Stakeholder engagement and preparation for the 2020 FABLE report

The UK, Mexico, Russia and Colombia country teams of the Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land-Use, and Energy (FABLE) Pathways Consortium recently engaged with national stakeholders using the FABLE tools to support policymaking.

The Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land-Use, and Energy (FABLE) Pathways Consortium which is part of the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU) published its first report in 2019. Since then, the report and individual country chapters were used by FABLE country teams as a resource for local stakeholder engagement around the need for integrated long term food and land use systems.

In particular, they showcased FABLE tools, notably the open-access FABLE Calculator, a decision support tool to calculate the trade-offs of different strategies to achieve sustainability of food and land use systems, as well as more advanced spatially explicit partial-equilibrium tools, such as IIASA’s Global Biosphere Management Model (GLOBIOM) and PIK’s Model of Agricultural Production and its Impact on the Environment (MAgPIE) models. During their interactions with stakeholders, the country teams highlighted how the FABLE integrated analytical framework and tools can be used to support decision-making and trade-offs in FABLE domains.

The analysis relies in particular on three pillars for integrated land-use and food systems must be assessed in the context of integrated land-use planning and sustainable international supply chains: 1) efficient and resilient agriculture systems, 2) conservation and restoration of biodiversity, and 3) food security and healthy diets.

Three pillars for integrated land-use and food systems (Schmidt-Traub et al., 2019).

In October 2019, the FABLE UK country team, hosted by the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH) and the University of Oxford (Oxford Martin School and the Environmental Change Institute), organised a stakeholder forum. The forum was attended by experts from the Natural Environment Research Council, the Committee on Climate Change, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Scottish and Welsh Governments, and additional public and research institutions.

The exchanges focused on how FABLE could address the UK’s policy needs and stakeholders found that the integrated modeling of trade with land-use and environmental targets to be a major strength of FABLE, as it could be used to explore the links between the UK and global emissions reduction ambitions. In particular, FABLE could potentially become part of a toolkit for policy exploration of the trade-offs and challenges associated with the high levels of land-use change that would be needed to deliver the UK’s net-zero emission target.

The forum also identified priorities for enhancing the FABLE Calculator —including improving the modeling of biodiversity and distinguishing between different types of afforestation—and explored options for further collaboration. Since the forum, the team has continued consulting stakeholders to improve its scenario assumptions, in particular to build the different UK pathways for the 2020 FABLE report which is to be published in June 2020. FABLE-UK is also working with sub-national governments on how to apply the analysis at local regional scale.

In June 2019, the FABLE Russia country team, hosted by the Russian Presidential Academy of Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), attended a scientific workshop in Moscow on methods and tools to support agri-food policy-making. The FABLE Russia team presented how the Russian version of the FABLE Calculator can forecast, among other features, the trade balance of food and agricultural products, the dynamics of change in arable and pasture land, and greenhouse gas emissions. The Russian team is currently refining its regional analysis using GLOBIOM-Russia and discussing related soil and climate issues with national experts. FABLE’s analytical framework will be particularly useful to help bridge the gap between the domains of climate change and agriculture that are currently being considered in separate manner at the national level.

RANEPA’s scientific workshop on the research and development of mathematical and statistical models for agri-food policy. Copyright: RANEPA.

The official launch of the work undertaken by the FABLE Mexico country team, which includes experts from the University of California San Diego (UCSD), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), El Colegio de México, and Universidad de Guanajuato (UGTO), took place in November 2019. During a first roundtable, the World Resources Institute (WRI) Mexico and other public stakeholders from governmental institutions in charge of the national environmental agenda explored the challenges of achieving a sustainable Mexican land-use system. The Mexican FABLE team also introduced its vision of future pathways for Mexico and demonstrated the utility of FABLE’s analytical tools to support governmental policy planning, for instance the Nationally Determined Contribution.

Among other activities, the team is currently working with the National Institute of Public Health on inputting the government’s dietary guidelines into the FABLE Calculator. They have also started working with the Department of Agricultural and Rural Development to analyze public policies in the agricultural sector, especially to assess agriculture’s impact on the environment using the FABLE pillars and tools. Besides, the team continues to consult stakeholders about their scenarios and assumptions in preparation of the 2020 FABLE Report.

FABLE-Mexico launch poster. Copyright: SDSN Mexico

The FABLE Colombia country team from Pontifica Universided Javeriana participated in the Colombian launch of FOLU’s Growing Better report in Bogota on November 26. The team also took part in a workshop on sustainable livestock from the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture, which was highly relevant for the team as it included a component on scenarios and associated strategies which will be used for the 2020 FABLE Report.

The team highlighted that it is very important for Colombia to address the issues of agriculture, forestry, and other land-use (AFOLU) in an integrated manner as they cause the highest quantity of GHG emissions in the country, and any action in this sector will have an impact on the country’s commitments to the Paris Agreement. FABLE Colombia is currently working on identifying key stakeholders that can help refine scenarios and assumptions for the Colombian pathways including for the 2020 FABLE Report.

FOLU Colombia launch in Bogota. Copyright: FOLU Colombia

These are a few examples of FABLE’s overall aim to provide analysis and recommendations for long-term pathways that can support national and international policy processes. The FABLE Consortium is a great platform for country teams to share best practices. Building on these successful events and meetings, other country teams are already planning their next engagements with national actors from the food and land-use sectors.