLE Calculator”); (ii) integrated data to support policy-making; and (iii) integrated, geospatially-explicit modelling with trade analyses.

Secretariat

Scientific Director: Aline Mosnier (SDSN).

Project Directors: Michael Obersteiner (IIASA), Guido Schmidt-Traub (SDSN).

Fabrice DeClerck (EAT/Stockholm Resilience Centre), Gaëlle Espinosa (SDSN), Marine Formentini (SDSN), Valeria Javalera-Rincon (IIASA), Sarah Jones (Bioversity International), Rudolf Neubauer (IIASA), Fernando Orduña-Cabrera (IIASA), Liviu Penescu (Consultant), Katya Pérez-Guzman (IIASA), Jordan Poncet (SDSN), Piero Visconti (IIASA).

Our supporters

The FABLE Consortium is grateful for the generous financial support from many supporters, including: the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation, the MAVA Foundation, Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Swedish Postcode Lottery Foundation (Svenska Postkod Stiftelsen), Systemiq, the World Resources Institute (WRI), Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología of Mexico, IIASA, EAT, and the SDSN.

Many others have provided direct assistance to members of the FABLE country teams.

FABLE country teams

Each country team develops the data and modelling infrastructure to promote ambitious, integrated strategies towards sustainable land-use and food systems. This includes “pathways” that describe the changes needed to achieve mid-century objectives. The FABLE country teams are independent, and their views do not necessarily reflect the views of the governments. Explore the country teams here.

Contact us

For more information and comments please write to:

[email protected]