The SAM consortium is composed of transdisciplinary teams from six major countries and regions including Austria, Brazil,South Africa,Sub-Saharan Africa, Türkiye, and the United States. Led by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the consortium was established based on the successful release of the first edition of SAM, which provides the first-of-its-kind assessment for over 150 countries around the world with 18 related and measurable indicators of agriculture sustainability. This effort has been recognized2 as a vital tool to ensure the accountability of countries’ commitments towards United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and was recently funded by the Belmont Forum to further engage stakeholders to explore uses of this rich data to inform policies and stakeholder actions.
Since the first kick-off meeting in August 2021, the SAM consortium has hosted 13 workshops in eight countries (i.e., Austria, Brazil, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, South Africa, Türkiye, the United States of America), involving over 200 stakeholders from a wide range of sectors. Workshops used SAM as a starting point to evaluate the agricultural sustainability of each respective country and to develop strategies for improving sustainability performance. Through the workshops, stakeholders also provided feedback on the SAM framework and the first edition of the SAM indicators. The second consortium meeting served as a platform for country teams to share their experience in stakeholder engagement and feedback.
The first day of the Consortium Meeting involved presentations from each country team followed by group discussions on strategies for SAM development & cross-country partnerships as well as a presentation on the similarities and differences observed across workshops. Several common themes emerged from these discussions, such as the controversial role of trade in affecting agriculture sustainability in global south countries, differing sustainability concerns between developed and developing nations, and the need for improving social indicators. These discussions and presentations have strengthened capacity building and knowledge co-production across countries in the Consortium. The second day focused on the progress and plans of the Analysis and Dissemination Teams, subgroups of the Consortium. The Analysis Team’s efforts involve the development of alternative indicators, and adaptations of the framework going forward based on stakeholder feedback. The Dissemination Team is tasked with development of an interactive dashboard environment; policy roundtables; and press releases, all in an effort to expand the scope and scale of the Consortium’s outreach.