What is FELD?
The Food, Environment, Land and Development (FELD) Action Tracker is a strategic initiative under the Food and Land Use (FOLU) Coalition, led by the UN Sustainable Solutions Network (SDSN). The Action Tracker is complementing other initiatives by the Coalition, dedicated to providing practical support to countries’ transformation of food and land use systems: It does so by systematically analysing national policies; by tracking the resulting implementation and other related actions; by identifying good practices to be shared on a dedicated platform; and by assessing specific impact and overall progress against national and global strategies and targets under the Paris Climate Agreement and the SDGs.
The FELD programme and its methodologies are designed to support countries and their partners in devising, implementing and improving effective and ambitious policies for transforming their food and land-use systems and practices.
What is FOLU?
Established in 2017, the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU) is a community of organisations and individuals committed to the urgent need of transforming the way we produce and consume food and use our land for people, nature and climate. FOLU promotes science-based solutions and helps build a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities to unlock collective, ambitious action.
FOLU is working closely with country platforms, including the research and science networks that are part of the Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land Use and Energy (FABLE) Consortium in more than 20 countries.
FOLU’s mission: to ensure food and land use systems play their full role in delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement to ensure the future prosperity of all people and to protect and restore our planet’s vital ecosystems. Food and land use systems involve every factor in the ways land is used and food is produced, stored, packed, processed, traded, distributed, marketed, consumed and disposed of, spanning public and private sectors, the research community and civil society – to work together to harness expertise and enable systems thinking approaches. FOLU and its network of core members are committed to the urgent need for food and land use transformation to create a healthier planet and healthier people.
Why is action on food and land use so important?
Food and land-use systems are out of balance. Human activity affects three-quarters of the global ice-free land surface, including up to 85% of the world’s forests (IPPC, 2019). This misalignment causes devastating natural capital losses and has implications for food security, as increasingly strained ecosystems and climate change impact agricultural productivity. Eight hundred million people go hungry while over two billion are overweight or obese and 500 million smallholder farmers live below the poverty line.
Land use also contributes about one-quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. Socio- economic drivers of land use change such as technological development, population growth and increasing per capita demand for multiple ecosystem services are projected to continue into the future. Additionally, climate change mitigation efforts that require large land areas such as bioenergy and afforestation or reforestation are projected to compete with existing uses of land.
What actions, and why do they need to be tracked?
As a consequence, the world urgently needs to make land use and existing food systems more sustainable and more resilient. FOLU already presented concrete ideas for doing so, under its 2019 Growing Better report, indicating that alternative pathways could generate up to 70 million jobs and generate an additional $2.3 trillion per year by 2030. In addition, the FABLE Consortium has generated pathways for achieving this transition in practice across its members. That said, many financial, institutional, social and technological barriers to the implementation of sustainable land- based actions remain, and many countries are exploring the best, most effective policy interventions to leverage progress and a just transformation across multiple sectors simultaneously.
While many of the elements of the required transitions are generally known, their operationalisation is highly contextual and inherently depends on countries and the international community to learn what policy measures work best in their respective contexts, and to track progress across key sectors. In the particular case of food and land-use systems, the challenge of tracking is further amplified by varying and highly fragmented policy approaches in many countries. The FELD action tracker with its partners in FOLU and beyond, will systematically collect, review, analyse and assess existing national policies, to better understand and track developments in and across sectors and countries – and to provide this information for countries and their partners as a collective and dynamic resource in support of national efforts, as well as to understand where countries and the world are in terms of progress against set goals and targets.
How does FELD work and collaborate with others?
For the FELD Action Tracker we focus on collecting and analysing relevant policies (including strategies, frameworks and other government plans of action) across a growing number of countries as a basis for the direct engagement with those on the policy frontlines: to support policy design and formulation for effective implementation; to catalyze cross-country learning of available policy responses, interventions and tools; and to build a global platform of practical, action-oriented policy resources for all countries and partners to draw from and contribute to.
For our efforts, we will collaborate with a range of partners and organizations, and draw from an ever-growing number of related initiatives dedicated to support countries in taking ambitious action to address climate change and strengthen sustainable development: by tracking and reviewing national policies and other actions, by synthesising across existing initiatives, platforms and efforts, and by assessing the extent to which current actions advance national and internationally agreed targets, including the Sustainable Development Goals and objectives under the Paris Agreement.
Analyses, tools and resources generated by FELD and its partners focus on the practical needs of countries and their national stakeholders as they as they face the challenge of integrating and strengthening complex policies across sectors and jurisdictions. In addition, our integrated analyses will complement ongoing work of other organizations and UN agencies to strengthen evidence-based, country-driven operationalisation of policies on the basis of what works and is most effective in different food and land use contexts.
FELD will make its databases of national policies, its analyses, tools and other practical resources available for all countries on the FELD web platform. This website will over time expand its resources, including own FELD analyses and country-specific sections in coordination with its partners at FOLU and beyond.
What is SDSN?
The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) was set up in 2012 under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General to promote integrated approaches for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, through education, research, policy analysis and global cooperation.
The Network has now over 1,500 member institutions, including universities and research organizations across 134 countries, to mobilize global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical solutions for sustainable development. It works closely with United Nations agencies, multilateral financing institutions, the private sector, and civil society.
SDSN is guided by a Leadership Council, which brings together global sustainable development leaders from all regions and all sectors, including civil society, public, and private sectors. The Leadership Council acts as the board of SDSN. Much of SDSN’s work is led by National or Regional SDSNs, which mobilize knowledge institutions around the SDGs. Our research & policy work mobilizes experts from around the world on the technical challenges of implementing the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement. The SDG Academy leads the education work of the SDSN.