Integrated simulation models for sustainable agriculture policy design

Despite significant gains over the past decade, rural poverty, food and nutrition insecurity and environmental degradation remain pervasive problems in the developing world. It is estimated that approximately 805 million people worldwide suffer from hunger and approximately 1.4 billion live in extreme poverty (IFAD, 2010).

Developing coherent plans to combat these problems is complicated by the multi-disciplinary, interconnected and complex nature of the systems that must be managed. Therefore, it is imperative that the strategies developed to tackle these issues are based on comprehensive and sound analyses addressing their key dimensions in an integrated manner (UN, 1992; UN, 2000; UN, 2014a; UN, 2014b). The Threshold 21 (T21) simulation model supports such an approach (UNEP, 2014). T21 is an integrated and dynamic planning tool that enables transparent cross-sectoral analyses of the impacts of policies and enables exploration of their long-term consequences on social, economic and environmental development (Pedercini et al, 2010). T21 takes into account interdependency across sectors and is based on the vast collective knowledge gathered in multistakeholder processes. This makes it an effective tool for achieving a collectively shared understanding of problems, structures and solutions thus contributing to policy dialogue (Pedercini, 2005).

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