Thursday, December 01, 2011

“Get out of the way” - World Bank

“Farmers need policies that remove obstacles to implementing climate-smart agriculture, and create synergies with alternative technologies and prac­tices.”

Among the millions of words being uttered at COP 17 this week, these are the most potent. They come from the World Bank.

The Bank believes it is time that the 194 nations attending the Durban meeting got serious about Agriculture – the life and death issue:

‘The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) places a high priority on agriculture. Article 2 of the treaty states that the “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations .......... should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient ensure that food production is not threatened......” It is thus surprising that a detailed treatment of agriculture has yet to enter any of the Agreements. The negotiat­ing text proposing an agriculture work program under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) was already available for COP 15 in Copenhagen but has yet to be adopted.

‘Addressing agriculture is critical to achieving global climate change goals, both in terms of adaptation and mitigation. Agriculture will be significantly impacted by climate change, and is crucial for global food security, rural development and poverty alleviation. It can also contribute significantly to meeting mitiga­tion targets. Food security, adaptation and mitigation can and should be dealt with in an integrated manner — thus the need to incorporate agriculture in future climate change agreements.

‘Key deliverables for COP 17 include:

• An agriculture work program under SBSTA that covers both adaptation and mitigation. It should be informed by science to enhance the role of agri­culture in achieving synergies between adaptation, mitigation and food security

• Text that makes crops and pasture eligible under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol

‘Placing agriculture in a global agreement would help provide a policy framework for fully incorporating agriculture into adaptation and mitigation strategies. Further work on numerous technical issues (e.g. moni­toring methods, identification of new technologies and approaches) and institutional issues (e.g. how to make sure benefits reach poor farmers) would be stimulated by such an agreement.’

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