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An ecosystem services approach to water and food security

This approach calls for a fundamental shift in perspective and a deeper understanding of the enormous economic importance of ecosystems and the broad suite of services they provide. For example, well-managed agroecosystems not only provide food, fiber and animal products, they also generate services such as flood mitigation, groundwater recharge, erosion control and habitats for plants, birds, fish and other animals. It also requires intersectoral collaboration, because only then can policies and practices change. The overarching recommendation of this synthesis is that future sustainability requires an integrated approach to managing multipurpose agroecosystems in a landscape or river basin setting. These ecosystems—whether they are wetlands or forests, arid pastoral lands or rice fields— represent the future of food security and resilience against shocks while offering a way towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and beyond. This synthesis report does not come in isolation. It is also a contribution to UNEP’s wider work and partnerships on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) and a transition to a lowcarbon, resource-efficient Green Economy. Together they are all part of the urgency to evolve the sustainable development agenda forged in a previous century to reflect the new challenges and also the emerging opportunities of the 21st century. [authors abstract]

TitleAn ecosystem services approach to water and food security
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsCarriger, S., Boelee, E., Chiramba, T., Khaka, E.
Pagination64 p.; ill.; 5 fig.; 3 boxes; photographs
Date Published2011-01-01
PublisherUNEP, United Nations Environment Programme
Place PublishedNairobi, Kenya
ISSN Number9789280731521
Keywordsecology, food, food industry
Abstract

This approach calls for a fundamental shift in perspective and a deeper understanding of the enormous economic importance of ecosystems and the broad suite of services they provide. For example, well-managed agroecosystems not only provide food, fiber and animal products, they also generate services such as flood mitigation, groundwater recharge, erosion control and habitats for plants, birds, fish and other animals. It also requires intersectoral collaboration, because only then can policies and practices change. The overarching recommendation of this synthesis is that future sustainability requires an integrated approach to managing multipurpose agroecosystems in a landscape or river basin setting. These ecosystems—whether they are wetlands or forests, arid pastoral lands or rice fields— represent the future of food security and resilience against shocks while offering a way towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and beyond. This synthesis report does not come in isolation. It is also a contribution to UNEP’s wider work and partnerships on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) and a transition to a lowcarbon, resource-efficient Green Economy. Together they are all part of the urgency to evolve the sustainable development agenda forged in a previous century to reflect the new challenges and also the emerging opportunities of the 21st century. [authors abstract]

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