Nature-Based Solutions and Agroecology: Business as Usual or an Opportunity for Transformative Change?

Rachel Wynberg, Michel Pimbert, Nina Isabella Moeller, Georgina McAllister, Rachel Bezner Kerr, Jasber Singh, Mvuselelo Ngcoya

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Abstract

Corinne Mngomezulu, an agroecological farmer in Ingwavuma, South Africa, holds a harvest of pearl millet. Corinne is a member of the Lindizwe Agroecology Farming Group. Agroecology farmers in Ingwavuma are reviving small grains including pearl and finger millets, which are drought tolerant and nutritious grains indigenous to Africa. These grains are being displaced by the hybrid seeds of selected commodity crops in the industrial model of agriculture.

“Nature-based solutions” (NbS) are firmly on the policy table as an approach to address the interconnected crises of biodiversity loss and climate change. At the 26th United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), held in Glasgow in 2021, governments focused on the role that NbS can play in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to harness their potential to store carbon. In 2022, the 27th Climate Change Conference of the Parties, held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, included the term “nature-based solutions” for the first time in a decision of the COP. In a parallel process, the role of NbS in the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework is actively under debate, supported by the recently launched IUCN Global Standard for Nature-Based Solutions that provides an internationally recognized framework to standardize NbS approaches. A 70-country intergovernmental panel for nature and people, drawing on the NbS model, has also called for action to conserve 30% of global land and oceans by 2030 through public and private finance.Footnote1 Industrial food and farming are responsible for an estimated 30% of total greenhouse gas emissions per year due to associated deforestation and land use degradation, the use of intensive, fossil-fuel based fertilizers, and the way in which food is stored, transported, packaged, processed, retailed, and consumed.Footnote2 It is therefore unsurprising that NbS are also embraced by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization for their potential to mitigate these impacts, and for their role in the sustainable production of food.Footnote3 Significantly, food and agriculture systems have taken center stage in the recent climate negotiations at COP27, with NbS continuing to be at the forefront of potential mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-22
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development
Volume65
Issue number1
Early online date11 Jan 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development. Wynberg, R., Pimbert, M., Moeller, N. I., McAllister, G., Bezner Kerr, R., Singh, J., & Ngcoya, M. (2023). Nature-Based Solutions and Agroecology: Business as Usual or an Opportunity for Transformative Change? Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 65(1), 15-22. https://doi.org/10.1080/00139157.2023.2146944.

It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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