Thank you to all those who have registered to attend the BMEL/IASS Conference "Jump-starting the SDGs in Germany: natural resources and sustainable consumption and production" which takes place from the 2-4 May 2016 in Berlin. Registration is now closed but if you are still interested in attending you can register in person at the IASS registration desk which will be located in the andel’s hotel entrance lobby.
Dialogue Forum 1
Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) and the Agenda 2030: complementing or competing?
The Agenda 2030 brings new impetus to global debates on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN). From a conceptual perspective, it is expected that the Agenda 2030 will support moving from concerns stressing Food Security only to Food Sustainability. The later certainly includes food security on its classical definition, that it, the pillars of availability, access, utilization, and stability. Nevertheless, Food Sustainability is also concerned with the environmental integrity and the socio-ecological resilience of our food systems, as well as the need to eliminate rural poverty and reduce socio and power inequalities that shape unsustainable food systems.
From a policy perspective, the Agenda 2030 meets already ongoing initiatives at different levels and organizations. These include global food governance and decision-making reforms pushed by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), to stronger focus on family farming policies found in Latin America. Increasing attention to the nutritional dimension of food security in Europe and elsewhere, and emerging agro-ecological alternatives to face the multiple causes of the world food crisis are also observed. How will the “localization” of the SDGs interact with these political processes? The session will discuss if the Agenda 2030 support and complement these initiatives or if it competes for political emphasis and resources.
Dialogue Forum 2
Consume with care: Food Waste and the Sustainable Development Goals
One-third of all food globally produced gets lost or wasted every year; and if no measures are taken, food waste is projected to rise in the future. Food waste and losses are intolerable at a time where 795 million people are undernourished. The amount of land, soils, water and energy used to produce food that is wasted, and associated unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions, is considerable. Target 12.3 of the SDGs addresses food waste. It states that by 2030 per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels should be halved and food losses along production and supply chains be reduced.
This interactive forum discusses what measures and incentives are required to achieve this target. Focus will be on food waste at the retail and consumer level. Case studies (e.g. on regulatory measures, food redistribution schemes, and best-practices at the retail and consumer level) will examine what measures already exist in developed and developing countries. The forum will also discuss how and what type of partnerships can facilitate the transformation to more sustainable consumption patterns.
Dialogue Forum 3
No 2 without 11: The Urban Side of Food and Nutrition Security
Mainstream approaches frame food insecurity in terms of scarcity and share a productionist assumption that the answer to alleviating hunger is increased agricultural output. The scope of this agenda is however inadequate since it completely ignores the fact that food insecurity is a growing urban phenomenon. There is no systemic attempt to differentiate rural from urban food security and little attention is paid to how urban dwellers will actually access the food, even if it is available. Urban food and nutrition insecurity are strongly connected to household poverty (purchasing power), high unemployment and limited income-generating opportunities, rather than to food supply constraints. Food and nutrition insecurity are strongly linked with the extended urban food systems and their highly standardized and consolidated systems of production and consumption. Easy access to cheap highly processed, low nutrient value food coincides with rising epidemics of obesity and diabetes, often in marginalised communities. This session discusses urban food and nutrition security from an (often ignored) urban perspective and deliberates alternative approaches to overcome the shortfalls of the productionist mainstream while focusing on more systemic issues.
Dialogue Forum 4
Great expectations – soils for sustainable development and climate mitigation
Vegetation and soils store large amounts of carbon, but deforestation, agriculture and other human land use create carbon emissions from the land that push global warming further ahead. Around 30% of global soil carbon has already been lost during the last centuries. Most recent land use change occurred in the tropics which is particularly alarming because clearing land in the tropics emits up to 3 times the amount of carbon per ton of crop production compared to land use change in temperate regions. At the same time, carbon sinks in forests and other intact ecosystems sequester around one third of global carbon emissions and thus provide an important contribution to climate protection.
Various large-scale strategies have been proposed that seek to utilize and further enhance carbon uptake in land ecosystems as part of wider climate mitigation strategies such as enhanced soil carbon sequestration, biochar soil amendment, afforestation/reforestation, bioenergy production, and halting global land degradation.
Successful implementation of any of these strategies requires detailed understanding of local and regional environmental, social, and economic characteristics, because positive and negative impacts, potentials and limitations are context specific and generic statements about single best strategies are misleading.
Furthermore, climate mitigation is but one element of sustainable development pathways. Any large-scale land use strategy can increase competition for land resources and hence come into conflict with other goals of the 2030 Agenda.
In this forum we are going to discuss promising strategies to integrate goals for climate mitigation into the broader sustainable development agenda.
Dialogue Forum 5
Bioenergy: managing expectations, managing tradeoffs of the Agenda 2030
Bioenergy as one of several alternative energy sources to fossil fuels and nuclear is (inter-)nationally perceived to play an important role in realizing sustainable development. Ideally, it could contribute to climate mitigation and rural development. At the same time, bioenergy is currently the only energy source that easily complements fossil fuel use in the transport sector, and provides a stable baseload power. The Agenda 2030 reflects these expectations. It demands, for instance, a doubling of “renewable” energy availability – of which biomass-based bioenergy will take on a significant part - as a way towards achieving more clean energy for all (…). However, a significant number of empirical case studies show that the production and consumption of bioenergy can create environmental and social harms, while a substantial number of companies have also been struggling with economic viability of bioenergy projects. Thus, bioenergy production and consumption might face sustainability trade-offs with other SDGs (e.g., biodiversity, food security, rural development, water footprint).
The session elaborates the role & scope of bioenergy in sustainable development. It aims to foster a discussion of current expectations and actual trends in bioenergy production and consumption. Focal points are sustainability questions of scale, availability, socio-economic development effect, and governance issues.
Dialogue Forum 6
Civil society’s space to support a human rights-based implementation of the 2030 Agenda
The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security represent an unprecedented agreement on principles for responsible governance in the land sector. Their successful implementation needs to build on the multi-stakeholder approach that led to their adoption by the UN Committee on World Food Security in May 2012. This is mirrored by the call of the 2030 Agenda to implement multi-stakeholder partnerships for its implementation and follow up and review. At the same time, the space for civil society to operate is becoming smaller in many countries. What are responses to this trend? How can peer-learning approaches and global reviews on the 2030 Agenda best be used to support civil society in fulfilling its role?
Dialogue Forum 7
A science-policy dialogue on Resource Efficiency and Planetary Boundaries – two complementary approaches for integrated SDG implementation
“The interlinkages and integrated nature of the SDGs are of crucial importance in ensuring that the purpose of the new Agenda is realized” (Transforming our World, The 2030 Agenda)
Integrated implementation of the SDGs means reconciling environment and development related goals and targets, focusing on critical interlinkages, avoiding negative externalities and promoting synergies (“nexus approach”). Resource Efficiency improvements can be instrumental in achieving more (development) with less (environmental pressure), but are not sufficient for complete decoupling, given for example rebound effects. They must be complemented by budget approaches, which set limits to total use of natural resources.
Planetary Boundaries present a global budget approach. Their application has been limited so far to linear downscaling and allocating of global budgets to the national level e.g. on a per-capita basis, not yet accounting for criteria such as fair shares, development needs or the externalization pressures on Planetary Boundaries (footprints) to other countries via trade.
While such downscaled Planetary Boundaries can inform nationally determined contributions (NDCs), similar to those for meeting the global climate target, they don’t provide guidance on implementation. Resource Efficiency improvements are an important implementation measure, others include e.g. transformative (agricultural) production systems and infrastructure, lifestyle changes and sustainable consumption and production, nexus approaches and policy coherence etc.
Usefully applying the two complementary concepts of Resource Efficiency and Planetary Boundaries to integrated SDG implementation requires entry points for science-policy dialogues, such as the ongoing revision of Germany’s Sustainability Strategy or the development of Germany’s Integrated Environment Program or the EU Circular Economy Plan or the EU Resource Efficiency Flagship.
Dialogue Forum 8
From Integration to Nexus – Water Pioneering for Sustainable Development
The Sustainable Development Goals reconcile at the conceptual level the key challenge of effective (fresh-) water governance: even if the main priority in water is the provision of safe drinking water for all, this can only be achieved if natural water resources are managed sustainably. However, what might be referred to as the key task for the “water sector” quickly goes beyond providing drinking water, as several other services such as food or energy provision rely heavily on water as well. It is quickly said – and it has been said often and loud – that water as well as other natural resources underpin the accomplishment of basically every sustainable development goal. It remains a profound challenge, however, to translate this instrumental role natural resources have into policies that ensure their availability (quantity and quality) on a long-term basis. It is a fact that irrespective of their instrumental role, natural resources are on the “receiving end” of political and broader societal processes, which is why the step from a necessary integrated management of natural resources towards a Nexus perspective is so important. Nexus might be best described as a Dialogue among “sectors” in order to understand and finally respond to the different demands for natural and other resources these “sectors” have. As a result, a Nexus perspective will not only help underlining the necessity to apply an integrative view on all the SDGs, in order to avoid that “my” solution will become “your” problem. It will also help using natural resources such as water and soil as promising entry points for implementing the SDGs as a joint “2030 agenda”.