A Multi-Actor Framework for Agro-Ecological Farming Systems in the European Union

Authors: Kate Irvine*, James Hutton Institute
Topics: Sustainability Science, Land Use
Keywords: stakeholder engagement, multi-actor approach, transdisciplinary research, farming
Session Type: Guided Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Roosevelt 3.5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Producing enough food and biomass while preserving public goods (e.g. biodiversity, soil, water) requires change from conventional agricultural approaches. Agro-ecological approaches and eco-functional intensification are fundamental for more sustainable food production. The dilemma is how to produce public goods whilst maintaining private goods, securing economic and social sustainability for farms without being overly dependent on public funds. The project ‘Understanding and Improving the Sustainability of Agro-Ecological Farming Systems in the EU’ (UNISECO) aims to strengthen the sustainability of European farming systems. Intended outputs are co-constructed mechanisms and policy instruments for delivering public goods through economically viable agro-ecological farming systems, and an expanded, co-created knowledge base about agro-ecological farming in the EU. The process of co-construction uses the transdisciplinary Multi-Actor Approach adopted by the EU agricultural research and innovation strategy. These Multi-Actor Platforms (MAPs) are designed to enable ongoing involvement of actors at European and local levels and a two-way exchange of ideas for co-learning and co-creation of knowledge. Forming MAPs requires criteria for membership (e.g. relevance, representativeness, geography and demographics), establishing principles (e.g. respect, sharing, listening, teamwork), and processes of operation (e.g. methods, equitability, rights of participation, ethics). MAPs were established in 15 countries, and one at EU level for cross-continent analysis, comparisons and learning. The MAPs, through co-creation of knowledge, will contribute to improved measures in the EU Common Agricultural Policy, and its delivery to the Sustainable Development Goals. Acknowledgements: UNISECO has received funding from the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement 773901.

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