SAM consortium workshop discusses contributions from stakeholders from eight countries
08 November 2022, WE: The Sustainable Agriculture Matrix (SAM) Consortium, a transdisciplinary and transnational network to guide the pursuit of sustainable agriculture, held its second consortium meeting in Istanbul, Türkiye. It was a two-day event where partner organizations from around the world came together to share the results of their work over the previous year by organizing stakeholder workshops in eight countries and to formulate plans for the next phase of SAM Consortium activities.
The SAM consortium is made up of transdisciplinary teams from six major countries and regions, including Austria; Brazil; South Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa; Turkey ; and the United States. Led by the University of Maryland Environmental Science Center, the consortium was created based on the successful publication of the first edition of SAM, which provides the first-of-its-kind assessment for more than 150 countries across the world with 18 linked and measurable indicators. agricultural sustainability indicators. This effort has been recognized as an essential tool to ensure accountability of our countries’ commitments to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and has recently been funded by the Belmont Forum further engage stakeholders to explore the uses of this rich data to inform stakeholder policies and actions.
Since the first kick-off meeting in August 2021, the SAM consortium has organized 13 workshops in 8 countries (i.e. Austria, Brazil, GhanaKenyaMorocco, South Africa, Türkiye, United States of America), involving more than 200 stakeholders from a wide range of sectors. The workshops used SAM as a starting point to assess the agricultural sustainability of each respective country and to develop strategies to improve sustainability performance. During the workshops, stakeholders also provided feedback on the SAM framework and the first edition of the SAM indicators. The second consortium meeting served as a platform for country teams to share their experience with stakeholder engagement and feedback.
The first day of the consortium meeting involved presentations from each national team, followed by group discussions on SAM development strategies and transnational partnerships, as well as a presentation on the similarities and differences observed in the workshops. Several common themes emerged from these discussions, such as the controversial role of trade in affecting the sustainability of agriculture in the Global South, the differing sustainability concerns between developed and developing countries, and the need to improve social indicators. These discussions and presentations enhanced capacity building and knowledge co-production among the consortium countries. The second day focused on the progress and plans of the Analysis and Dissemination Teams, subgroups of the Consortium. The efforts of the analysis team involve the development of alternative indicators and adaptations of the framework in the future based on stakeholder feedback. The broadcast team is responsible for developing an interactive dashboard environment; policy roundtables; and press releases, all with the aim of expanding the scope and scale of the Consortium’s reach.
Participants of the second annual meeting of the SAM Consortium have one of many roundtables regarding the progress of SAM at the Istanbul Policy Center.
Following the two-day consortium meeting, the team identified short-term and long-term deliverables between the various SAM consortium work themes. In terms of the application of SAM, additional workshops will seek to increase engagement with large and smallholder farmers. Similarly, the analysis team intends to prioritize the modification of pre-existing indicators and the development of new/additional indicators and background information to facilitate regional workshops; while the dissemination team has identified major short- and long-term advocacy efforts at national and international levels.
The second consortium meeting was hosted by Sabanci University (Türkiye) and partner organizations present included Toros Agri Trade and Co. Inc. (Türkiye), Tekfen Agricultural Research Production and Marketing Inc. (Türkiye); the African Plant Nutrition Institute (Morocco); the Austrian Institute for Economic Research (Austria); the Center for Nuclear Energy in Agriculture (Brazil); the Instituto de Pesquisas Espaciais (Brazil); International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (Austria), University of KwaZulu-Natal – Center for Transformative Agriculture and Food Systems (South Africa); and Oxfam America (USA), University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (USA).
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