This lack of funding risks holding back the transition towards resilient food systems, which is a crucial part of post-pandemic just recovery.
Agroecology is increasingly recognized as crucial to build resilience and address the climate crisis; it is deemed essential for pursuing the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goalsi However, the new report by CIDSE in collaboration with Coventry University “Finance for agroecology: more than just a dream?” reveals that current finances from European and international institutions are reinforcing conventional agriculture while little money goes to agroecology, making the shift difficult to attain.
The study focuses on EU Official Development Assistance (ODA) funds channelled from 2016 to 2018 through the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP). At the same time the study also focusses on the Green Climate Fund (GCF) portfolio, from its creation until December 2019.
The data collected reveals that:
Regarding agricultural projects funded by the EU through FAO, IFAD and WFP
- None of them are supporting transformative agroecology, in other words, looking at a transformation of both agroecosystems and food systems;
- Almost 80 % promote business as usual approaches and efficiency-oriented approaches (such as sustainable intensification);
- 2.7% of the funds refer to projects that represent a first steps towards agroecology.
Regarding agricultural projects funded by the Green Climate Fund
- Almost 80% of the funds are channelled towards programmes and projects promoting business as usual approaches and efficiency-oriented approaches (such as sustainable intensification);
- 10.6% of the money invested in agricultural projects by the GCF supports transformative agroecology;
- 10.1% of the funds flow towards projects that represent a first step towards agroecology.
This is happening in a context where, Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and ‘blending’ finance – mechanisms which rely on partnerships with private sector companies and financial actors – have multiplied but they have proven to focus on industrial agriculture, and their benefits for smallholders have been seriously questioned.
“In the light of this report it is crucial to redirect finance towards agroecology and end funding projects which are detrimental to the transformation of food systems. Without this shift, it simply won’t be possible to ensure the right to food for all in a changing climate.” said Francois Delvaux, CIDSE Agroecology and Food Sovereignty Officer.
The report argues that as prominent public investors, The Green Climate Fund, EU Member States and the European Union have the potential to play a big role in supporting the transformation of our food systems and to finance projects that protect the environment and fight climate change like agroecology does. The Rome-based Agencies (FAO, IFAD and WFP) have also a key role to play in supporting such transformation.
“The data shows that agroecology is still under-funded. A huge potential for change remains untapped” said Nina Moeller, lead researcher from the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) at the Coventry University.
How can financial flows catalyze transformation? This is a vast question that CIDSE and CAWR at Coventry University have started answering through action research and dialogue with various stakeholders. The findings of this research will be released later this year.
Notes to the editors:
Francois Delvaux, CIDSE Agroecology and Food Sovereignty Policy Officer and Nina Moeller, lead researcher from Coventry University, are available for interviews. Media contact: Valentina Pavarotti, firstname.lastname@example.org
-Consult the report for further clarifications on the methodology of the research, additional data and a list of recommendations
-For clarifications on what is agroecology you can consult CIDSE’s Principles of Agroecology
-See also Biovision and IPES-food report “Money Flows: what is holding back investment in agroecological research for Africa?” (June 2020): http://www.ipes-food.org/pages/MoneyFlows
Picture: “Gerardo Germano da Silva harvesting agroecological cotton in Ceará, Brazil” by farmingmatters is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0