Merelyn helps set up a Latin American School for Food Systems and Resilience

Tuesday January 02, 2018

Latin-American School for Food Systems Resilience: “Socio-environmental transformative learning: Facilitating innovation in the Agro-food and nutrition systems through people’s knowledge.”

We are crossing the boundaries of global sustainability and putting our future food supply in danger. The primary drivers of these risky trends are the unsustainable demand for food, water, and natural resources, causing severe biodiversity loss and leading to changes in ecosystem services. The Latin American region has the right characteristics to deal with this challenge, as it has a high diversity of landraces and domesticated crops as well as the related traditional knowledge.

This School aims to create a space and network for Latin Americans to promote innovation processes for food systems resilience, using co-learning and participatory approaches to socio-ecological systems that valorise both peoples’ and academic knowledge. It will be held in October 2018 in the Potato Park- Sacred Valley in Cusco (Peru) with a duration of 10 days. The starting points for the School are the rich local agrobiodiversity and knowledge. Its specific objectives are: (i) Encouraging collective leadership, (ii) Facilitating co-learning, sharing of diverse experiences and methodologies through a socio-ecological approach, (iii) Reconnecting with local knowledge and traditional practices(iv) Promoting action-oriented research as well as responsible business and politics.

Social valuation of nature: Integrating multiple perspectives towards the sustainability of tourism

The year 2017 has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development under the theme “Travel, Enjoy and Respect”. The goal is to promote long-term change to achieve three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. These international initiatives are meant to guide global policies on sustainable tourism. However, at the local level it is not so easy to put them into practice. To achieve the SDGs, it is necessary to create spaces for dialogue between public and private institutions that promote tourism with local populations and visitors.

The social valuation of nature, i.e. the assessment of the value in terms of people´s perception and preferences, is the first step to identify opportunities for sustainable natural tourism at the local level. An investigation carried out in 2016 with the support of the International Forestry Research Center (CIFOR) found that: i) the assessments of nature by locals and visitors not only have a goal of recreation but also involve many personal values, such as gratitude, peace, identity, etc. ii) at the spatial level, locals, visitors, men, women, adults and the elderly have different preferences about landscapes. In conclusion, the value that people give to forests and landscapes allows us to understand their preferences and the type of relations they establish with nature; all of which represent important inputs to promote better policies, planning and interventions for sustainable tourism based on a truly holistic relationship ‘economy-nature-well-being’.

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