3rd International Ocean Governance Forum lays agenda for transformative Blue Economy pathways

Oceans constitute a blind spot in an otherwise ambitious EU environmental agenda, as exemplified by the EU Green Deal setting out the transition to climate-neutrality by 2050, or the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030. Yet the region has the vision and resources to “lead by example” by championing a coherent and transformative global agenda on clean oceans.

The EU’s role in driving stronger multilateral collaboration to achieve progress on key issues, including marine pollution, fisheries, deep-sea mining and other destructive practices, was high on the agenda of the 3rd…


Felix Twaya, a farmer from Balaka, Malawi. Image credit: T. Samson/CIMMYT, Creative Commons

Despite producing most of the world’s food, a large proportion of smallholder farmers and pastoralists — and especially women — lack secure tenure rights over land. The resulting uncertainty not only impacts their food security, or ability to earn a decent livelihood, but also discourages them from investing in good land management practices, such as planting trees, or preventing soil erosion. Moreover, insecure land tenure arrangements, both on privately-owned and communal land, often contribute to conflicts that can have devastating consequences for families or entire communities.

Enacted in 2016, Malawi’s National Land Policy introduced several laws to ensure tenure security…


This International Women’s Day we highlight the importance of women to the success of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, 2021–2030

Women discussing a soil rehabilitation project in Burkina Faso. [Credit: Larissa Stiem-Bhatia]

2021 to 2030 is the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a programme coordinated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of the earth’s ecosystems.

The protection and restoration of ecosystems around the world — whether in farmland, oceans, peatlands, forests, savanna or even urban areas — can help to end poverty, combat…


Lockdown and social distancing have led to a worldwide boom in online food and grocery delivery services, with Nairobi now being the leading city across Africa in terms of active online shoppers (Kanali, 2020) on platforms such as UberEats, Glovo, and Jumia Food. However, the use of digital solutions for the marketing and delivery of fresh food is not reserved for big supermarket chains and platforms alone. Our recent fieldwork in Nairobi’s informal settlements reveals a number of digitally facilitated business models used by informal fresh food retailers and urban farmers here.

Over the past two months, the SEWOH Lab…


They are akin to monuments of failure. The rusting water pipes, crumbling roads, abandoned factories, and other remnants of long-forgotten projects that dot the “development landscape” in many African countries. But unrealised development dreams are not limited to bricks and mortar. Many development initiatives also fall short of their goals of disseminating the amassed knowledge and skills beyond the initial (externally funded) project phase.

TMG Research, in collaboration with GIZ soil rehabilitation project (ProSOL) in Benin, recently coordinated a project to test farmer-led knowledge sharing approaches for strengthening sustainable land management and climate resilience in Benin. Concerned about the low…


“Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together.“

We are living in unprecedented times. It is no wonder, therefore, that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) calls for anything but ordinary action as we commemorate this year’s World Food Day.

2020 will remain entrenched in our collective memory as the year the pandemic changed our world. COVID-19 has severely impacted the lives and health of people on all continents, showed the weaknesses of our health systems, and demonstrated how interconnected the vulnerabilities of our world are. For some, “working-from-home” has provided a welcome moment of peace and reflection, for many it has brought new…


This brief is part of a series of research summaries that explore the application of true cost accounting approaches to the agriculture and food industry. True cost accounting is a holistic valuation tool that assesses all four types of capital (produced, natural, human, and social) involved in the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The Brief provides an overview of the concept of social capital, how it is linked to food- and farming-related businesses, and why it determines business failure and success. It also describes how measuring and valuing social capital can help businesses manage social risks and opportunities, and how they can turn social capital into one of their assets.

As a fundamental human need, food is not only a source of life, but is the driving force of our economies and societies. One can tell much from a dish. What people eat is an important aspect of their cultural heritage, and is influenced, among others, by their shared history, lifestyle, values, and beliefs.

Given their central role in agricultural production, processing, and marketing, food- and farming-related businesses (hereafter referred to as businesses) strongly influence our food systems. They shape agricultural landscapes, create employment, contribute to rural development, and, above all, shape the food choices of almost 8 billion people…


This brief presents the current state of knowledge on the health impacts of organic versus conventionally produced food. We start by examining the existing global market of organic food, and then explore a variety of human health benefits that could be realised through a greater adoption of organic production and processing techniques.

Expanding organic production to feed the world

The organic food and beverage industry has rapidly developed over the last 50 years. Worldwide sales exceeded US$100 billion in 2018, and are projected to grow to US$323 billion by 2024. However, this remains a fraction (0.18%) of total global food and beverage sales, estimated at about US$57 trillion in 2018, and projected to increase to US$106 trillion in 2024. This, even if sales of uncertified (but in line with basic organic standards) farms selling directly to consumers are taken into account.

So, would there be a significant benefit to human health if more of the world’s food supply came…


Insights from real-time observations in nine African countries

This article presents insights gathered during the first six weeks of the Covid-19 Food/Future initiative. The initiative is piloted by TMG Research, under its SEWOH Lab project, and propelled by a team of young and dynamic voices based in nine African countries. It’s central aim is to shed light on how Sub-Saharan African societies are experiencing the effects of the pandemic, and navigate the resulting uncertainties around jobs, income, and food production and supply spaces.

Reporting on a daily basis on Twitter and Medium, young participants in Benin, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar…


A story from Guatemala

With its disruption of food supply chains, as well as livelihoods, the Covid-19 crisis is challenging humanity´s very existence.

By reminding us of the intricate links between human and ecological health, the pandemic highlights the urgent need to go beyond immediate mitigation measures to strengthen the overall sustainability and resilience of our socio-economic structures, as well as the natural resource base upon which they depend.

Community in the Guatemalan highlands, San Francisco, Huehuetenango, Guatemala.

Psychologists define resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress.” Two rural communities in Guatemala, provide an insightful example of how investing in…

TMG-Think Tank for Sustainability

TMG is an applied research group focusing on climate and energy, land and food systems, Agenda 2030 governance, and innovations for sustainable transformations.

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