Budapest hosts UN-led agroecology symposium


A symposium on agroecology for sustainable food and agriculture led by the UNʼs Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) opened in Budapest today, hosting decision-makers, experts, civil organizations and others for three days of discussions on the public-minded concept of agroecology, according to a press statement sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

(Photo: FAO/Attila Kisbenedek) 

Nearly 200 participants from over 40 countries across Europe and Central Asia will examine current practices in agriculture and food systems, identify areas that need innovation or improvement, and consider how agroecology can be scaled up and help countries achieve globally accepted Sustainable Development Goals, the statement noted.

Agroecological farming considers interactions between natural and human systems to optimize ecosystem services that sustain food production such as nutrient cycling, natural regulation of pests, soil and water conservation, and carbon sequestration, the statement explained.  The aim is to develop food systems that are more sustainable and resilient, and that reduce or eliminate the need for external inputs such as herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers, as well as to stabilize yields, supporting family farmers in particular and strengthening the economic viability of rural areas.

“I am particularly pleased to open this Symposium . . . after just having returned from Marrakech, where I participated in COP 22,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, referring to the UNʼs climate change conference in Morocco. “There is an increasing recognition of the importance of agriculture and food systems for sustainable development. Investing in sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture is fundamental. Agriculture can help us tackle climate change, poverty and food insecurity at the same time. Agroecology can be a concrete option in addressing these challenges,” he added.

“Agroecology is key in ensuring sustainable growth,” said Hungarian Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas in his opening statement. “It is a prerequisite for sustainable agriculture, protection of biodiversity, sustainable natural resource management and supporting rural development.”

Fazekas added that the main goal of the symposium is to bring together knowledge and experience already available among experts. It also aims at identifying government initiatives and starting to identify key entry points for agroecology in national and common European policies, the statement added.

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