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What Does Sustainable Development Look Like?

Increasing resource use efficiency, reducing the use of fossil fuels and reducing environmental degradation are key components of the Save and Grow approach. This can save money for farmers and prevent the environmental damage caused by the overuse of some inputs. This approach, which was developed for crop production, has been extended to other agriculture sectors. Both the sustainable intensification and climate-smart agriculture also pay particular attention to analysing trade-offs of different options. In sustainable intensification approaches, this may involve the trade-offs between intensification in one part of the landscape or globe, which may increase emissions and have other impacts on land sparing or land cover change in other areas or regions.

Trade-off analyses would involve understanding which practice is more beneficial for which objective and in what context; and exploring policy and market mechanisms that enhance sharing or sparing initiatives. Agroecology applies ecological concepts and principles to farming systems HLPE, Through its focus on the interactions between plants, animals, and the environment, and the integration of the different agricultural sectors, it fosters sustainable agricultural development, which in turn ensures food security and nutrition.

Agroecology goes beyond input use efficiency and input substitution. It harnesses key ecological processes, such as natural pest predation and the recycling of biomass and nutrients, to enhance the beneficial biological interactions and synergies among the components of agricultural biodiversity.

Agroecological principles, as defined by Nicholls, Altieri and Vazquez , are particularly important for climate change adaptation. Agroecology does not promote a fixed set of farming practices or technologies. It stresses the importance of the specificity of local environmental conditions, and posits that local farming communities are be best placed for identifying functional ecological strategies to improve farming systems. Agroecology was initially focused on building knowledge on the use and value of ecosystem services in agriculture, even though the term 'ecosystem services' was not in use at that time.

Agroecology is by nature climate-smart, as it contributes to the three objectives of climate-smart agriculture.

Many climate smart projects are implementing practices based on agroecological principles. SFVC development requires systemic analyses at three inter-connected levels: the core value chain, the extended value chain, and the broader enabling environment. The sustainability of the value chain plays out simultaneously along three dimensions: economic, social and environmental. On the economic dimension, a value chain is considered sustainable if the activities required to be conducted by each value chain actor or support provider are commercially or fiscally viable. On the social dimension, sustainability refers to socially and culturally acceptable outcomes in terms of fair distribution of the benefits and costs associated with the increased value creation.

On the environmental dimension, sustainability is determined by the ability of value chain actors to reduce and eliminate negative environmental impacts from their activities; and where possible, they should have a positive impact. The SFVC approach provides a framework to effectively address food security challenges in the context of climate change. First and foremost, its triple bottom line principle of economic, social and environmental sustainability is directly linked to three pillars of climate-smart agriculture.

In fact, there are many similarities between the two approaches. Both approaches focus on increasing productivity, profitability and incomes, as clearly stated in the first pillar of climate-smart agriculture. The SFVC approach upholds market-based solutions that start from market opportunities, and focuses particularly on how value is captured at end markets. One main difference between the two approaches, though, is that SFVC looks at broader environmental impacts e. Through its emphasis on a multi-layer approach to problem analysis, the SFVC framework can complement climate-smart agriculture to broaden the frame of analysis, expose root causes of the greenhouse gas emissions, and identify the most feasible and critical entry points to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

It embraces systems thinking in that rather than looking at isolated value chain functions, such as production or processing, it aims for a holistic understanding of their interactions, feedback loops and how they together affect systems dynamics. Under the SFVC framework, often there are multiple binding constraints to improving value chain performance that do not only lie in chain itself, but also beyond the chain in outer layers such as support services and the wider enabling environment.

Last but not least, the SFVC approach calls for integrated interventions along all three aforementioned levels, rather than at each level separately.

What is Sustainable Development?

A major challenge to the adoption of climate-smart agriculture at the national level is the need to overcome sectoral boundaries and enhance synergies while minimizing trade-offs between climate-related and other policy objectives. Through a multi-stakeholder process that employs systems thinking, the SFVC approach helps in moving from reactive to proactive policies, and in mobilizing expertise from different disciplines and stakeholders- both public and private, at local and national levels- in the design and implementation of climate-smart agricultu.

Introducing Climate-Smart Agriculture. A1 - Overview A1 - 1 Sustainability, food security and climate change: three intertwined challenges A1 - 2 Climate-smart agriculture A1 - 3 Climate-smart agriculture implementation in agricultural production systems and food systems A1 - 4 Enabling environment for climate-smart agriculture: policies, institutions and finances A1 - 5 CSA in the broader development agenda A1 - Conclusions A1 - Acknowledgments A1 - Acronyms A1 - References.

CSA in the broader development agenda.

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Box A1. Modifying current practices can do much to improve the productivity of many food and agricultural production systems. Direct action to conserve, protect and enhance natural resources — Food and agricultural production depends on natural resources and therefore the sustainability of production depends on the sustainability of the resources themselves. Much can be done to reduce negative impacts and enhance the status of natural resources. Protect rural livelihoods and improve equity and social well-being - Ensuring that producers have adequate access to and control of productive resources, and addressing the gender gap, can contribute significantly to reducing poverty and food insecurity in rural areas.

Enhance the resilience of people, communities and ecosystems, especially to climate change and market volatility - Extreme weather events, market volatility and civil strife impair the stability of agriculture. Responsible and effective governance is essential for the sustainability of both the natural and human systems - This includes policies and strategies that are consistent across sectors, alignment of legal frameworks and investments, and strengthening of capacities of institutions and relevant stakeholders at all levels.

It is based on stakeholder dialogue, partnerships, and the application of mechanisms aimed at building consensus around sustainable development objectives. Other human impacts on the atmosphere include the air pollution in cities, the pollutants including toxic chemicals like nitrogen oxides , sulfur oxides , volatile organic compounds and airborne particulate matter that produce photochemical smog and acid rain , and the chlorofluorocarbons that degrade the ozone layer.

Anthropogenic particulates such as sulfate aerosols in the atmosphere reduce the direct irradiance and reflectance albedo of the Earth 's surface.

Global dimming may have disturbed the global water cycle by reducing evaporation and rainfall in some areas. It also creates a cooling effect and this may have partially masked the effect of greenhouse gases on global warming.


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Reforestation is one of the ways to stop desertification fueled by anthropogenic climate change and non sustainable land use. One of the most important projects is the Great Green Wall that should stop the expansion of Sahara desert to the south. Of this, The remaining freshwater is found in glaciers, lakes, rivers, wetlands, the soil, aquifers and atmosphere. Due to the water cycle, fresh water supply is continually replenished by precipitation, however there is still a limited amount necessitating management of this resource. Awareness of the global importance of preserving water for ecosystem services has only recently emerged as, during the 20th century, more than half the world's wetlands have been lost along with their valuable environmental services.

Increasing urbanization pollutes clean water supplies and much of the world still does not have access to clean, safe water. Ocean circulation patterns have a strong influence on climate and weather and, in turn, the food supply of both humans and other organisms. Scientists have warned of the possibility, under the influence of climate change, of a sudden alteration in circulation patterns of ocean currents that could drastically alter the climate in some regions of the globe.

Loss of biodiversity stems largely from the habitat loss and fragmentation produced by the human appropriation of land for development, forestry and agriculture as natural capital is progressively converted to man-made capital. Land use change is fundamental to the operations of the biosphere because alterations in the relative proportions of land dedicated to urbanisation , agriculture , forest , woodland , grassland and pasture have a marked effect on the global water, carbon and nitrogen biogeochemical cycles and this can impact negatively on both natural and human systems.


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Present-day forests occupy about a quarter of the world's ice-free land with about half of these occurring in the tropics. Food is essential to life. Feeding more than seven billion human bodies takes a heavy toll on the Earth's resources. Environmental problems associated with industrial agriculture and agribusiness are now being addressed through such movements as sustainable agriculture, organic farming and more sustainable business practices. The underlying driver of direct human impacts on the environment is human consumption.

The Myth of "Environmental Sustainability" - Justin Mog - TEDxUofL

Consumption of goods and services can be analysed and managed at all scales through the chain of consumption, starting with the effects of individual lifestyle choices and spending patterns, through to the resource demands of specific goods and services, the impacts of economic sectors, through national economies to the global economy.

The ideas of embodied resource use the total resources needed to produce a product or service , resource intensity , and resource productivity are important tools for understanding the impacts of consumption. Key resource categories relating to human needs are food , energy , materials and water. In , the International Resource Panel , hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP , published the first global scientific assessment on the impacts of consumption and production [] and identified priority actions for developed and developing countries.

The study found that the most critical impacts are related to ecosystem health, human health and resource depletion. From a production perspective, it found that fossil-fuel combustion processes, agriculture and fisheries have the most important impacts. Meanwhile, from a final consumption perspective, it found that household consumption related to mobility, shelter, food and energy-using products cause the majority of life-cycle impacts of consumption.

The Sun's energy, stored by plants primary producers during photosynthesis , passes through the food chain to other organisms to ultimately power all living processes. Since the industrial revolution the concentrated energy of the Sun stored in fossilized plants as fossil fuels has been a major driver of technology which, in turn, has been the source of both economic and political power. Reducing greenhouse emissions, is being tackled at all scales, ranging from tracking the passage of carbon through the carbon cycle [] to the commercialization of renewable energy , developing less carbon-hungry technology and transport systems and attempts by individuals to lead carbon-neutral lifestyles by monitoring the fossil fuel use embodied in all the goods and services they use.

Water security and food security are inextricably linked. In the decade —60 human water withdrawals were four times greater than the previous decade. This rapid increase resulted from scientific and technological developments impacting through the economy —especially the increase in irrigated land, growth in industrial and power sectors, and intensive dam construction on all continents.