Agriculture & Food
The economic environment in which farmers and agricultural policy-makers operate today is distorted by significant externalities, both negative and positive. Indeed, most of the largest impacts on the health of humans, ecosystems, agricultural lands, waters, and seas arising from various different types of agricultural and food systems, are economically invisible and do not get the attention they deserve from decision-makers. There is therefore a need to evaluate all significant externalities of eco-agri-food systems, to better inform decision-makers in governments, businesses and farms. Furthermore, there is a need to evaluate the eco-agri-food systems complex as a whole, and not as a set of silos.
A ‘TEEB for Agriculture & Food’ (TEEBAgFood) study, led by the UNEP TEEB Office, will seek to bring together economists, business leaders, agriculturalists and experts in biodiversity and ecosystems in order to explore these issues by undertaking a comprehensive economic evaluation of the ‘eco-agri-food systems’ complex.
Relevant meetings & events
» Global Landscapes Forum 2015 (Paris 5-6 Dec. 2015)
A number of studies have been commissioned by UNEP TEEB in order to assess some of the major “externalities-heavy” agricultural sectors, including:
» Agroforestry: World Agroforestry Centre / UNEP-WCMC
» Inland Fisheries: FAO
» Livestock: Wageningen University / Trucost & True Price
» Maize: CONABIO
» Palm Oil: Trucost / True Price & RSPO
» Rice: FAO / Bioversity / IRRI & Trucost
The objective of these exploratory studies, inter alia, is to build evidence to identify policy options to facilitate a transition towards more sustainable agricultural practices. More particularly, this project seeks to improve the understanding among policymakers and key stakeholders about the economic dependencies and interactions between each sector and ecosystem services & biodiversity, and their value to society. This understanding will make it possible to assess the economic tradeoffs between short-term productivity gains on the one hand and longer-term ecosystem impacts (which in turn might decrease agri-productivity in the future), and to design incentive mechanisms to facilitate greener and more sustainable outcomes.
TEEBAgFood study will seek to review the economic interdependencies outlined in the diagram below, mainly between human (economic and social) system’, agriculture and food systems, and biodiversity and ecosystems. In doing so, it will address the economic invisibility of many of these links while exploring how biodiversity and key ecosystem services deliver benefits to the agriculture sector and also beyond, itself being a key contributor to human health, livelihoods and well-being.
What is the TEEBAgFood Valuation Framework
- The TEEBAgFood valuation framework is a frame of analysis that can enable us to answer the question “what should we value, and why?”
- The framework ensures that nothing important is missed, and that the full range of impacts and dependencies (including externalities) from eco-agri-food systems can be individually examined and collectively evaluated for the application in question, be it a typology comparison, a policy evaluation, a business question or an accounting question.
- Using a universal framework such as the one recommended here, each type of food system, production alternative, or consumer choice can be held to a common form of assessment of all significant costs and benefits, whether they be economic, social or related to risks and uncertainty.
In order to produce impetus for the project overall, an ‘Interim Report’ will first set out to provide new and compelling (but balanced and science-based) evidence from a global meta-analysis as well as a number of studies on externalities-heavy agricultural sectors, including livestock, rice and palm oil.
A ‘Scientific and Economic Foundations’ report will address the core theoretical issues and controversies underpinning the evaluation of the nexus between the agri-food sector, biodiversity and ecosystem services and externalities from agriculture on a global scale. In essence it seeks to set the theoretical context for the evaluation of policy implementation.
A ‘Policies, Production and Consumption’ report will by definition focus on the evaluation of different agro-ecological production systems and policies in different socio-economic contexts. Since TEEBAgFood concerns not only agriculture but entire food systems as well, the report will also consider food policies, including those targeting food waste and food safety along the entire food chain, from production to final disposal, as well as food quality in nutritional terms.
Finally, a Synthesis Report is to have clearly articulated key messages and recommendations arising from the findings of the core reports, written with a broad readership in mind. It will be supported by an extensive communications strategy.
TEEBAgFood Steering Committee
The TEEBAgFood Steering Committee is the second highest decision making authority, dealing solely with project related issues for TEEBAgFood. Members are largely responsible for the more substantive elements of work, including for instance peer review of draft outputs, nominations of/suggestions for the contracting of experts and contributors and technical guidance. [read more]
Opportunities for Involvement
» Peer review
If you are interested in becoming a peer reviewer for any forthcoming inputs, please write an e-mail to email@example.com with “Peer Review” in the subject line and Curriculum Vitae attached .
» Communications and Outreach
If your organization is involved in public and social outreach for any of the wide range of issues related to this project, and you are interested in helping us increase its visibility and reach, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Communications” in the subject line.
We are still actively seeking funding for future project activities. If your organization is interested in becoming a donor or receiving a project proposal from us, please write an e-mail to email@example.com with “Fundraising” in the subject line.
To contact TEEBAgFood team, please write to TEEB.AgFood@unep.org
TEEBAgFood Interim Report
The Interim Report introduces the key questions, issues and arguments to be addressed by TEEBAgFood.Read more
TEEB is bringing together economists, business leaders, agriculturalists and experts in biodiversity and ecosystem services to systematically review the economic interdependencies between agriculture and natural ecosystems, and provide a comprehensive economic valuation of eco-agri-food systems. Alexander Müller, TEEB for Agriculture & Food…Read more
TEEB Challenges and Responses
TEEB ‘s progress, challenges and responses towards mainstreaming the economics of nature. [ENG] [ESP]Read more
TEEB for Agriculture & Food Concept Note
February 2014- The Concept Note presents the case for and proposed outline content of a TEEB for Agriculture & Food study.Read more
Natural Capital Accounting and Water Quality: Commitments, Benefits, Needs and Progress
December 2013 – The briefing note outlines existing guidance and examples on water quality accounting and identifies the ongoing challenges related to the development of natural capital accounting and water quality accounting. Inspired by the growing global focus on natural capital accounting, the note identifies the ongoing challenges related to the development of natural capital accounting and water quality accounting, in order to encourage debate and commitment towards effective water and biodiversity policy.Read more