The Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land, and Energy Consortium

The Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land-Use, and Energy (FABLE) Consortium is a collaborative initiative operating as part of the Food and Land-Use Coalition.

This consortium aims to mobilise research institutions in key countries to develop shared globally consistent national pathway towards sustainable land use by 2050.

Land use choices affect five critical areas of sustainable development: (i) food production, (ii) greenhouse gas emissions, (iii) biodiversity conservation including forest conservation, (iv) freshwater availability, and (v) air and water pollution.

Under current land-use patterns, none of these are sustainable. Food production is threatened by climate change, freshwater stress, loss of biodiversity, and land degradation. Greenhouse gas management is undermined by deforestation, land degradation, and agricultural and livestock practices. Forests and other biodiversity are being lost as habitats are destroyed for agriculture, urbanisation, and other purposes. Freshwater is being utilised faster than recharge, for example through the overuse of groundwater. Land use patterns are contributing to air and water pollution through nitrogen and phosphorus fluxes, peat burning, slash-and-burn agriculture, pesticides, and other farm practices. Land use directly impacts almost every planetary boundary: climate change, ocean acidification, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, freshwater use, changes in land use, biodiversity loss, atmospheric aerosol loading, and chemical pollution. The challenge of achieving sustainable land use is therefore highly complex, and filled with trade-offs.

Initiated by International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and implemented with partners around the world under the umbrella of The World in 2050 Initiative, the FABLE project pursues three broad sets of objectives:

  • Capacity development and sharing of best practice for data management and modelling of
    the 3 pillars through (i) simplified assessments of land-use and food systems for stakeholder
    engagement (“FABLE Calculator”); (ii) integrated data to support policy making; and (iii)
    integrated, geospatially-explicit modelling with trade analyses.
  • Development of mid-century national pathways that can collectively achieve shared global
    targets and have consistent trade assumptions. Such pathways can directly support
    governments’ efforts to develop mid-century low-emission development strategies under
    the Paris Agreement’s Article 4.19. They also support achievement of the Sustainable
    Development Goals and the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • Analysis of national policy options. By establishing national tools for policy analysis,
    governments and their stakeholders can test the impact of proposed policies across the
    three pillars of sustainable land-use and food systems, which can help raise the level of
    ambition and promote policy coherence.

The first report by the FABLE Consortium presented preliminary pathways towards sustainable land-use and food systems. The aim of these pathways is to determine and demonstrate the feasibility of making land-use and food systems sustainable in each country to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the objectives of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The report shows that the objectives can be achieved but will require deep transformations in every country.

Contact Daniel Mason-D’Croz for more information.