Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Climate Smart Agriculture at Cancun

While AGDAY 2009 at Copenhagen was focused on ‘a special arrangment for Agriculture’ based on its ‘specificity’ (its cobenefits), in 2010 at Cancun these cobenefits are being integrated into planning. For example, integrated farm forestry shows promise. “Enhanced agroforestry schemes in Africa have benefitted the environment, farmers and food security. In Niger over 4.8 million hectares of millet and sorghum are being grown in agro-forests and in Malawi maize yields have increased by up to 280%,” says the Summary of the Agriculture and Rural Development Day. These are examples of what is called “Climate smart agriculture” or practical solutions for triple wins (co-benefits): adaptation, mitigation and food security. But where was the driver for this change – the market? It’s there, but it has to share the stage with many other agendas. “Policy makers cannot afford to neglect … the potential for carbon sequestration through agriculture. Ground work is needed to develop a framework to build confidence and attract resources. There is a need to use a range of instruments to create incentives for farmers, including insurance, credit and direct and indirect payments. Policies should ensure multiple benefits and access to markets to increase farmer income while improving mitigation, for example by more efficient use of inputs… Increased investments in climate smart institutions, policies, programmes and incentives should be harmonised at all levels to assist in implementing mitigation and carbon sequestration measures that benefit farmers.”
Australia is world standard in having gaps in the data: among the “significant knowledge gaps” facing global agriculture is listed “the potential of carbon sequestration” and the need is for “interdisciplinary research that draws on the best of traditional knowledge and science to achieve more sustainable food and farming systems.”
We call it “Collaborative Science”.
Meanwhile, over at the main stadium where ssues such as emissions reductions targets and renewable energy occupy all the time of the big players, smaller issues like food and water are being noticed: “UNFCCC negotiations now recognise the
importance of food security, adaptation and productivity enhancements for agriculture…”
The Agday meeting – attended by 400 delegates from diverse organisatons - declared the following actions urgent if first order agricultural issues are to be integrated into the global action plan: 1. “Fast track financing” to support agriculture adaptation and mitigation activities.
2. Action on food security must be included in any post
2012 agreements. 3. Forestry programs (like REDD+) should recognise the links between agriculture and forestry, and promote sustainable agriculture intensification and reduce deforestation, while improving rural livelihoods. 4. Trading mechanisms such as the CDM need to include agriculture.
The Communique ended with a plea for partnerships between public and private sector, especially farmers, and civil society organizations. “Building bridges between scientific and traditional knowledge is the essential starting point for success.”

No comments: