14/11/17

Countries Reach Historic Agreement on Agriculture

The Fijian COP23 Presidency is proud to announce the adoption by the countries of an agreement on agriculture to address climate change and food security.

The agreement is the first substantive outcome and COP decision in the history of the UNFCCC processes on agriculture, after negotiations that have lasted more than six years. It establishes the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture to develop and implement new strategies for adaptation and mitigation within the agriculture sector, that will help reduce emissions from the sector as well as build its resilience to the effects of climate change.

Globally, agriculture accounts for approximately 19-29% of green house gas emissions and while it is difficult to quantify the amount of emissions attributed to smallholders, the need to enhance ambition to keep global warming well below 2 degrees means that leaving them out of the mitigation conversation is not an option. Indeed, smallholders must be a critical part of the solution as they produce 70% of the world’s food needs.

Climate change directly impacts smallholder farmers in the developing world, as well as impacts larger food security issues in regards to global hunger. Small-scale farmers in small island states are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. For them, the task of adaptation can be overwhelming. However, it is encouraging that the international community is offering support.

Countries identified key elements of agriculture in the agreement, including modalities for the implementation of the outcomes of the five in-session workshops on issues related to agriculture and other future topics that may arise from this work; methods and approaches for assessing adaptation, adaptation co-benefits and resilience; improved soil carbon, soil health and soil fertility under grassland and cropland; improved nutrient use and manure management towards sustainable and resilient agricultural systems; improved livestock management systems; and socioeconomic and food security dimensions of climate change in the agricultural sector.

With the support of their governments and through collaboration with others, both within their regions and internationally, small-scale farmers can take collective action to adapt and build the required resilience to climate change. This is what the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture will facilitate.