The Ecoagriculture Discussion Paper
After a month of exploring climate change and all its facets in relation to agriculture and land use, it’s clear that the challenges are great but so is the possibility for solutions. At the Global Landscapes Forum mid-month, leaders and experts in the field called for re-visioning agriculture, its mode of development, and its trajectory forward in the face of a changing climate. There was also increasing recognition that this cannot be a solo or siloed affair, and that partnerships and cooperation are essential to make the considerable and complex shifts needed. Researcher Fiona McKenzie joins the Landscape Blog again to flesh out how this collaboration can actually be achieved – the topic of the newest Ecoagriculture Discussion Paper.
We’ve all seen the statistics – the grim reality on the state of our planet and our agricultural and food systems. They are the kind of numbers that leave us with a dose of anxiety and a sense of urgency about how much needs to be done right now. But what seems clear and urgent on paper can quickly become muddled in reality. Inspiration gets replaced by frustration and what seemed like logical steps become mountainous obstacles in the face of resistance and apathy around us. Trying to fix the numbers, improve the system and shift us to a more sustainable trajectory is hard, and sometimes heart-breaking, work.
In this context, the latest paper in the Ecoagriculture Discussion Paper Series explores the possibilities of taking cross-sectoral collaborative action to break away from business-as-usual. Pathways to collaborative action: transforming agricultural, land and food systems shows how the complexity of the sustainability challenges makes cross-sectoral collaboration so essential. It highlights how complex non-linear linkages exist between food, agricultural, and land systems. It argues that if we are to effectively operate in this nexus, then we need to seriously reconsider the way we work together.
This paper therefore explores the question of ‘how’ to collaborate, and options for improving the effectiveness of cross-sectoral collaborations. A useful guide as well as a call to action, issues are covered such as structure, governance, institutional barriers, the need to create the space for innovation, the ability to manage conflict and compromise, and the time it takes to create trust among participants.