Celebrating Achievements and Raising Ambition at GCAS

The Global Climate Action Summit brought together leaders and organisations from across sectors to celebrate extraordinary achievements in climate action and take ambition to the next level. The Summit was a launchpad for worldwide commitments and accelerated action from countries—supported by all sectors of society—that can put the globe on track to address climate change.

The Summit saw a wave of announcements and campaigns, selection of which are highlighted below.


The 30X30 Forests, Food and Land Challenge called on businesses, states, cities, local governments and global citizens to take action for better forest and habitat conservation, food production, consumption and land use, working together across all sectors of the economy to deliver up to 30% of the climate solutions needed by 2030.

Participants in the Summit emphasised that sustainable land use requires the recognition of indigenous people’s rights and local action. The Governor’s Climate and Forests (GCF) Task Force released guiding principles for Collaboration and Partnership between governments, indigenous people and local communities (read more here). Philanthropic organisations released a statement championing forests, indigenous peoples’ rights, and sustainable land use, committing to at least $459 million through 2022. (Read more here)

Several announcements were related to Transparent Supply Chains. The Cerrado Manifesto is a coalition of more than 100 food and financial companies, working together to halt deforestation and native vegetation loss in the Cerrado, Brazil. (Read more here) Walmart partnered with Unilever to identify high-risk jurisdictions and pledge to source palm oil, paper and pulp from jurisdictions with no deforestation. The Pro-Amazonia Initiative was announced by Ecuador’s Inter-institutional Committee on Sustainable Palm Oil to balance economic growth, productivity and forest conservation and preservation in Ecuador. (Read more here)

Key announcements for restoration programmes include the launch of Cities4Forests to help integrate forests and green infrastructure into urban areas. (Read more here) The Global Environment Facility (GEF) announced a financial commitment of $500m in new grants for food, land use and restoration projects. (Read more here)

The importance of ‘Climate Smart Eating’ was emphasised during The Summit. Including ‘The Cool Food Pledge’ will help signatories to track the climate impact of the food they serve and reduce emissions by 25% by 2030. (Read more here)

Forest, Food and Land Day

On 12th September, the Forest, Food and Land Challenge Coalition hosted a one-day event to showcase the essential role of food and land use systems in addressing climate change, with a range of discussions and talks at the Herbst Theatre. Hosted by Frances Seymour (Distinguished Senior Fellow, WRI) and Manuel Pulgar (Global Lead on Climate and Energy WWF), discussions  explored how food and land use can combat climate change, with a particular focus on the role of non-state actors and indigenous communities, investment opportunities, climate smart agriculture and reducing food waste.

As part of the day, the FOLU Coalition worked with members of the Challenge Coalition, including WWF, to arrange an armchair discussion on the role of business in driving systemic transformation of food and land use systems, featuring Barry Parkin (Chief Sustainability Officer and Procurement Lead, Mars), Christine Daugherty (VP Global Sustainable Agricultura  and Responsible Resourcing, PepsiCo) and FOLU Principal Jeremy Oppenheim (Founding Partner, SYSTEMIQ). Highlights from the session are outlined below.

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 ‘We are sleepwalking our way into ecological collapse and a health disaster - and we know it. We need to acknowledge it and break the norm!’

- Jeremy Oppenheim

We must face the facts - efforts to halt destruction today are inadequate. Malnutrition - a result of either too little healthy food or too much poor-quality food - is a global pandemic.  Agricultural production is driving widespread natural capital destruction and weakening regenerative cycles.  This is deepening the rural poverty trap creating both chronic stress and heightened vulnerability to the multiple impacts of climate change. Leading businesses have a responsibility to build the economic case for action and lead by example. Discussants agreed that we urgently need to scale-up action to have meaningful impact: 600 organisations have made zero-deforestation commitments, yet global rates of deforestation remain the same as in 2010.

 “Where we want global impact, there must be local relevance. It is essential we develop locally relevant partnerships with farmers and other organisations on the ground to address the needs of that specific area.”

- Christine Daugherty

Alleviating smallholder farmer poverty is a moral obligation – and a business priority. As smallholder farms shrink below the point of cost-effective production, the implications for land-ownership restructuring, rural-urban migration and rural employment remain unclear, however there is a clear business risk that farmers will be compelled to leave agriculture for the cities. In addition, consumers are increasingly seeking reassurance that a fair share of the money they pay to food is going to the farmer, not snatched up by different interests along the supply chain. The panellists emphasised the importance of strengthening the rights and livelihoods of farmers in delivering system wide transformation of our food and land use systems.

Mars and PepsiCo have developed partnerships with local communities to strengthen connections with farmers and build trust. As a result, they are able to drive real change on the ground to improve sustainable farming practises and expand respect for workers human rights. (Mars - Livelihood Funds for Family Farming, PepsiCo - Sustainable Farming Programme)

“We must see materials as defined by physical, environmental and social attributes – not just as commodities”

- Barry Parkin

 Are we reaching the end of the commodity era? Barry Parkin emphasised the importance of aligning procurement with environmental and social parameters that support sustainable growth. Companies must move away from buying the ‘unknown’, driven primarily by low costs. Instead, they need to develop transparent long-term contracts that are built on trust and risk management to support resilient supply chains. Mars are building a new model for the cocoa supply chain through developing strong public-private partnerships involving clear regulations with monitoring and traceability techniques to ensure we recognise the value of cocoa, and not just as a commodity. Such a shift reflects the emotional and social power of food: companies that can show they source their products responsibly will benefit from greater consumer engagement and loyalty.

“The issues will not be solved by the magic of technology. We need very serious change. Big businesses like Mars and PepsiCo need to drive these changes by using their incredible marketing capabilities to produce healthy and nutritious food to build a world we want to see”

- Jeremy Oppenheim

Adaptive change is not enough: we need system transformation to address the faults in the food and land use system. Partnerships, commitments and technological innovation are supporting improvements in supply chains. But this is not enough. Jeremy Oppenheim challenged companies to integrate sustainability into their business strategy in a systematic way. Firstly, they can reallocate their Research and Development spend to develop and promote healthy and nutritious products available for everyone. Secondly, companies can shape demand in amazing ways: by deploying formidable marketing capabilities towards sustainability, they can become part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Finally, to drive systemic transformation, financial markets must also be transformed. Companies need to argue in favour of regulation and tough policy where incentives for good work are sharpened and externalities are properly costed.

The discussion highlighted that incremental change is not enough, we urgently need to transform our food and land use systems to address the imbalance and prevent further destructive behaviour. With systems-style thinking, businesses have a responsibility to lead the transformation using technology, innovation and investment to unlock opportunities across the whole value chain. No one company can transform the systems alone, business must collaborate with partners across all sectors and lead the movement for change.

Building trust and sharing experiences to drive action

The world’s food and land use systems are in urgent need of reform if we are to meet the targets set by the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement. To do so, actors need to break down barriers, build shared understanding and ambition, and drive action through collaboration. 

In this spirit, EAT, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU) and the World Economic Forum together established the Food Systems Dialogues (FSDs) earlier this year. The FSDs will serve as a platform where people from a range of sectors can share their experiences, cultivate trust and form partnerships to accelerate the transformation of food and land use systems. 

“Food is key to deliver on the 2030Agenda - let's work together by translating global conversations into local action!”

- David Nabarro

The average dinner plate is the result of rich and interlocking supply chains, spanning diverse landscapes and connected to the lives and livelihoods of billions of people. Such integrated systems go hand in hand with sustainable development. But today, our food systems do not enable people to access the nutritious food they need in an environmentally sustainable way.

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Global hunger has risen for the past three years, halting a trend of declining rates that had seen hunger drop by 20% since 1990. Over 800 million people are chronically under-nourished, while at the same time 2 billion people are over-weight. Food and land use systems currently account for 24% of greenhouse gas emissions and use over 70% of the world’s fresh water resources. This environmental degradation is deepening the rural poverty trap, creating both chronic stress and heightened vulnerability to the multiple impacts of climate change.

Transforming these systems so that they provide healthy, nutritious outcomes for all, support environmental and climate stewardship and drive rural development and shared prosperity will require collaboration across industries and sectors. People urgently need to join forces to raise ambition and develop a shared understanding of the opportunities, challenges and trade-offs to build sustainable systems.

“I work with food, because food is a connector. Food is key to healthy people & communities, a fair economy and to a healthy planet. If we get it right with food – we get it right for so much!"

- Gunhild Stordalen

The Food Systems Dialogues will be hosted in the margins of international meetings around sustainability and food systems, bringing together decision-makers from local and national governments, consumer organizations, as well as small and large-scale food producers and processors, businesspeople, civil society groups and international organizations. Participants will discuss food systems policies and economics, science-based pathways, the potential of innovation and the absolute need for all stakeholders to be included in dialogue.

The Food Systems Dialogues are designed to be sequential, building on each other, enabling participants to continue debate and the evolve their positions over time.  These “red-thread” Dialogues will be encouraged and advanced at local, national and regional level. Results will be synthesised and then threaded among Food Systems Dialogues at the different levels where they take place.

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The first of the international Food Systems Dialogues took place at the EAT Stockholm Food Forum in June 2018. Around 80 participants were hosted for a five-hour session, with two rounds of Dialogue at seven facilitated round-tables.  Key points considered included the need to support a clear vision of what future sustainable food systems will look like and the need to take people into account as well as food, particularly maintaining focus on poorer communities.   The red thread continued to the second of the international Dialogues at the WEF Sustainable Development Impact Summit in New York on September 25th where the focus was on the major innovations that could accelerate successful transformation while taking account of trade-offs necessary for this to happen. 

The first national dialogues were held in Oslo in mid-September and a regional programme is in development. Since then, interest has grown. As we round out 2018, more Dialogues are planned around the world. Most notably, the first national Food Systems Dialogues are set to take place in India, where transformation of food and land use systems is critical to drive further equitable economic development.

The Food Systems Dialogues are an exciting and pioneering initiative aimed at creating the conditions for collaboration that will drive an integrated approach to transformation. The FOLU coalition looks forward to participating in and learning through them.

Regenerative economic growth in Colombia

The Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU) seeks to empower actors to scale up efforts and accelerate the transformation of food and land use systems. Country ownership of the FOLU agenda is critical to deliver action on-the-ground that is sensitive to specific local circumstances. In Colombia, rich natural resources and a political window of opportunity in the wake of the peace process offer the potential for rapid, systemic change that could deliver huge benefits for people and planet.

Colombia is at a unique moment in its history. The country has been growing steadily, is increasingly consid­ered a “good place to do business” and to visit and has entered a stabilization phase. To fulfil its potential, Colombia needs continued economic growth and stability, underpinned by strong and resilient supply chains and greater equality between urban and rural areas.

Critical to strengthening supply chains is the restoration and conservation of Colombia’s unique ecosystems. These are essential to support more productive agricultural landscapes that in turn could produce the goods and services that people need to support healthy livelihoods.

The recent announcement that Colombia has joined the Cocoa and Forests Initiative is a great step forward. But more can be done. Colombia can strengthen deforestation-free value chains across export crops like coffee and palm, as well as in livestock and dairy production. Livestock has been identified as the major driver of deforestation in Colombia over the past 20 years.

Exciting efforts are emerging. For example, Initiative 20x20 is a country-led effort to restore 20 million hectares of land in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2020. The World Resources Institute (WRI) is working with 40 technical organisations and institutions to support Initiative 20x20 through their Global Restoration Initiative by facilitating the dialogue between governments, civil society, and the private sector to build an effective coalition that can achieve the initiative’s goals.

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It is critical to engage with farmers to understand the challenges they face and the motivations behind destructive agricultural practices. Members of the FOLU Coalition in Colombia are hosting conversations with local farmers’ groups and cooperatives, laying the groundwork for broader collaboration with key organisations.

Strengthening conservation measures is fundamental to preserving forests. FOLU members in Colombia are engaging with Heritage Colombia, a fund created to increase the amount of protected land in Colombia and to ensure the proper management and governance of land both within and outside protected areas – including private reserves, land managed by Afro-Colombian communities and land owned by indigenous communities. The initiative, led by the Government of Colombia, with support of WWF, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Biodiversity Fund, has chosen a number of priority areas in which to work on sustainable landscapes. There is scope for the Food and Land Use Coalition to combine forces in a number of these landscapes.

Ecotourism can also act as a powerful lever to support conservation and restoration and strengthen sustainable food and land use systems. Costa Rica has demonstrated the potential of ecotourism to drive economic growth. The country, which has dedicated around a third of its land mass to conservation, now receives over 2 million visitors each year, with tourism contributing 5.1% of GDP of which over half is estimated as ecotourism.

Members of the FOLU Coalition have highlighted efforts to support deforestation-free value chains – and the potential role of ecotourism in supporting this – as one of six priority areas for further action. Other areas include: (i) forging public private partnerships to support healthy and nutritious diets and to reduce food loss and waste, (ii) supporting producer and consumer working groups on better pesticide and fertilizer management, (ii)developing a programme on healthy and sustainable nutrition in the Colombian education system, (iv) bringing together public and private actors to engage directly on specific supply chains and (v) channelling investments to scale sustainable business models. 

These plans for transformation, outlined in our Action Agenda for sustainable food and land use transformation in Colombia, have been shared with the highest level of government. Paul Polman, chair of FOLU, met recently elected Colombian President Ivan Duque in September to share the work of the Colombia team and the new leader expressed his excitement at the prospect of integrating the findings into the country’s National Development Plan for 2018-2022.

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Meanwhile, members of the FABLE Consortium in Colombia have continued to ramp up work on modelling Colombia’s food and land use systems over the last couple of months. Work has begun with the country-level modelling tool, the FABLE calculator, to develop long-term pathways for sustainable food and land use systems in Colombia. Initial results are due shortly.

By building capacity to assess the trade-offs and opportunities in sustainable food and land use systems, collaborating with partners to drive joined-up action and highlighting the economic opportunities for both public and private sectors, a brighter future for Colombia is emerging. A ‘new food and land use economy’ could reshape its food and land use systems into a powerful engine of sustainable growth, boosting income generation, employment and business opportunities.

Profound challenges meet huge ambition at AGRF

First established in 2010, following a three-year series of African Green Revolution Conferences (AGRC) held in Oslo, Norway from 2006-2008, the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) has emerged as Africa’s leading “platform of agriculture platforms”. It brings together a range of critical stakeholders in the African agriculture landscape to discuss and commit to programs, investments, and policies that can counter the major challenges affecting the agriculture sector on the continent.

This year, the Forum took place in Kigali, Rwanda. FOLU was delighted to host the Food and Land Use Policy Symposium on the third day of the Forum, Friday 7th September.

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“Africa will achieve an agricultural transformation that feeds its populations, exports surplus products to external markets and protects the natural capital on which it depends.”

In his opening remarks for the Policy Symposium, H. E. Dr Eyasu Abraha Alle (Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Ethiopia) captured the optimism and ambition that characterised the AGRF more broadly.

Participants in the Policy Symposium shared a range of perspectives on the transformative change required to develop sustainable food and land use systems. Elsewhere at the Forum, FOLU benefited from rich conversations with policy-makers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, development finance organisation, academics and civil society representatives.

Many participants spoke of the unique and profound challenges that Africa faces. Rapid population growth, climate change impacts and systemic faults pose huge challenges and trade-offs for African agriculture to become self-sufficient, food secure and prosperous. However, there was a sense of opportunity to build sustainable agricultural systems in Africa that drive economic growth and help to deliver on global sustainable development goals.

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“Subsistence farming by default is not sustainable. We will not get anywhere if we expect to transform agriculture by subsistence.”

– Ishmael Sunga (CEO, Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions)

The fate of smallholder farmers is central to a sustainable African agricultural transformation. Transformation must be based on sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, segmenting and supporting smallholder farmers as agri-businesses, and building a commercial agricultural system. Moreover, broader structural change must support transformation. The commercialisation of African agriculture will not be possible without systems that support inter-regional African trade. Beyond commercialising agriculture, leaders need to manage migration flows and develop urban and rural landscapes that support healthy, prosperous people and planet.

“You may expect me to preach about how bad agriculture has been for the environment. But I see things the other way around. Food is where nature meets people. So agriculture and the environment should be best friends.”

– Naoko Ishii (CEO, Global Environment Facility)

System-wide transformation is vital to address trade-offs and synergies in food and land use systems. We need to shift away from a development model that has seen higher productivity in Africa at the cost of natural resources, that has focused on volume rather than value and rural livelihoods, and that perpetuates many African countries’ dependence on imports from outside the continent. This is all the more urgent given rapid population growth and climate change, which in turn increase the pressure on agricultural systems, food security and jobs.

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Photo by maxime niyomwungeri on Unsplash  

“We cannot fall short on implementation because when we do, we have only ourselves to blame”

– H. E. President Paul Kagame, speaking at the Presidential Summit, AGRF

To deliver this, African countries need support to build capacity to make long-term integrated decisions in land use planning. A key requirement is more granular data: many African countries still lack the richness of data to properly understand natural resources like soil quality, land use and ownership today.

Greater investment is also needed to unlock Africa’s potential. Budgetary constraints continue to prevent African countries from investing in sustainable food and land use systems at the scale required. Increased investment should be channelled towards improved extension services, technologies and talent. At the same time, financial incentive structures need to be transformed to promote sustainable outcomes. Agricultural subsidies could be reformed to promote the production of more diverse crops and sustainable farming practices. Improved information and infrastructure systems could support regional trade.

“If we can coordinate and build trust, we can bring sustainable solutions to Ethiopian agriculture – and Africa more broadly.”

– Techane Adugna (Program Manager, Ethiopia, Synergos)

Many called for greater collaboration to create the enabling environment for transformation. Collaboration enables actors to align different interests behind a shared vision, identify opportunities and tackle trade-offs. In Ethiopia FOLU members are using a ‘cluster approach’ to bring together agribusinesses, farmers, regulatory bodies and others to discuss shared challenges, opportunities and goals. Collaboration enables decision-makers to draw on a wide range of skills and expertise. Gilbert Houngbo, speaking at the Presidential Summit on 8th September, called for a commitment to scale-up existing projects. Public private partnerships – like FOLU – are a powerful way of doing this. So too are international agreements, like the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, signed by 44 of the 55 members of the African Union in Rwanda in March 2018. Many leaders at the Forum called for further support and expansion of the agreement.

“As the centre of gravity, women should be the focus in agriculture. We need to talk about what constrains them from reaching full capacity and moving us to where we want to be in agricultural productivity.”

– Diana Louise Ofwona (Regional Director, UN Women Office for West and Central Africa)

Collaboration cannot occur solely at the high-level. Leaders must support those currently marginalised in the transformation. For example, we must equip women to actively drive agricultural transformation through their role as producers and as providers of food and nutrition for their families and communities. Many called for tracking systems that enable the naming and shaming of those countries that are not moving fast enough to improve women’s rights and status. In addition, with the youngest population in the world, we cannot talk about sustainability in Africa without talking about the youth. If we don’t include young people at the table to discuss challenges, we will continue to operate with BAU for the next 30 years.

Jeremy Oppenheim drew on these themes in an interview with pan-African CNBC show “Beyond Markets”, in which he discussed the links among biodiversity, agriculture, health, and climate change and economic growth. Watch here.

The ideas and experiences shared at the African Green Revolution have convinced the FOLU Coalition of the need to develop a strategy for engaging more deeply in the continent. The core organisations seek to draft a strategy document, in close collaboration with organisations based in Africa.  

Colombia commits to Deforestation-free Cocoa

The Government of Colombia has become the first Latin American country to commit to deforestation-free cocoa, as part of the Cocoa and Forests Initiative.

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The Government of Colombia – along with its largest cocoa company, Casa Luker, the National Cocoa Federation, and in partnership with WRI and IDH – has committed to eliminate deforestation from the country’s cocoa supply chain by 2020.

Colombia made the commitment as part of joining the Cocoa and Forests Initiative, a global effort to ensure deforestation-free cocoa. FOLU congratulates Colombia and all those involved in developing this initiative, including core members of the FOLU team operating in Colombia.

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Together with over 50 organisations from both public and private sectors, the FOLU team has produced a ‘Roadmap for a New Food and Land Use Economy for the Peace in Colombia’ – a set of strategies to advance sustainable rural economic development in Colombia, including policy and investment recommendations and business models to scale.

“The Food and Land Use Coalition has played an instrumental role in Colombia’s signing up to the Cocoa and Forests Initiative.  FOLU will fund the first year of implementation of the agreement, and worked closely with the Ministries, companies and partners who signed the Joint Framework for Action to bring it about.  Many of the key strategies for the implementation of the Agreement are also outlined in the Coalition’s Roadmap for a New Food and Land Use Economy for the Peace in Colombia.”

- Wendy Arenas, FOLU Host, Colombia

Cocoa is a strategic crop for Colombia: the country primarily produces high-quality Fino de Aroma cocoa, which is sought after on international markets. Unlike in West Africa, Cocoa is not currently a significant driver of deforestation in Colombia. Other activities have put pressure on the country’s forests, including livestock, cocoa production and illegal timber clearing, mining and infrastructure. Yet paradoxically, rates of deforestation have soared since the conclusion of the peace process, as parts of forest previously inaccessible due to the presence of illegal armed groups have now been opened-up to agriculture and other activities.

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The Government of Colombia sees cocoa as a solution to the problem of deforestation: agroforestry-based cocoa is part of a comprehensive program to protect existing pristine forests and restore degraded land. Not only this, but cocoa will play an essential role in providing rural employment to farmers and communities previously involved in the conflict. In fact, the initiative will be called the ‘Cocoa, Forests and Peace Initiative’, in honour of cocoa’s role in advancing the historic peace process.

“The Government of Colombia is doing its utmost to reduce the high rates of deforestation which have ensued since the peace process. With the support of the international community, and responsible businesses, my country is making strong progress towards delivering on its commitments to put an end to deforestation. Cocoa is a critical part of this effort”

- Luis Gilberto Murillo

The Cocoa and Forests Initiative began in 2017 and seeks to create a global movement for deforestation-free cocoa. Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, which together grow 60% of the world’s cocoa, were the first countries to join the initiative. With its rich natural resources – including globally important tropical forests – and promising signs of progress, Colombia is a highly valuable new partner in the initiative as it continues to transform the cocoa sector for benefit of people and planet.  

FABLE Consortium builds community and capacity

The Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land Use and Energy (FABLE) Pathways Consortium, convened by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), met for its second full consortium meeting on 6-8 June at IIASA in Austria.

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Close to 30 FABLE country team members attended in person and were joined by 20 team members from the FABLE Secretariat, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), and the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU). The meeting offered the opportunity to elevate the work of country teams across the globe by sharing knowledge, refining the framework to guide the Consortium’s analytical work and collectively raising ambitions.    

At the meeting, the FABLE teams adopted an ambitious work program and refined the FABLE pillars for sustainable land-use and food systems (figure below), which organise sustainable food and land use systesms into five simple categories, which will guide FABLE’s analytical work.

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The Consortium also explored operational 2030 and 2050 targets, which will act as North Stars for the pathways developed by country teams. These will be consistent with the SDGs, the Paris Agreement, and the Aichi biodiversity targets. For example, the consortium will explore how the “Half Earth” concept developed by E.O. Wilson might be translated into measurable variables to help inform country-level action to protect and restore biodiversity.

In advance of the meeting, 25 researchers participated in a FABLE training workshop on partial equilibrium modelling and global land-use allocation models developed by IIASA and PIK. The event was a great success thanks to the focus, solidarity, and motivation of this large and diverse group of researchers. The FABLE Secretariat and partner institutions are now focusing on the next steps to strengthen this new community of practice around global land-use allocation modelling and its application to developing FABLE pathways.

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Adding to this significant progress, 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. This serves to validate the Consortium’s world-leading work, as well as introducing the benefits of the modelling work to a broader and critical audience, placing it in the context of existing national development processes.   

The brief Advancing the G20’s Commitment to the 2030 Agenda recommends four actions on Agenda 2030 and the SDGs:

  1. Identify strategic national priorities for collective action and burden-sharing of global public goods and report on these in the collective report to the U.N. HLPF mentioned above
  2. Agree that sustainable land-use and food systems are central to the problems of freshwater supplies, biodiversity, nutrient overuse and land degradation
  3. Endorse research on pathways towards sustainable food and land-use systems such as the FABLE Pathways Initiative and recommend to the 2019 U.N. HLPF that it be adopted as a global initiative
  4. Request national FABLE research teams to engage with government agencies to develop integrated long-term national pathways towards sustainable land-use and food systems consistent with global goals.

Food and Land Use at the GEF 6th Assembly

Da Nang, Vietnam

“Food and Land Use systems are essential to delivering on the SDGs given their close links to biodiversity, agriculture, emissions, health and climate change. We don’t need to rehash the problem. We need to use the time we have to constructively share the solutions we need to find and scale action.”

With these words, Paul Polman (CEO, Unilever and FOLU Chair) opened an insightful and action-oriented roundtable at the Global Environment Facility (GEF) 6th Assembly in Da Nang, Vietnam in June. Moderated by FOLU’s Jeremy Oppenheim, the session focussed on the huge opportunity offered by the GEF’s recent allocation of $500 million to the Food Systems, Land Use and Restoration Impact Program.

Through this programme, countries can receive support under three broad themes: promoting sustainable food systems to tackle negative externalities in value chains; promoting deforestation-free agricultural commodity supply chains; and promoting large-scale restoration of degraded landscapes for sustainable production and ecosystem services.

The panel brought together leaders from the public and private sector, academia and civil society to share their experiences of working in food and land use, providing examples of integrated and collaborative action that delivered social and environmental benefits while driving economic growth. This mirrors the approach taken by the Coalition in pioneer countries Colombia, Indonesia, Ethiopia and Australia.

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“We need to build rural prosperity to find a way for smallholder farmers to move up or move out.”

Shenggen Fan (Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute and FOLU Ambassador)

Participants emphasised the need to revitalise rural areas – beyond increasing farmer productivity. Increasing productivity is not sufficient to improve farmer livelihoods. Training in sustainable practices and access to markets are essential to create lasting, independent income streams for farmers. Moreover, rural areas offer an opportunity to tackle some of the biggest social and environmental challenges, including smallholder income, environmental damage and biodiversity loss. To drive change, four broad actions were discussed. Firstly, investment in rural and agricultural areas – shifting away from governments’ current focus on industry. Secondly, an integrated governance approach that brings together stakeholders from across government ministries, communities and local business at international, national and state levels. Thirdly, diversification of farmer incomes. Fourthly, policy reform to address huge inefficiencies in the sector.  

Investment is required in people and systems, as well as hardware. Speakers highlighted the importance of knowledge as a building block for driving change. This includes teaching farmers about the impacts of climate change and training them in climate smart agricultural practices, as well as providing them with technologies. Knowledge platforms play an important role in supporting decision-making and sharing learning, for policy-makers, business people, civil society leaders and farmer organisations. Policy planning benefited from applying new tools and metrics. The Agrobiodiversity Index, for example, enables governments and businesses to make better informed investments to improve agricultural outputs, support healthy and economically prospering populations and conserve biodiversity. The importance of legal rights was acknowledged, empowering farmers and vulnerable groups improve their lives.

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“A collective approach is essential to translate public and private sector commitments into keeping landscapes intact.”

Carter Roberts (President and CEO, World Wildlife Fund USA)

Partnerships and collective action across sectors is key to scale and sustain projects. No organisation can single-handedly transform food and land use systems at a significant scale. Multiple companies need to come together with governments and NGOs to deliver change beyond each participant’s individual footprint. Speakers highlighted the role of collaboration in the soy and beef moratoriums in the Brazilian Amazon, one of the greatest global success stories of avoided deforestation. Cross-sectoral collaboration is essential to create the enabling conditions for investment in sustainable landscapes, but each sector brings different strengths and capabilities to the transformation. The private sector is an essential driver of innovation and can build the business case for other stakeholders to act. Collaboration with cooperatives and communities builds confidence and trust with and between farmers, and ensures vulnerable groups are given the voice and support that they need to participate. 

Unusual partnerships strengthen the connections between productivity, land conservation, farmer income, health and more. Programs to transform food and land use must recognise and strengthen the deep connections between these systems’ building blocks. Conserving and restoring biodiversity does not mean compromising on productivity. Instead, biodiversity can improve agricultural quality and yield, as well as providing farmers and consumers with a range of underutilised, nutritious crops to grow and consume. In Burkina Faso, agroecology is being used to improve farmer incomes while conserving the natural environment. In Vietnam, the Sustainable Trade Initiative is working with actors across the supply chain to innovate and create more sustainable products.

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“Collaboration is key. Either we come together or we choose to lead the world irresponsibly.”

– Sunny Verghese (Co-founder and CEO, Olam International and FOLU Ambassador)

There is innovation everywhere: now we need to scale it. Innovation in technology, policy and finance is enabling Ethiopia to regenerate degraded land and improve smallholder incomes. Equipping farmers with the appropriate technology and tools is resulting in Kenyan maize farmers seeing productivity increase by 5 – and precious ecosystems being restored. In Bangladesh, IFAD is working with farmers to use biogas to generate the energy levels they need for post-harvest facilities. Actors in food and land use systems need to identify and bring to scale the programs that will deliver the greatest impact. This will require committed investment, strong business cases, collaboration and an integrated approach.

The GEF Food Systems, Land Use and Restoration Impact Program offers a huge opportunity for ambitious countries to transform their food and land use systems for the benefit of all. FOLU stands ready to work to support countries in applying for funding, drawing on its expertise in science, business, policy, economic and its experience in developing integrated programs in Ethiopia, Indonesia and Colombia.

Participants in the session included:

Africa and Latin America Panel: Paul Polman (CEO, Unilever), H. E. Ato Kare (State Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ethiopia), Agnes Kalibata (President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa), Carter Roberts (CEO, World Wildlife Fund USA), Maria Helena Semedo (Deputy Director-General, Climate and Natural Resources, FAO), Ann Tutwiler (Director General, Biodiversity International) and Angelica Mayolo (Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Colombia), Batio Bassiere (Minister of Environment, Green Economy and Climate Change, Burkina Faso) and Dr Rurema Déo Guide (Minister of Environment, Agriculture and Livestock, Burundi)

Asia Panel: Sunny Verghese (CEO & Co-Founder, Olam and Chair, WBCSD), Cristiana Pasça Palmer (Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity), Ajay Jakhar (Chairman, Bharat Krishak Samaj), Shenggen Fan (Director General, IFPRI), C.K. Mishra (Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, India), Margarita Astralaga (Director, Environment and Climate Change, IFAD), Steven Collet (Operational Director, Executive Board Member, The Sustainable Trade Initiative), Guido Schmidt-Traub (Executive Director, UNSDSN), Annette Cowie (Advisor on Land Degradation, Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel, GEF) and The Anh (Vice-President of Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS)

Collaborating across sectors in Indonesia

On Wednesday 30th May, over 80 Indonesian experts from government, the private sector and civil society provided input into a first draft template of the Food and Land Use Coalition’s ‘Action Agenda for a New Food and Land Use Economy in Indonesia’. The action agenda of policy and investment recommendations has been developed in close collaboration with the Indonesian government and addresses a number of Indonesia’s most pressing food and land use challenges and opportunities, including: food security, nutrition, agricultural productivity, food loss and waste, conservation and restoration.   

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Participants in the workshop will continue to feed into the action agenda over the coming months.  A first detailed draft will be prepared in time for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings in Bali in October 2018. An inaugural meeting of the national FOLU ambassadors in September will provide additional perspectives on the action agenda and its key findings, in advance of the Bali meetings.

The action agenda will also draw on a political economy study analysing some of the constraints facing the establishment of a new food and land use economy in Indonesia, and how these might best be addressed. The study is led by the distinguished academic, Professor Hariadi Kartodihardjo, of Bogor Agriculture Institute (IPB).

To translate recommendations into action, the Coalition works closely with the Indonesian Government and partners to integrate its suggested actions into existing programs and coalitions. In Indonesia, FOLU and FABLE country teams are contributing to the ‘Low Carbon Development of Indonesia Initiative’, an initiative led by the Government’s National Planning Agency, BAPPENAS, to set out a low carbon 5-year national development plan. FABLE’s work on long-term pathways for sustainable food and land use systems in Indonesia was discussed by Minister Bambang (BAPPENAS) at the 6th GEF Assembly in Da Nang in June, as part of a panel on ‘Partnerships for Implementing the 2030 Agenda’.

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To further accelerate action on the ground and secure local buy-in, FOLU is collaborating across sectors to identify and scale best practice. For example, the country action agenda team is documenting examples of successful business models in agroforestry, peatland restoration and apiculture, drawing on work from SYSTEMIQ, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, Rabobank and other partners. These examples will feature in the action agenda as opportunities to replicate and scale.  In addition, the Coalition is supporting action-oriented coalitions at national and local level, including a public-private partnership on Food Loss and Waste. Finally, the Coalition is working with subnational governorates and partners in South Sumatra, East Kalimantan, Papua and West Papua to deliver regionally tailored subnational action agendas and investment plans to support these regions to implement their ambitious new food and land use economy commitments.  

FOLU's Nabarro & Haddad awarded World Food Prize

The Food and Land Use Coalition is delighted to announce that Dr David Nabarro and Dr Lawrence Haddad have been jointly awarded the prestigious 2018 World Food Prize.  Awarded by the World Food Prize Foundation, this global award honours breakthrough achievements to alleviate hunger and promote global food security.

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“David is a tireless advocate for the sustainable development goals, and has been instrumental in developing the capacity of organisations and individuals to think systemically and adopt integrated approaches. Lawrence’s research has enhanced greatly our understanding of food insecurity and malnutrition. The Food and Land-use Coalition - FOLU - benefits immensely from both David and Lawrence’s leadership and experience as we advocate for nutritious, accessible and environmentally sustainable food systems. The award is highly deserved, and we congratulate them on receiving this incredible honour.” 

- Jeremy Oppenheim

Founded in 1986 by Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr Norman E. Borlaug, the World Food Prize recognises individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. This year, the Prize honours Dr Nabarro and Dr Haddad for their leadership in maternal and child undernutrition and contributions to reducing the number of stunted children by 10 million between 2012 and 2017.

The World Food Prize recognises Dr Nabarro’s work as head of the UN High-Level Task Force on Global Food Security in 2008 to 2014 and Coordinator of the United Nation’s Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. During this time, Dr Nabarro united 54 countries and one Indian state under the SUN Movement to implement evidence-based policies and fight child malnutrition in South Asia and Africa. Many participating countries reported a significant decline in the number of stunted children after adopting SUN guidelines. Dr Nabarro continues to oversee SUN through his service on its advisory Lead Group.

The Prize recognises Dr Haddad’s work in persuading policymakers to place a high priority on global nutrition, emphasising the fact that improving nutrition will almost halve child mortality before the age of 5. He established initiatives for accountability and guidance in global nutrition through the creation of the Global Nutrition Report, which analysed government advancements in reducing malnutrition. Through Dr Haddad’s leadership, governments can see their progress and allocate resources where they are needed most to combat malnutrition across the globe.

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“As I receive this wonderful award, I reflect on the thousands of courageous women and men who are working at local level for food systems that are well-functioning and just. They have the wisdom needed to reduce levels of malnutrition or diet-related illness. They can devise food systems that benefit people and the planet and that contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They are the transformation leaders of the future.”

- David Nabarro

Dr Nabarro is Strategic Director of Skills, Systems & Synergies for Sustainable Development (4SD), a Switzerland-based social enterprise to mentor professionals working for sustainable development. He is a Senior Advisor at SYSTEMIQ, serving as a member of the senior management team for the Food and Land use Coalition (FOLU).  He advises the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) on food systems issues and curates the Food Systems Dialogues initiated by EAT, the World Economic Forum and WBCSD. He also holds a position as Professor of Global Health at Imperial College London.

Dr Haddad is the Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition. He is also Chair of the Global Panel Foresight Lead Expert Group. He is an economist and his research interests are the intersection of poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition.  Dr Haddad is an Ambassador for the FOLU Coalition.

Dr Nabarro and Dr Haddad will receive the World Food Prize at a ceremony in the Iowa State Capitol building in Des Moines, Iowa, on 18 October 2018.

For more information about the World Food Prize, visit www.worldfoodprize.org/FoodPrize18.

New Climate Economy Summit

As part of its mission to make the case for transforming food and land use systems, the Food and Land Use Coalition has supported the development of the Food and Land Use chapter of the New Climate Economy (NCE)’s ‘Global Opportunities Report’. The chapter sets out the opportunities in transforming food and land use systems to drive economic growth and deliver on environmental and sustainable development goals.

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The chapter provides examples of progress and is a chance to test bold recommendations on practices such as forest protection, radical transparency, land use planning, pricing for ecosystem services and innovation. The report’s messages and recommendations were tested with leaders, including ministers of finance and environment, at a session hosted by the Coalition’s chair Paul Polman at the 2018 NCE Global Commissioner Summit on the side-lines of the World Bank Spring Meetings. The team is currently integrating feedback from this session.

The report will be launched on 6th September and will be supported by a series of events, media and communications materials. The FOLU and NCE Communications teams are working together to leverage NCE's network and communications expertise in broadcasting the Coalition’s message through the publication of the report.

GEF program to support transformational change

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In April, approximately 30 countries collectively pledged US$4.1 billion for the seventh replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) trust fund. This replenishment round has a particular allocation for a systematic ‘Food Systems, Land Use and Restoration Impact Program’. This is an exciting moment for FOLU as it enables the Coalition to scale our model and impact.

Under this programme, countries can receive support under three broad themes: 1) Promoting sustainable food systems to tackle negative externalities in value chains, 2) Promoting deforestation-free agricultural commodity supply chains and 3) Promoting large-scale restoration of degraded landscapes for sustainable production and ecosystem services. Each of these themes calls for a holistic approach, like the sustainable country programs the Coalition is testing in pioneer countries Colombia, Indonesia, Ethiopia and Australia. 

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By describing this impact program, GEF is leading the world to show that transforming our food and land use systems will be critical to achieving the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals and it is providing the funding to help countries to do so.

FOLU Coalition Director, Jeremy Oppenheim will host a roundtable event at the 6th GEF Assembly, conveying the huge opportunities in transforming food and land use systems to drive economic growth and deliver on environmental and sustainable development goals. Executive Director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Founding Member of FOLU, Dr. Guido Schmidt-Traub will also be hosting a roundtable session at the 6th GEF Assembly, on Partnerships for Implementing the 2030 Agenda. 

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is an independently operating financial organisation, providing grants for projects to help tackle the planet’s most pressing environmental problems, as well as acting as the funding mechanism for a range of international conventions.

Driving progress on-the-ground at WBCSD

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is currently pulling together the business narrative on their Food, Land and Water system transformation program. Business leaders are already showing strong signs of commitment. This was discussed at a meeting in Montreux in April, attended by approximately 500 Chief Sustainability Officers who shared updates on separate projects within the Food, Land and Water space. Highlights included the publication of FReSH’s report on consumption trends, the work of the Soft Commodities Forum and a Climate Smart Agriculture update on installing weather stations in the cocoa-belt. Attendees expressed strong interest in how the FABLE modelling could help them to make long-term strategic decisions.

Building Capacity across the FABLE Network

An expanding network. There are now commitments from over 20 country and regional teams, composed of local knowledge institutions, who are developing science-based modelling frameworks, targets and pathways, which countries can use to assess policies relating to land-use and food systems. The Consortium lifts the ambition of participating country/regional teams by sharing knowledge and building capacity. They are also granted access to an international network of modellers with which to discuss findings and optimise analyses.

Building capacity. The country teams are currently testing and familiarising themselves with a simplified excel modelling tool developed by IIASA and shared with them in April. Once familiarised, the teams will engage in “Scenathons”: a collaborative online effort to aggregate national pathways and identify inconsistencies between the sum of national pathways and global objectives, as well as inconsistencies across national pathways. The scenathons and the underlying Excel tools will generate first results by the middle of this year, with a first set of national pathways that are consistent with global sustainable development objectives by Autumn 2018.

What next? The second all-team meeting of the Consortium will take place on 6-8th June, 2018 in Laxenburg, Austria. The meeting presents an opportunity for teams spread across the world to discuss the status of their FABLE country teams and outreach with local groups, to receive an update on the broader FOLU effort, and to receive training on the modelling and frameworks for their work.

Prior to the meeting, a training for all FABLE country teams organised by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). Around 25 country team experts will participate in the training, from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Malaysia, Russia, Rwanda, South Africa and the USA.

Refining a roadmap for a sustainable future in Colombia

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Roadmap workshop. Over 130 people provided input into the Coalition’s draft ‘Roadmap for a New Food and Land Use Economy for the Peace in Colombia’ at a workshop in Bogotá in March 2018. The  'roadmap' of policy and investment recommendations has been developed in close collaboration with the Colombian government and addresses the specific priorities and concerns around food and land use in the country. The team plans to share the roadmap with the current government from mid-April to June 2018 and with the new government in August-September 2018.

Science-based targets and pathways. The FABLE country team has begun work on science-based targets and pathways for food and land use systems in Colombia. Partners in the modelling work include Universidad de los Andes and Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. The team is also delving into developing a regional approach to FABLE, by working very closely with Brazil and Argentina, for example at a meeting in Bariloche, Argentina on 19th – 21st March 2018. Read more about this regional effort here.

FOLU lifts off in Ethiopia

The Coalition formally launched its Ethiopian national program at a government-hosted meeting of the Climate Resilient Green Economy initiative in Addis Ababa on 15th May 2018. Ethiopia is one of the first countries in which the Coalition is launching a national program of work, including both mid-term policy recommendations and long-term science-based pathways. This reflects the country’s vision and leadership on the food and land use agenda.

Coalition ambassador Agnes Kalibata delivered a keynote speech, offering fresh perspectives on the Coalition’s approach and ambition in the country. Attendees included Khalid Bomba (CEO, Agricultural Transformation Agency) and Ato Belete (former Minister of Environment).  To accompany the launch, Paul Polman and Gemedo Dalle collaborated on an op-ed about the opportunities in Ethiopia’s food and land use systems. The piece was published in the Addis Fortune in the days preceding the launch. Read the article here. With a team already in place in Ethiopia, the launch was an opportunity to further build relationships and awareness of the Coalition’s work among key audiences and potential partners.

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Collaborating across sectors to drive change. Meanwhile, the FOLU country team continues to work closely with a wide range of actors across sectors to deliver on Ethiopia’s ambitious environmental targets while creating opportunities for local communities and businesses.

The Coalition is working to develop a package of policy recommendations for sustainable food and land use systems, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC), the Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock (MoAL) and the National Planning Commission, as well as several well-known non-governmental organisations working in this field. The coalition is also working to shape the five-year Growth and Transformation Plan (2020-2025) and integrate the FOLU approach into the Agricultural Transformation Agency’s Agricultural Commercialisation Clusters, in collaboration with Synergos.

The coalition seeks to accelerate action and bolster its policy recommendations by assessing restoration business models and pilot projects. The country team is investigating the potential to scale and learn from initiatives, including examples from FARM Africa, Komaza and Valley International.

Building modelling capacity. The FABLE Consortium has launched a country team in Ethiopia to work on science-based targets and long-term pathways. The modelling work will be led by the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI). The pathways that come out of the modelling will inform the policy advice and wider work that the Coalition is conducting in Ethiopia.  Read more on the FABLE Consortium’s progress.

FOLU Roundtable Discussion in Davos

Davos, CH - Gathered together for the World Economic Forum in Davos, leaders from business, policy, civil society and international governance met to discuss the urgent need for transformation of food and land use systems to secure a brighter future for people and planet – and their relative roles in driving this. The collaborative and action-oriented conversation was convened by the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU) Chair, Paul Polman, who both initiated and concluded the discussions. 

Participants noted that food and land use systems are vital to achieving Sustainable Development Goals. However, issues of food and land use are not receiving the attention they deserve and as a result, decision-makers may not appreciate how serious the challenge and large the opportunity is. The community of food and land use actors can learn from the ‘climate’ movement – of which many were a part.

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Attendees agreed that rapid, coordinated action will need to underpin the required transformation. National governments may lead the transitions through close engagement with other governments, local and international businesses, scientific groups and civil society. The private sector is key, not least due to their connection to both farmers and consumers. Companies can work with other stakeholders to support the transition through changes to their business strategy and practice. Financial leaders should seek to develop financial vehicles and mechanisms to encourage investment in sustainable food and land use projects. In addition, attendees discussed the value of at times adopting transformation strategies that come with some risk. 

Additionally, further developing the evidence base will equip decision-makers with pathways for action and help to get investments flowing in the right direction. By supporting countries to use science-based analytical tools, decision-makers will be better informed of the long-term consequences of policy decisions like subsidy reform.

Attendees discussed the Coalition’s role in supporting the transformation. Several participants referred to the Coalition’s comprehensive approach and the substantial progress made in the last year. The Coalition was described by some as a clear leader, with the ability to bring multiple actors together in pursuit of people-centred transformation and the agility to move fast. 

What next? The Food and Land Use Coalition needs to support fast, coordinated action. The Coalition needs to raise the profile of our messages, purpose and achievements to bring the conversation into the mainstream. And in moving forward, decision-makers need to keep the interests and emotions of people and their specific, local concerns in mind at all times.

Paul Polman concluded the session by recognising the momentum in the room: “The FOLU Coalition is a very strong platform. Let’s get it to action”

Our sincere thanks to Yara International for their generous support in hosting the event. 

Businesses and organisations involved in the event included: African Development Bank, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, Cargill Incorporated, Chatham House, the EAT Foundation, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the Government of Colombia, the Government of Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative, the Government of the Netherlands, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Nestle, New Climate Economy, Rabobank, Royal DSM NV, Scaling Up Nutrition, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), SYSTEMIQ, UN World Food Programme, Unilever, the World Economic Forum, the World Bank Group, the World Resources Institute, WWF International and Yara International.

FABLE inaugural meeting in Austria

The FABLE Consortium (Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land Use and Energy) is a self-governed consortium, convened by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the International Institution for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). The FABLE country teams develop science-based targets and integrated, long-term pathways in their respective countries using modelling tools and analyses covering agriculture, bioenergy, food security, diets, water, biodiversity, and other critical dimensions of food and land-use systems.

The FABLE Consortium operates as part of the broader Food and Land-Use Coalition to provide the integrated analysis that can support relevant stakeholders in undertaking the deep transformations needed to achieve sustainable land-use and food systems. Individual members of the FABLE Consortium can draw on the expertise and reach of the Food and Land-Use Coalition.

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The FABLE Consortium held its inaugural meeting on 6-8 December 2017 at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria. Discussions centred on how countries can develop integrated long-term pathways towards sustainable land-use and food systems that are consistent with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (including the Sustainable Development Goals) and the Paris Climate Agreement. Scientists representing 16 country and regional teams took part in the meeting and agreed that most countries lack the modelling tools required to undertake an integrated analysis of climate and food policy options on land-use change. Those present committed to support countries in developing and using the required modelling tools by joining the Consortium and agreeing on a programme of work. The first outputs of the FABLE workplan are due in mid-2018.

Country specific analysis will be conducted by country teams comprising eminent research institutions from the nation with the technical support provided by IIASA as needed. The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa (SDGC|A) and other leading research institutions also support the Consortium. Currently, FABLE country and regional teams include: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, the European Union, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Nordic Region, Russia, Rwanda, South Africa and the USA. Thus, covering most G20 economies. Each team and the secretariat will liaise with governments, business, civil society organisations, and other stakeholders to consult on the modelling and ensure that the pathways can inform national and international policy processes.

What next?

The FABLE Consortium is currently creating a simplified Excel modelling tool for country teams to test and use in developing pathways. FABLE teams will populate the tool over the coming months, aiming to deliver initial results by summer 2018, which will offer an indication of how countries can achieve SDGs related to food and land use systems.

A Latin American FABLE meeting in Argentina in March will bring together teams from Argentina, Brazil and Colombia to develop a regional approach and build on existing capacity and knowledge.

A second meeting of the Consortium is planned for June 2018 to take stock of progress and further strengthen the network.

For more information: Please reach out to Guido Schmidt-Traub (guido.schmidt-traub@unsdsn.org ), Executive Director at the Sustainable Development Solutions Network.


Collaborating to drive action in Colombia

The Food and Land Use Coalition is working with a diverse set of developed and developing countries. We seek to accelerate rapid action – from governments, philanthropy and civil society, businesses, international organisations and a range of other groups. The Coalition’s work is adapted to the distinct conditions and challenges of each geography, with shared features including: national science-based targets and long-term pathways, developed by individual country teams of the FABLE Consortium, including local knowledge institutions; an action roadmap for a new food and land use economy, developed in collaboration with policy-makers, that aligns with long-term goals and include key policy and regulatory reforms, investment priorities and funding mechanisms, and new public-private partnerships to drive change through the economy; a financial and investment prospectus to attract capital; support for, and development of, coalitions of action; and persuasive messengers or ambassadors.

Great progress has been made since the FOLU Coalition in-country roadmap team launched work in Colombia in Autumn 2017. The following provides a brief snapshot:

Science-based targets and pathways. As part of the Coalition, the FABLE Consortium is firming up Colombia’s in-country team, which will start on the modelling work shortly. A Latin American FABLE meeting in March will bring together teams from Argentina, Brazil and Colombia to develop a regional approach. The Brazilian team, which is further along in the modelling work, will share its experience on data availability and modelling with the two other countries' modelling experts.  


Roadmaps for a new food and land use economy. Working in close collaboration and consultation with key local stakeholders, the Coalition’s in-country team are hard at work on the first version of an ‘action roadmap’ towards a new food and land use economy, including a policy review and preliminary economic analyses. A stakeholder workshop in Bogotá – bringing together farmers’ representatives, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, private sector leaders and government officials - in late March will act as a critical moment to secure feedback and buy-in on the document and approach. 

Ensuring results take hold. Dr Cristián Samper (CEO, the Wildlife Conservation Society), a FOLU ambassador, has discussed the Coalition’s work with Colombia’s presidential candidates. Plans are in place to engage more with presidential candidates in the lead-up to the presidential elections in May 2018. 

Financial and investment prospectus. Work on a financing plan to correspond to the roadmap will launch in early Summer 2018. This will include recommended subsidy reforms, public and private capital investments, blended finance and more.


Coalitions of action. Work is underway to identify action coalitions to support each leg of the emerging roadmap. For some, action coalitions already exist. For others, additional support will need to be catalyzed. This is the case for food loss and waste (FLW) in Colombia. We are supporting and energizing the work of Desperdicio Cero to drive national efforts to halve food loss and waste by 2030.

The FOLU Coalition is working to gather government leaders, development institutions (e.g., the local FAO team) and companies, including domestic members of the Consumer Goods Forum and World Business Council for Sustainable Development, as well as domestically-headquartered companies. An initial meeting is planned for late March. This will explore the business case for taking FLW seriously, using case studies to demonstrate how and why to measure FLW and how to use this information to realize business benefits. 

The Coalition has engaged with farmers’ associations, consumer groups and social development agencies with a commitment to redistributing surplus food to disadvantaged groups. The Coalition has also begun a dialogue with the team in the Bogotá mayoralty responsible for ensuring that school meals in the capital are healthier, and that less of the food goes to waste.  A similar exchange is underway with the Ministry of Health experts leading Colombia’s efforts to reduce malnutrition and to tackle the country’s growing rates of obesity and diabetes. 

Coalition chair Paul Polman (CEO, Unilever) hosted a successful meeting of CEOs, government ministers and civil society leaders in October 2017, introducing the work of the Coalition to key stakeholders from across sectors, and securing their commitment going forward.

  Paul Polman hosted a successful meeting with key Colombian stakeholders in October, 2017

Paul Polman hosted a successful meeting with key Colombian stakeholders in October, 2017

Meanwhile, scoping work is underway by the in-country team for advancing land use conversion-free commodities (e.g., cocoa) as part of the transition to more sustainable food and land use systems, working with the Tropical Forest Alliance, World Cocoa Foundation, IDH and other partners.

For more information: Please reach out to Craig Hanson (chanson@wri.org), Global Director of Food, Forests & Water at the World Resources Institute.

Food and Land Use Coalition Debuts at United Nations

Food and Land Use Coalition Debuts at United Nations

As part of the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York, experts representing business, government and civil society came together to discuss the challenges facing today’s food and land use system, and the opportunities for solving them. The purpose of the discussion was to present the case for a sustainable transformation of these global systems to meet social, economic and environmental needs, and introduce the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU) as part of the solution.