Interventions: COP Interventions: COP 15...

COP 15 was supposed to be a big milestone in the war against climate change. It is pertinent to share the perspective of farmers, civil society and experts from the country. The Collective sent a delegation composed of different interest groups and individuals to participate in the COP 15 at Copenhagen. The Collective coalesced with other like minded groups and organizations with the objective of influencing the negotiations and bringing more voices for including agriculture in climate change negotiations.

A delegation of 20 representatives participated at the COP 15 meeting at Copenhagen, Denmark. The delegation included policy makers, public actors, media representatives, representative from judiciary, scientists, lobbyists, and representatives from the communities affected directly. A brief description of the activities undertaken during the COP 15 is as below:

Representation to the Official Delegation

Members of the Collective including Mr. Chandrashekhar Sahu, Minister of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry in Chhattisgarh Government and Mr. Anil Mahadev Dave, Member of Parliament met the official delegation of India and underlined the civil society and Collective concerns with regard to international negotiations. The official delegation assured us that they are aware of the sentiments and concerns of the farmers and civil society and will make all efforts to alley their apprehensions. The official delegation categorically said that India will strengthen the G 77 and will stick to its stand of heavy cuts in the emissions in developed countries and financial and technological support for the developing countries.

Side Event on Bringing Agriculture in Focus in Climate Change Negotiations

Unfortunately the atmosphere at the official centre (Bella centre) of the negotiation was dominated by business interests and agriculture was prominent by its absence. The Collective organized a workshop discussing why agriculture is important within the climate change discourse and why it should be debated at length in climate change negotiations. The speakers from different countries emphasized the importance of agriculture in ensuring food security in their country and region and how climate change has impacted agriculture.

During the meeting, the relevance of agriculture in Copenhagen negotiations was highlighted. In the agreements, agriculture is usually considered as an industrial agriculture, while the role of traditional agriculture is not taken into account. Only at Klima Forum few discussions around the theme of agriculture and Climate Change were held. The negotiations focused only on the industrialized agriculture which is characterized by high costs and high technology were the major concern is profitability and not the food security. The side event sought to bring the argument that agriculture is critical for food security in developing countries and should be given due emphasis in negotiations. It should bring definite commitment in terms of technology tansfer, financial support for mitigation and adaptation in agriculture for developing countries.

The speakers in the side event included Mr. Bhaskar Goswami, Mr. Malla Reddy (Action Fraterna, India), Mr. Aditi Kapoor (CAN SA), Ms. Nicole (MISEREOR, Germany). The workshop was facilitated by Mr. Ajay K. Jha (PAIRVI, India) and chaired by Mr. Vijay Pratap (SADED, India).

Mr. Bhaskar shared how India has turned into net importer of food from a self sufficient country on account of low priority to agriculture in policymaking. Mr. Malla Reddy emphasized conditions of cotton growers in Southern India and how they have been compelled to commit suicide year after year. Ms. Irene shared importance of agriculture in ensuring food security in the pacific. Mr. Paul highlighted the conflict between land for foodgrains production and its conversion into lands for agro-fuel production. Ms. Aditi brought out the argument that developed countries conception of agriculture is industrialized and highly mechanized agriculture for mass production and export, whereas in developing countries agriculture is a source of sustainability and food security in developing countries.

Agriculture’s potential to reduce current and stored GHG emissions was also discussed. The panelists also lamented the fact that agriculture has been relegated to the background in the negotiations and considering its centrality in ensuring food security and sustainable development in developing countries, it should be given due attention.

The workshop was attended by more than 300 people from different nationalities who took keen interest in the subject.


Media Engagement at COP 15

The Collective engaged the Indian media at Copenhagen and provided them valuable inputs on agriculture and climate change, climate change impacts in India, and civil society and farmers perspective on negotiations and expectations from COP 15. Bytes from the Collective were covered by a number of media agencies including Star News. The participation of Mr. Om Thanvi, noted media person, also helped to interact with various print and electronic media representatives from India. While the news on negotiations was covered widely in India print media, Mr. Thanvi’s editorials also raised many important issues regarding the social, economic and political aspects of climate change and COP 15.

Collective’s Exhibition Booth

Collective’s exhibition booth showcased the literature and other publications of the Collective. It also helped in engaging the visitors to the booth on informal exchange of ideas on many issues related to climate change and COP 15 negotiations. Members of our Collective made their best efforts to persuade each and every visitor towards bringing agriculture into focus in the Climate Change Negotiations.


Participation in the Climate Action Rally on 12th December at Copenhagen

A Global Day of Action Climate March was organised in Copenhagen on 12th December 2009. Thousands of activists from the Climate Justice Action and Climate Justice Now networks joined the climate march under the banner of SYSTEM CHANGE AND NOT CLIMATE CHANGE to denounce the climate negotiations as a predictable failure.

The protesters demanded radical changes in economic and political systems in order to address the climate crisis. The coming together of the Climate Justice Action and Climate Justice Now was an unprecedented coalition of social movements, NGOs and grassroots climate activists from around the world to demand alternatives to the failed market solutions being pushed by governments and big businesses. The similar kind of rallies were also organised in other parts of the world on the same day.


Participation in Energy Tour

An Energy tour was conducted by the Denmark Government to highlight its major energy efficient programmes mainly related to the Dairy Farming and Solid Waste Management. Five members of the Collective participated in Energy Tour to understand the model, method and means of reducing carbon emissions. The Chairman of Heisenberg and company which is looking after the environmental issues presented the case study on the productive use of waste to energy. The municipal solid waste dumped in the landfill sites was used to collect methane gas which was upgraded to be used as a fuel for the city transport buses.


Networking and Liasoning with Other Groups

The delegation organized meetings with various groups from India, Asia and Europe in order to bring convergence in the objectives and efforts. Largely all the groups have been part of advocacy efforts around the themes of climate justice and equity in the available carbon space. The “Beyond Copenhagen” delegation interacted with them with the objective of advocating centrality of the issues of agriculture and food security especially in the developing countries. Various formal and informal discussions with variety of groups resulted in more informed opinion and increased solidarity on the issues of bringing agriculture in focus in climate change negotiations. The immediate result of wide networking and liasoning efforts was substantially large presence at the side event of the delegation titled “Brining agriculture in focus in climate change negotiations”. Convinced on the importance to take the debate forward, many Asian and European groups expressed a keen desire for cross exchange of information and collaborative measures in the region. Strong willingness and probability for collaborative planning and programme emerged from the discussions.