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Central and Eastern Europe: Impact of Food Retail Investments on the Food Chain

Report N. 7 - February 2005









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    Report on monitoring schemes and data collection on biodiversity for food and agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia 2021
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    Biodiversity protection encompasses key aspects directly related to the sustainability of our food systems: BFA provides a diverse and heterogenous biological basis for diverse and resilient production systems, for the pollination of cultures, for increased diversity of food, and is strongly linked to local and indigenous knowledge on local crops and breeds acknowledged as cultural heritage. This study examines the existence of data collection, monitoring systems, and conservation initiatives as well as legislation and policies related to biodiversity for food and agriculture in the three following regions: (1) Central Asia, (2) the South Caucasus countries, Turkey, Belarus and Ukraine and (3) the Western Balkan countries and the Republic of Moldova. From this study, it appears that none of the three studied regions currently have any solid monitoring schemes for agricultural biodiversity, nor do they have a strong legal framework for protecting farmers’ rights to seeds that would allow them, amongst other things, to maintain biodiversity. Conservation actions, policies, and legislation generally concern wild biodiversity conservation (through habitat protection) and crop genetic resources conservation but rarely address biodiversity for food and agriculture or wild biodiversity loss caused by food systems. The three regional reports conducted in the framework of this study reported a general lack of capacities and a particularly low level of involvement of farmers and other food producers in monitoring, data collection, and conservation activities. The combination of these two major observations leads us to the conclusion that the governance of BFA should be transformed to put food producers at the centre of biodiversity monitoring and conservation, in dialogue with scientists and institutional actors. Their specific expertise must be acknowledged and valued in the efforts of preserving the biodiversity that they cultivate and sustain. Beyond this needed shift in the governance of monitoring activities, we highlight the necessity of a regional articulation of monitoring efforts and a specific focus on local threatened varieties and breeds (beyond habitat conservation), while very comprehensively considering BFA and wild biodiversity impacted by food systems. Regarding biodiversity protection, we recommend – in addition to farmer-centered data collection and monitoring system implementation – addressing the root causes of biodiversity loss, adopting a systematic approach in legislations, policies, and actions while supporting agroecology, and fulfilling international instruments that guarantee the rights of producers to grow and raise local varieties and breeds.
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    Groundwater governance and the water-energy-food nexus in action: a global review of policy and practice
    SOLAW21 Technical background report
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    The dominance of insular, supply-side technocratic thinking has posed a major challenge to improving water governance in the face of mounting resource scarcity, which has itself been accentuated by climate change. During the 1990s, global discourse moved from supply-driven sectoral interventions to more holistic approaches to water governance as part of larger socioeconomic and environmental processes. Integrated water resources management (IWRM) emphasized demand-side water management and used prices, participation, entitlements, laws and regulations to strengthen water governance at hydrological rather than territorial units. More recently, there have been pleas for more integrative approaches that link land, water, energy, food, livelihoods, the environment and other spheres – each with its own, often insular, governance structure. The evolution in global thinking reflects the need to meet growing human needs by innovating approaches that enhance resilience and the sustainability of landscapes, the biosphere and the Earth as a whole. To this end, the water–energy–food (WEF) nexus advocates that society is better off seeking system-level balance rather than maximizing sectoral objectives. The nexus approach has produced prolific analytical literature over the past decade but integrating it into policy and governance faces many challenges. This review paper explores these challenges by focusing on the WEF nexus in action. We compare the nexus in several water-stressed areas of the world including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, China, Bangladesh and Gujarat (India), with additional evidence drawn from other places such as Morocco and Punjab-Haryana. We synthesize these case studies to examine the actual state of play in different locations and tease out practical lessons for mainstreaming nexus thinking in water policy and governance. The key conclusion is that specific contexts, contingencies and constituencies drive national and sub-national policies. Directing the outcomes towards the optimal nexus depends on the nature of the state, investment in institution building and, above all, ingenuity in policy design and implementation to overcome resistance to change and strengthen political capital for the leaders who back such policies.
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    Food, Agriculture and Cities. Challenges of Food and Nutrition Security, Agriculture and Ecosystem Management in an Urbanizing World 2011
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    Urbanization is one of the key drivers of change in the world today. The world‟s urban population currently stands at around 3.5 billion. It will almost double to more than 6 billion by 2050. This is a challenge not only for urban areas but also for rural areas, because many people, especially the young, will migrate from rural areas to urban areas over this period. When addressing urbanization challenges, we are also addressing, directly or indirectly, rural and territorial development. What do we have to do to ensure people‟s access to good nutrition in cities? What do we have to do to produce enough food for urban dwellers? What infrastructures are needed and what kind of food production is possible in cities? How can cities preserve the services of the surrounding ecosystems? A very wide range of important issues links urbanization and food security. The “Food for the Cities” multidisciplinary initiative started in FAO in the year 2000. It has covered a great variety of areas such as food supply, nutrition education, school gardens, urban and peri-urban agriculture and forestry; how to support small producers in urban and peri-urban areas, waste management and re-use of wastewater. The experience shows conclusively that we all need to work in partnership when addressing issues of urbanization and food security, from the public sector, the private sector and civil society. Local authorities are key players in this context, however, urban actors have often not considered th e food system an important issue when designing, planning and managing cities. The perception has been because food is there and one can easily buy it in the supermarkets or along the streets, that food will always be there. This perception was altered for many in 2008, when the food prices peaked. More than 20 countries around the world experienced food riots in urban areas. Hunger, now in both rural and urban areas, has now become vocal, and this is changing the political scene. All stakeholde rs need to work together at global and local levels, for advocacy, for project implementation, but also for raising awareness on urbanization and food security as one of the key issues of our times. This position paper addresses a wide audience, from field workers to decision makers, to help understand the challenges that continuing urbanization brings to food, agriculture, and the management of natural resources. The approach proposed here is based on four dimensions that characterize, design a nd implement food systems for cities. The paper has been prepared as a support for all actors to help advocate for political support and to assist in developing operational strategies adapted to local realities. Food and nutrition security in cities can not be taken for granted. It is part of a complex system. Supporting the most vulnerable groups in an urbanizing world demands discussions on food, agriculture and cities in the context of rural-urban linkages.

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