The Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land-Use, and Energy (FABLE) Consortium recently published its second global report analyzing pathways for 20 countries to develop sustainable land-use and food systems.
The FABLE Consortium is convened as part of the Food and Land-Use Coalition (FOLU), a community of organizations and individuals committed to transforming the food system. Teams of researchers from 20 different countries make up the consortium. Each team develops the data and infrastructure to create food system solutions specific to their country.
In the report, Pathways to Sustainable Land-Use and Food Systems, FABLE takes the aggregate data and proposes frameworks for countries to meet the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the objectives of the Paris Agreement, such as the 2°C climate target.
“Our main objective is to show how integrated long-term pathways can support countries in their efforts to meet mid-century objectives on food security, climate mitigation, and biodiversity conservation,” Aline Mosnier, FABLE Scientific Director, tells Food Tank. “Our findings suggest that this is possible but will require profound and rapid transformation of countries’ food and land-use systems.”
The report notes that conventional practices cannot continue — land-use and food systems are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Agriculture is also the main global driver of biodiversity loss.
Its conclusions are informed by tools like the open-access, custom-built FABLE Calculator. Helping to connect the scientific and policy communities, the open-source calculator is an Excel accounting tool used to study the potential evolution of food and land-use systems.
Each of the countries featured in the report span six continents and produce a wide range of agricultural products. The countries, which include Sweden, Germany, Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, India, and Malaysia are ones that “represent a mix of major economies with large populations and territories that play a crucial role in the global trade of agricultural commodities — and that contribute to a large share of the pressures caused by unsustainable land-use and food systems,” Mosnier adds.
Jordan Poncet, FABLE Manager and report editor explains that after the success of the first report, they are hopeful that this new report will be as impactful.
“Many of our countries use their pathways to engage with stakeholders to support country-level policy processes and capacity building,” Poncet tells Food Tank about the first report. “[The pathways] are a tool for facilitating transparent dialogues on how national pathways for sustainable land-use and food systems could support both national objectives and internationally agreed objectives.”
The FABLE Argentina team, for example, is using the original FABLE tools and pathways to support policy creation. And the FABLE UK team is working collaboratively with stakeholders in the food system to refine the pathways in ways that benefit everyone’s needs.
With the second report, groups like FABLE Colombia now hope to build national, comprehensive policies addressing both nutrition and sustainability, which Colombia currently lacks.
“The current national dietary guidelines promote consumption of meat and dairy products as part of a nutritional diet,” Efraín Dominguez of Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, head of the FABLE Colombia team, tells Food Tank. “However, it does not consider sustainable aspects, evidencing the limited understanding of the relationships between the different components of the food and land-use systems.
The Colombian government can also use the report as it begins efforts to update the National Policy on Water Resource management. Dominguez says that it can help policy makers account for the agricultural sector’s impact on this water management.
The FABLE Consortium is also excited by the report’s ability to show governments and researchers how their decisions will impact other countries as well as their own.
“This allows us to measure how close we are to achieving certain global targets, such as the 2°C climate target, while also ensuring that trade is balanced globally. This is one of the aspects of our work that we feel sets us apart from other analyses that look at countries in isolation,” Mosnier tells Food Tank.
Photo courtesy of Aldrin Rachman Pradana, Upsplash.