Five Principles


The Five Principles of Sustainable Food and Agriculture

FAO has developed a common vision and an integrated approach to sustainability across agriculture, forestry and fisheries. This unified perspective – valid across all agricultural sectors and taking into account social, economic and environmental considerations – ensures the effectiveness of action on the ground and is underpinned by knowledge based on the best available science, and adaptation at community and country levels to ensure local relevance and applicability.

A common vision for sustainable food and agriculture must equally address social, economic and environmental dimensions to ensure sustainability.

The principles that can collectively guide the process of transition to greater sustainability are:

  1. Improving efficiency in the use of resources is crucial to sustainable agriculture.
  2. Sustainability requires direct action to conserve, protect and enhance natural resources.
  3. Agriculture that fails to protect and improve rural livelihoods and social well-being is unsustainable.
  4. Enhanced resilience of people, communities and ecosystems is key to sustainable agriculture.
  5. Sustainable food and agriculture requires responsible and effective governance mechanisms.

20 actions to transform food and agriculture

FAO presents in this publication 20 actions to help countries in incorporating sustainable agriculture and rural development into their broader development goals.

Farmer and beneficiary of FAO's Conservation Agriculture Programme in Kenya. ©FAO/Luis Tato