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Publication | 4 January 2021

The potential of agroecology to build climate-resilient livelihoods and food systems

Global Food and Nutrition Security

Climate change has severe negative impacts on livelihoods and food systems worldwide. To address this to its full extent, there is an urgent need for transformational change of our food systems towards more sustainability and resilience. Agroecology could play a vital role here. The overall research question of this study was: How can agroecology foster climate change adaptation, mitigation and resilience through practices and policies?

The main findings of the study are:

  • Robust scientific evidence demonstrates that agroecology increases climate resilience.
  • More than ten percent of the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) by UNFCCC member states mention agroecology and consider it a valid approach to address climate change.
  • The interdisciplinary and systemic nature of agroecology is key for its true transformational power.

The key recommendations from this study are:

  • Given the sound knowledge base, fostering agroecology to build resilience should be recognized as a viable climate change adaptation strategy.
  • Barriers to the scaling-up of agroecology need to be addressed: amongst others, improved access to knowledge and understanding of systemic approaches should be fostered across sectors, stakeholders and scales.
  • Further comparative research on the multidimensional effects of agroecology is needed.
  • Agroecology’s transformative resilience-building potential depends on its holistic and systemic nature which goes beyond a set of practices and includes: a social movement for producers’ empowerment and a multidisciplinary scientific paradigm.