Sustainable Development Goal 2 calls for ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030. Meeting this goal will be crucial to the lives and opportunities of millions. It is crucial that we focus not only on how much we produce, but also how we do it – and how it affects other sustainability goals.
A case in point is Goal 12 on climate. The agricultural sector is one of the largest emitters of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change, accounting for around 20–25% of global emissions. At the same time, agriculture is already strongly affected by climate change – for instance through changing rainfall patterns, rising temperatures, and unpredictable and more extreme weather patterns. Thus, simply intensifying our current farming models will not only make it harder to slow climate change but also make them less productive.
So how can we make food systems more sustainable and resilient? One task is to develop and spread farming methods that keep the health of the larger ecosystem in mind. We can increase crop diversity and choose the right crops that suit better to local conditions. We need to balance competing needs for water from industry, households, farms and ecosystems, manage resources such as plant nutrients and organic matter more efficiently. However, even with technologies in place the goals will not be reached without collaboration and strategic partnerships.
The Swedish International Agriculture Network Initiative (SIANI) was founded in 2008 to address: perceived neglect of the crucial role of the agricultural sector in sustainable development; and the need for policy coherence across government departments and economic sectors, as stipulated in Sweden’s Policy for Global Development (PGD). Today SIANI contributes to enhancing capacity and developing knowledge and understanding across sectors and disciplines, guided by the principles of the PGD. Connecting members from 127 countries, SIANI aims to help the Swedish resource base to contribute to realizing Agenda 2030, with a specific focus on sustainable agriculture for food security, nutrition and ending hunger.
Madeleine Fogde is Programme Director at SIANI and will speak at the Sustainable Development Forum 2016, held on the topic Food and Climate and in Tallinn on the 8th of November 2016. Follow Madeleine on Twitter @MadeleineFogde
Originally written for the Development Policy News magazine (Arengupoliitika teataja) published in Estonian by Mondo.