A Declaration for Harvesting Her Power: African Women Leading Agroecological Transformation
We, the participants of the African Women Agroecology Expo, convened in Kampala, Uganda, on November 24, 2023, representing a diverse group of over 200 women from various African nations, united in our commitment to agroecology as a pathway to sustainable and regenerative food systems.
Agroecology is defined as an integrated approach that simultaneously applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management of food and agricultural systems. Thirteen consolidated agroecological principles include: recycling; input reduction; soil health; animal health; biodiversity; synergy; economic diversification; co-creation of knowledge; social values and diets; fairness; connectivity; land and natural resource governance and participation.
We Recognize that agroecology offers a holistic approach to farming that respects the environment, promotes biodiversity, and ensures food sovereignty,
Acknowledging the crucial role of women in agroecology and their often-underappreciated contributions to agroecological knowledge and practices, food security, nutrition, and sustainable development,
Affirming our dedication to fostering collaboration, knowledge sharing, and capacity-building among women in agroecology to create resilient and thriving agroecological systems in Africa,
We hereby declare our commitment to the following principles and actions within the realm of agroecology:
We pledge to champion agroecological practices that prioritize sustainable and regenerative farming methods, minimize the use of synthetic chemicals, and emphasize the conservation of biodiversity within agroecological systems. As part of this commitment, we recognize the importance of empowering women in agroecology. We commit to providing them with the necessary resources, training, and support to actively participate in decision-making processes and take leadership roles in promoting agroecological practices.
In addition to our dedication to agroecological practices, we firmly commit to promoting food sovereignty a fundamental right through agroecology in Africa. This commitment extends beyond simply ensuring access to food; it involves advancing agroecological approaches that enhance the resilience of local agroecological food systems and ensure equitable access to nourishing and culturally relevant agroecological food for all.
Recognizing that Agroecology is a pathway to climate change and mitigation, we urgently need to institutionalize agriculture within the UNFCCC by recognizing the importance of agriculture to climate change, we call for a permanent body to precisely coordinate agriculture negotiations and monitor the implementation of decisions within the UNFCCC
Our commitment to agroecology extends to advocacy at local, national, and international levels within the context of agroecological systems by creating an enabling environment. We pledge to engage with policymakers, civil society, and the private sector to promote gender responsive policies that support agroecology
Finally, we Women celebrate the rich agroecological diversity of African farming systems and commit to respecting and preserving indigenous agroecological knowledge and practices that contribute to the sustainability of agroecological systems. This diversity is a source of strength and resilience in our pursuit of sustainable and equitable agroecology in Africa.
In conclusion, it is time for swift action to address Africa’s food security. In the face of the climate crisis, as the continent with the highest population growth rate, rapid urbanization, and rising GDP in many countries, all of which are known to spur changes in food consumption patterns, Africa’s agricultural systems will need to become more resilient. This will be essential to safeguard food and nutrition security, alleviate poverty and contribute to the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
- African governments should prioritize agroecology which encompasses a model of agriculture based on diversifying farms and farming landscapes, transitioning from chemical inputs to bio-inputs, optimizing biodiversity and stimulating interactions between different species as part of holistic strategies to build long- term healthy and climate-resilient agroecosystems and secure livelihoods
- Direct new and accessible climate finance to sustainable climate actions that support the needs of people and local communities- The time is now for an appropriate and deliberate increase in financing for women to deliver sustainable food systems and adapt to climate change through agroecology.
- African Governments should Utilize Indigenous knowledge to design interventions that are locally driven and respond to national circumstances by recognizing and adopting agroecology as a sustainable approach towards climate adaptation and mitigation and meaningfully engage small- scale food producers and indigenous communities, including women and youth, in the COP28 negotiations and beyond as they manage landscapes across Africa.
- Civil society organizations and non-governmental entities should continue their unwavering advocacy for agroecology and gender responsiveness, while concurrently raising awareness about the paramount significance of sustainable and regenerative agroecological practices
- Academic and research institutions should actively engage with local communities and women in agroecology to conduct research that is context-specific and participatory.
- We demand a robust system of monitoring and accountability, ensuring that commitments to agroecology and gender equality, particularly the rights and well-being of women in agroecology, are met.
By asserting these demands, we aim to create an environment where agroecology thrives, women in agroecology are empowered, and their rights, needs, and contributions are recognized and prioritized throughout Africa. We invite all stakeholders to join us in this collective endeavor to build a sustainable and equitable future for our continent, where women in agroecology are central to our success!