Agriculture is one of the major indirect drivers of biodiversity loss. Increased food production, as a result of intensive agricultural practices, has an immense impact on terrestrial ecosystems and has led to a decrease in nature’s contributions to people.
A new policy brief released on 4 December by the Center for Biological Diversity, ICLEI and 13 other organizations call on organizers and attendees of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change conference COP25 to take immediate action to reduce planet-warming emissions from food and agriculture.
ICLEI is working through an integrated approach to address this challenge by supporting sustainable agricultural practices and food systems policies within the urban context. The ICLEI-RUAF CITYFOOD NETWORK raises awareness on sustainable and resilient city-region food systems as well as urban and peri-urban agriculture and accelerates local and regional government action by providing network members with a combination of networking, peer-exchange, training, policy and technical guidance. ICLEI is also supporting increased action through CitiesWithNature, a global partnership initiative that recognizes the value of nature in and around cities and provides a platform for cities to share, engage and connect on their commitments to design, plan and work with nature in the urban context.
Together, these initiatives help cities identify innovative solutions to effective resource management, better informing consumption and production, reducing carbon emissions and biodiversity loss through integrated and systemic approaches in the climate-biodiversity-food nexus. Through these initiatives, ICLEI is reshaping city action on agriculture, shifting the focus from food production and food safety to a city-region food system approach that acknowledges the whole value chain. This approach also supports efforts to strengthen circular economy, sustainable consumption and production and integrated low carbon and nature-based solutions while mainstreaming nature-based solutions.
For example, through the BMU-funded INTERACT-Bio project Dar es Salaam, Tanzania worked with ICLEI to reconsider urban agriculture as land use, promoting small-scale organic farming as a nature-based solution to reduce heat island effect. Small-scale organic urban farming also promotes agricultural biodiversity, improves food security and nutrition and improves health as a result of reduced use of pesticides.