Food Sovereignty: A Framework for Assessing Agrarian Responses to Climate Change in the Philippines

Amber Heckelman from the blog ‘mestizarise’ shared a link to a publication by her & Hannah Wittman, “Food Sovereignty: A Framework for Assessing Agrarian Responses to Climate Change in the Philippines.” Thank you Amber.

This is an excerpt from that publication:

Assessments that only measure crop yield fail to account for important social, political, economic, environmental, and health outputs of an agrarian system. The development of comprehensive assessments that also consider inequality, poverty, hunger/malnutrition, market instability, and ecological degradation that characterize much of the agrarian experience are urgently needed. All of these dimensions and realities necessitate a move toward a more ‘systems-based approach’ derived from systems dynamics, a methodology for studying and managing complex systems that change over time.

“The principles of food sovereignty provide a framework for developing a systems-based approach that can assess food security and climate resiliency among agrarian communities. Since its articulation by La Via Campesina in 1996 as the right of local people to control their own regional and national food systems, food sovereignty has emerged as a significant topic in the discourse surrounding climate change. Advocates suggest that food sovereignty initiatives have the potential to create alternative agricultural and food policy models that are better equipped with addressing food insecurity in the face of climate change. This is because the principles of food sovereignty promote practices that are consistent with resilient agrarian systems like the preservation of genetic and biological diversity to enhance ecosystem service functions, reduced reliance on costly energy intensive inputs, and the linkage of farmer knowledge with political mobilization.”  [Bold emphasis added, citations omitted]

To read more, see Amber’s blog.



The Philippines is one of the foremost countries affected by climate change, with increasing incidence of super typhoons, droughts, floods, and changing rain patterns — all of which exacerbate existing food insecurity, poverty, and ecological degradation (United Nations University & Alliance Development Works, 2014; Yumal et al., 2011). In response to these challenges, the development and diffusion of adaptation and mitigation strategies are necessary to enhance agrarian resiliency. Here, we report on our progress in using food sovereignty principles to develop an assessment framework for climate resiliency and food security among a network of smallholder agrarian systems in the Philippines.

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