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2018 – 2021 UNISECO: UNDERSTANDING AND IMPROVING THE SUSTAINABILITY OF AGRO-ECOLOGICAL FARMING SYSTEMS IN THE EU

Project No.:

773901 – H2020-SFS-2016-2017/H2020-SFS-2017-2

Project title:

UNISECO: Understanding and improving the sustainability of agro-ecological farming systems in the EU

Sponsor:

The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation - Horizon 2020

Duration:

3 years

Start: May 2018, End: April 2021

Project leader:

Johann Heinrich von Thuenen-Institut, Germany

Project partners:

Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e L´Analisi dell´ Economia Agraria (CREA) (Italy), Agricultural University Of Athens (Greece), Universität Fuer Bodenkultur Wien (Austria), The James Hutton Institute (United Kingdom), The University Court Of The University Of Aberdeen (United Kingdom), Institut Superieur D'agriculture Rhone Alpes I.S.A.R.A (France), Baltijas Vides Forums (Latvia), Baltijos Aplinkos Forumas Vsi (Lithuania), Forschungsinstitut Fur Biologischen Landbau Stiftung (Switzerland), Geonardo Environmental Technologies Ltd (Hungary), Luonnonvarakeskus (Finland), Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet (Sweden), Gestion Ambiental De Navarra, S.A. (Spain), Asociatia Wwf Programul Dunare Carpati Romania (Romania), Ustav zemedelske ekonomiky a informaci (Czech Republic), European Landowners Organization (Belgium), Bioinstitut, O.P.S. (Czech Republic)

Responsible person:

Ing. Jaroslav Pražan, Ph.D.

Other investigators:

Ing. Marie Šimpachová, Ph.D.

Annotation:

The overarching objective of UNISECO is to strengthen the sustainability of EU farming systems, through co-constructing practice-validated strategies and incentives for the promotion of improved agro-ecological approaches. We will enhance the understanding of socio-economic and policy drivers and barriers for further development and implementation of agroecological approaches in EU farming systems to identify and facilitate more effective management strategies for European agriculture. This requires a wider systems perspective, considering socio-economic, ecological and political settings at a territorial level. We will operationalise a socio-ecological systems framework that integrates external settings into a sustainability assessment of farming systems, paying particular attention to the role of different types of actors and their roles in sub-systems. UNISECO will provide a methodological toolkit to assess the environmental, economic and social impacts of innovative strategies and incentives for agro-ecological approaches in EU farming systems at farm and territorial levels. The methodological toolkit will be tested in participatory case studies in 15 European countries with different biophysical, socioeconomic and socio-cultural contexts of farming systems. UNISECO is committed to a genuine transdisciplinary process, reflected in consortium composition of stakeholder and scientific partners, and the emphasis on multi-actor engagement.

Group learning processes, integrating practical and theoretical knowledge, will benefit scientists, stakeholders and end-users through improved understanding on how to strengthen sustainability of EU farming systems. UNISECO addresses the work programme topic SFS-29-2017 and contributes to Sustainable Food Security by identifying and supporting farming systems that enable the production of healthy food while preserving the environment and bringing added value to farm households and the different stakeholders of the value chain.

Timetable:

2018

WP2: SES framework for the sustainability assessment of agro-ecological farming systems

WP4: Assessment at territorial level – representation of farming systems and increase spatial resolution at NUTS2 level in the model framework

WP5: Governance and policy assessment – inventory of market and policy incentives supporting AEFS

WP6: Integrated sustainability assessment, end-user tools and recommendations – synthesis of an integrated sustainability assessment of AEFS

WP7: Multi-actor engagement

WP8: Communication, dissemination and impact strategy and plan

2019

WP3: Assessment at farm level – description and assessment of the SES in the case studies

WP4: Assessment at territorial level - integration of environmental, social, economic benefits and impact of status quo

WP5: Governance and policy assessment – analysis of governance structures

WP6: Integrated sustainability assessment, end-user tools and recommendations – Conceptualization and definition of the requirements and functions of the spatially explicit interactive online tool and methodological handbook

WP7: Multi-actor engagement

WP8: Communication, dissemination and impact strategy and plan

2020

WP2: Practical validation of the conceptual framework and recommendation for future applications

WP3: Assessment at farm level – assessment of sustainability trade-offs at farm level of the innovative management strategies and market and policy incentives

WP4: Assessment at territorial level – participatory scenario development of AEFS at EU level and territorial impact analysis of innovative strategies and incentives

WP5: Governance and policy assessment – multicriteria assessment

WP6: Integrated sustainability assessment, end-user tools and recommendations – synthesis of an integrated sustainability assessment of AEFS

WP7: Multi-actor engagement

WP8: Communication, dissemination and impact strategy and plan

2021

WP2: Practical validation of the conceptual framework and recommendation for future applications

WP6: Integrated sustainability assessment, end-user tools and recommendations – methodological handbook

WP7: Multi-actor engagement

WP8: Communication, dissemination and impact strategy and plan

 

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