Side Event, 1st December 2014
The COP 20 side event was co-organized by CECOEDECON, Beyond Copenhagen, Action aid International and Practical Action. Since there was no discussion on agriculture in COP 20/SBSTA, the side event hoped to get the attention of the country parties and negotiators as well as CSO participants on the issue of agriculture. The objective of the side event was to convey to the audience that the in the din of the climate smart agriculture, the agro-ecology is getting completely neglected, and the worst affected are women. Women have shown leadership in adapting to climate change and enhancing agro-ecology but the policymakers have failed them by prioritizing mitigation over the urgent needs of adaptation.
Opening the discussion moderator Ajay Jha said that women farmers have huge contribution in agriculture and food security and economy of the countries especially in South Asia, Africa and Latin America. Women have shown leadership in enhancing adaptive capacity of the agriculture through approaches which is ecologically sustainable and less dependent on external inputs, however, they face a number of challenges including that of climate change and policy design, lack of access and ownership being one of the most important among them. He emphasized that in South Asia where more than 65% women workforce is engaged in agriculture, less than 6% of them have land ownership. He added that in view of the fact that the cost of agriculture is rising steeply, agroecology also makes business case. Chris Handerson, from Practical action provided overall concept of agro-ecology, scenario of positioning of agro-ecology in agriculture and case studies of women farmers. He said that lots of farmers are adopting agro ecological approaches, and therefore, it is not something new being proposed. However, he added that existing system was loaded against small farmers, which presents a compelling need for policy reform and financial support. He recommended increased public investment in research, investment to agro ecological approaches and also hoped that a reformed market will also support agro ecological approaches.