Interventions: COP Interventions: COP 16...

"Agriculture in Climate Change Negotiations; What Can We Expect at Cancun?"

Workshop 5 – Round 2 at 4th Adaptation to Climate Change Conference as held in The Hague, The Netherlands, on 25th of November 2010

This particular workshop was organized by the Beyond Copenhagen coalition consisting of 40 Indian NGO’s, which do participate in the COP16 conference in Cancun, Mexico.

Agriculture has to be seen as source of food and of livelihood, as well as a vector for adaptation and mitigation in relation to climate change, both in developing and developed countries. Strangely enough, agriculture does not figure in the UNFCCC negotiations. However, when it at all emerges in the climate discussions, agriculture and livestock in developing countries are being presented as main contributor to the climate crisis. This is based on the presumed large number of inhabitants as well as number of livestock. That the cattle in Southern countries are quite different in their composition, food habits and emission levels, is a factor often overlooked in the climate change debate. Also the role of subsistence agriculture in developing countries can not be compared to the northern high external input agriculture, of course. Nevertheless these differences are bypassed.

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Beyond Copenhagen Organized a Side Event in COP 16 Entitled 'Agriculture in the UNFCCC: Focusing on Small Holder Farmers and Producers'

30th November 2010

In the COP15 Agriculture received a lot of attention but the focus was on industrial agriculture and mitigation. At the global level more than three fourths of farmers are small holders and it is not certain whether they will be able to take the benefit of credits for mitigation. Before small farmers can take action for mitigation they need crucial support to adapt to the rapidly changing and unpredictable climate and reduce risks from extreme weather events. In different parts of the world there are issues related to weather information, extension services, risk reduction, water & credit availability, agricultural incomes, land tenure, social security that have to be taken into consideration while formulating adaptation policies even at country level.

This side event focused on needs of small holders and producers from the climate change negotiations. Smallholder farmers and food producers, who are at the receiving end of erratic weather leading to harvest failures, can also be the carbon stewards. While efforts are needed to include cropping systems in REDD++ and improve carbon sequestration methodologies for small holder farms, there is need to have a broader focus in interpreting mitigation potential of farms. Crop productivity and resulting Carbon sequestration depends not just on improved seeds and technologies, but also on critical inputs such as irrigation in rain-fed regions, protection structures in coastal or wild life areas, landscaping in water logged areas, reliable weather forecasting, and appropriate insurance packages. Will such inputs be eligible for adaptation funding? Mitigation potential of agriculture also has strong links to trade, product pricing and policies that influence land use. While identifying low carbon agricultural pathways it is essential to widen the scope of analysis beyond carbon assimilation to consider the aspects of State sovereignty, food security and safety (including those of producers), environmental integrity, social impacts and effective involvement of marginalized communities in policy making.