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Nairobi Declaration

The Nairobi Declaration is a joint statement by the participants of the October 2004 International Ecoagriculture Conference and Practitioners’ Fair in Nairobi, Kenya, that defines their agreed principles of ecoagriculture.

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For more information and resources from the 2004 Ecoagriculture Conference and Practitioners' Fair in Nairobi, Kenya, visit the Events Archive.

The Nairobi Declaration

We, the participants attending the International Ecoagriculture Conference and Practitioners’ Fair in Nairobi, Kenya, came from 46 countries, comprised of grassroots communities, pastoralist communities, civil society groups, environmental and nature conservation organizations, public and private sector institutions. From this diverse background, we found considerable common ground on the need for a framework that seeks to simultaneously achieve improved livelihoods, conservation of biodiversity (genetic resources, ecosystem services and wild flora and fauna), and sustainable production at a landscape scale. This is the essence of ecoagriculture.

We recognize that the production of food, forest and wetland products as it is often practiced--in both intensive and extensive systems-- is one of the chief challenges to improved livelihoods, biodiversity and sustainability. For example, over a third of the world’s land area is heavily influenced by cropland or planted pastures; and more land is being deployed as part of the farming cycle in tree crops, grazing systems and production forestry. Similarly, biodiversity conservation efforts have been implemented without adequate recognition given to linkages and interactions with the production of food and forest products. During this conference, we:

  • Had a lively debate and acknowledged that there is a wide range of opinion about the best way to achieve multiple objectives;

  • Reviewed diverse examples of practices and systems, together with evidence of the social, cultural, economic, environmental, institutional, technical, geographic and political characteristics of successful ecoagriculture;

  • Shared experiences, gained knowledge, built new partnerships, broadened awareness of the potentials of ecoagriculture, and developed relationships to support our activities;

  • Critically evaluated the opportunities, limitations and priority actions for enhancing ecoagriculture more systematically, particularly in ecologically degraded or threatened areas critical to rural livelihoods; and

  • Elaborated a number of specific recommendations for action to further the concepts and tools needed to implement ecoagriculture at landscape scales.

We are dedicated to ensuring that large-scale development and adoption of ecoagriculture contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals on hunger, poverty alleviation, gender equality, environmental sustainability and partnerships, and enhance implementation of global environmental conventions by all nations.

We therefore declare:

1. That ecoagriculture embraces diverse systems and practices linking production and biodiversity across landscapes, including those that:

a. Integrate trees, shrubs and grasses into agroforestry production systems to mimic natural vegetation and ecological functions, and enhance livestock and pastoral systems;
b. Utilize organic and low external input agriculture, emphasizing locally adapted methods;
c. Minimize pollution by reducing and managing agricultural input use and farm wastes;
d. Improve soil, water, vegetation and wild species management;
e. Create and expand conservation in rural landscapes in ways that take into account the needs of local farming, pastoralists and forest communities;
f. Use unfarmed areas, forest mosaics and wetland ecosystems to develop habitat networks and connectivity that support or expand the range of wild species, including those with migratory patterns;
g. Reduce or reverse conversion of wild lands to production agriculture, agroforestry, forestry or aquaculture by sustainably increasing the productivity of land already under use;
h. Place protected areas within the process of landscape planning and implementation, enabling the livelihood, biodiversity conservation and economic benefits to be articulated and realized;

2. That grassroots communities and farmers all around the world have practised ecoagriculture principles for millennia, with the potential for maintaining ecosystems and transforming vast areas of degraded lands into productive and ecologically functional systems;

3. That ecoagriculture is globally important wherever the demands for food, ecosystem services and rural livelihoods converge, including rural farming communities living in or around protected areas and other habitats of high biodiversity value or endangered species;

4. That ecoagriculture is also highly important in critical catchments such as mountain ecosystems serving human and wildlife populations; and in biologically degraded landscapes where ecosystem services are essential for sustainable food production and local livelihoods need urgent rehabilitation.

The Conference calls on policy makers at the local, national, regional and global levels; planners, researchers and practitioners in the fields of human health and nutrition, agriculture, agroforestry, livestock and pastoralism, aquaculture, urban and rural development, energy, climate change, biodiversity conservation, and water resource management, to promote ecoagriculture by:

a. Encouraging multi-stakeholder participation and formation of strategic alliances for planning and implementation of ecoagriculture;

b. Incorporating and enhancing the wide range of grassroots and rural community innovations that simultaneously enhance productivity, livelihoods, and ecosystem services, including biodiversity;

c. Recognizing the importance of local and indigenous knowledge, their institutions and decision-making processes, and the central role of rural land users as environmental stewards;

d. Integrating and scaling up farm-level and landscape-wide initiatives of sustainable land and water management and biodiversity conservation;

e. Advocating policies and actions that support integration of food production with biodiversity in all its components, intensifying efforts at landscape and watershed scale;

f. Supporting and building capacity of farming and pastoral communities for collective action to implement ecoagriculture, including managing and protecting natural habitats on private and communal lands;

g. Implementing the Programmes of Work on Agricultural Biodiversity and Protected Areas, principles of the Ecosystem Approach, and the Global Strategy on Plant Conservation agreed by the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity; the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture; and further integrating ecoagriculture into other major conventions including the United Nations Convention on Combating Desertification (UNCCD), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the Wetlands Convention (Ramsar);

h. Articulating and enhancing the value that protected area networks can provide in the maintenance of ecosystem functions that sustain food production and rural livelihoods;

i. Building incentives for ecoagriculture in commercial food and input markets, and markets for other rural products and environmental services, through domesticated indigenous crops, marketing innovations, consumer education, and rewarding farmers and pastoralists directly for providing ecosystem services; and

j. Investing in public and private national and international research, development and capacity building programs pertinent to ecoagriculture, in the fields of human health and nutrition, agriculture, agroforestry, livestock and pastoralism, aquaculture, water resource management, biodiversity conservation, urban and rural development, energy and climate change, in both developing and developed countries;

We believe that mobilizing a movement of diverse stakeholders inspired and committed to ecoagriculture and the improvement of rural livelihoods together with preservation and restoration of ecosystem services, will build synergies and achieve globally significant benefits for food security, human health and nutrition, poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability.

Nairobi, Kenya
1 October 2004

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