Agroecology Futures Regional Forum – supporting the agroecological transition in the Mekong region

Agroecology Futures Regional Forum – supporting the agroecological transition in the Mekong region

On the 6 – 8 November, over 260 participants from 21 nationalities gathered in Siem Reap, Cambodia, to discuss the futures of Agroecology during an unprecedented Regional Forum. The event was co-organised by the General Directorate of Agriculture (GDA) of Cambodia, CIRAD and GRET in a joint effort to promote agroecology.

This “Agroecology Futures” Forum was the biggest event on agroecology in the Mekong Region since the Regional Symposium organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in November 2015, in Bangkok, Thailand.

The objective of the forum was to support a regional dynamic toward an agroecology transition in the Mekong Region, by networking organizations involved in agroecology, disseminating knowledge and strengthening the effort for R4D.

Over 3 days, the participants could learn, share and network through 74 presentations in plenary and parallel sessions, an innovation and knowledge fair (with over 20 booths), a poster session (25 were presented) and a seed swap where more than 60 different plant species were exchanged.

Agroecology being diverse and multidimensional, a broad range of issues were addressed such as the fundamental role of crop biodiversity, the highly preoccupying status of agrochemical use in the region, the need for appropriate-scale machinery, the importance of innovative & participatory intervention mechanisms, the recognition and integration of Indigenous Knowledge, the capacity building of the new generation, the marketing of agroecological products…

A panel discussion bringing together representatives from AFD, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Livelihood Trust Fund (LIFT), the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and the French Embassy highlighted the existing different initiatives for supporting an agroecological transition.

Three main take home messages emerged from all the discussions:

– The importance to invest in Soil Health and Farmer Empowerment,

– The necessity to seek convergence between Land Tenure & Agroecology and co-produce a credible narrative for a smallholder pathway towards agricultural development

– The challenge posed by commodities-based production systems to an agroecological transition.

Lastly, in order to put into practice agroecology, this event was organized in the greener way as possible, choosing an eco-responsible venue, sourcing its coffee and fruits from local organic farms and banning the use of plastic bottles. An assessment of the carbon footprint of the event was carried out and findings can be found here

The biographies of the presenters are available here:

The presentations can be accessed here:

Plenary 1Smallholder farming in ASEAN / Mekong Region: what are we talking about? Mr. Sopheap Pan, Farmer and Nature Net (FNN)

Plenary 2 – Regional networking for promoting Agroecology in South East Asia (ACTAE achievement: CANSEA & ALiSEA) Dr Florent Tivet (CIRAD) & Mr Pierre Ferrand (GRET)

Plenary 3 – Agroecology, commodities and agroecosystems transformation Mr Stéphane Boulakia (CIRAD)

Plenary 4: The State of Land in the Mekong Region Dr Jean Christophe Diépart (Mekong Region Land Governance project)

Plenary 5ASEAN Farmers: Soil Health Champions in Asia Dr. Jesie S. Binamira

Plenary 6 – Historical drivers of land use changes and their impacts on livelihoods in the uplands of Cambodia Mr. Rada Kong (CASC / GDA)

Plenary 7 Blockchain: Investing in global resilience and regeneration with sustainable agro-forestry Mr. Nick Laidlaw (Generation Blue)

Plenary 8: Panel discussion of donors on how to address agroecological transition and how regional networks can facilitate their implementation

Parallel sessions 1 – Agroecology, commodities and agroecosystems transformation – discussing the impacts of main crops on agrarian systems: rice, maize and cassava

Parallel sessions 2 – Innovative intervention mechanisms and tools in support to the agroecological transition

Parallel sessions 3 – Status of agrochemical use in ASEAN and challenges for an agroecological transition

Parallel sessions 4 – Crop Biodiversity: A foundational component of agroecological farming systems

Parallel sessions 5 – Appropriate-scale machinery, Agroecology and Sustainable Intensification

Parallel sessions 6 – Climate Change & Indigenous Knowledge & Agroecology

Parallel sessions 7 – Practical examples for improving soil fertility

Parallel sessions 8 – Examples of participatory process to accompany an agroecological transition

Parallel sessions 9 – Building the new generation of agroecology farmers and promoters (Education, training and Agroecology)

Parallel sessions 10 – Soil management, climate change adaptation and mitigation – Mapping, monitoring, assessing soil ecosystem services and practices to maintain, enhance SOC

Parallel sessions 11 – Bringing agroecological products to the markets – Food safety and quality, certification/recognition of agroecology products, role of consumers

Parallel sessions 12 – Closed session for drafting an informal university network addressing Agroecology

Parallel sessions 13 – Closed session for ALiSEA members to address the future of the network: What priorities to focus on, with which governance modalities?

Parallel sessions 14 – Key topics of R4D for an Agroecological Transition

Additional presentations & Documents

Poster sessions are available here

Proceedings of the forum “Agroecology Futures” is available here

Wrap up presentation of the Forum: