ACSD2016 saw 264 participants coming from 41 countries
and from a variety of research institutions, development organizations and private sector enterprises to discuss about the role of agricultural value chains in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 5 plenary and 15 parallel sessions hosted a broad range of debates, focused on the three conference themes: evaluation, governance and public policies, and innovation and partnerships.
Discussions held during the three days laid on the recognition that the international community has a renewed and incredibly ambitious global agenda for development, which aims to deliver concrete results on the pressing global challenges in the 15 years to come.
Debates underlined how food systems are at the heart of this global agenda for sustainable development and how the successful delivery in key sectors- such as environment, health, wellbeing, peace, social cohesion and employment - depends on their radical transformation. There is still a major gap between the aspirations embodied in the SDGs and our production and consumption patterns as well as our policy-making practices.
In this framework, agricultural value chains can be a considerable tool for action, useful to think and enact transitions towards sustainability. Nowadays the momentum for radical change in agricultural value chains is huge and the scientific community is highly called upon to support public and private actors in their efforts to promote sustainability. To respond to this call, the scientific community needs to transform its own modus operandi and its conceptions: it must engage further in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research programs and it must foster effective partnerships within a variety of food systems.
Through a comprehensive definition of agri-chains - that meaningfully comprises input sourcing and food consumption practices - we can identify tradeoffs and nexuses among different SDGs. Also, by shedding light on emerging governance practices along these chains and on the underlying power relations, we can “make visible the invisible” and advice policy makers and the wide public on the best options for collective action. Furthermore, by researching the “invisible”, i.e. the numerous successful innovative practices and arrangements along less studied and observed agri-chains, we can give voice and relevance to new models of development and support their scaling out and mainstreaming.