John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy on Climate, underscored the critical role of the agriculture and food sectors for achieving the global emissions goal of net zero by 2050.
One event highlighted: the potential merits of agroecology compared to other forms of CSA that may include soil-degrading chemicals.
Another event highlighted the findings of a FAO regional analysis of NDCs for countries in the Near East and North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The agriculture and food sectors are critical to achieve net zero emissions, and a series of events on the COP 26 sidelines explored aspects of this transition. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) convened the following discussions during the second week of the Glasgow Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 26), with one introducing a new private sector facility for climate action in agriculture and land use. An event on 8 November explored the ways in which emissions-intensive sectors, like agriculture and land use, can decarbonize, and how can the private sector help. The event, Engaging the private sector to implement agriculture and land use priorities of NDCs and NAPs, brought together private sector actors in the agriculture and land use sectors to discuss their work in developing public-private partnerships based on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). It was organized by the Scaling up Climate Ambition on Land Use and Agriculture (SCALA) programme, which is jointly run through the FAO and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
During the event, Birte Derrix, International Climate Initiative (IKI), German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), described the SCALA programme’s work to use NDCs and NAPs as pathways to build adaptation in the land use and agriculture sectors. Srilata Kammila, UNDP, introduced a new private sector Technical Assistance Facility for SCALA. The facility will draw on lessons learned under SCALA and apply them to non-SCALA countries, allowing those countries to explore different ways to engage with the private sector. She said least developed countries will be prioritized in the first round of the Technical Assistance Facility, but that all developing countries will eventually be able to apply for its services.
Participants at a 9 November event discussed the requirements for a green and climate-resilient agriculture sector to emerge. They identified the need for an integrated approach across thematic areas as well as at the institutional level, and ensuring that local work is supported by coherent government policies as well as adequate financing options.
John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy on Climate, underscored the critical role of the agriculture and food sectors for achieving the global emissions goal of net zero by 2050. Xiaoling Yang, on behalf of Xie Zhenhua, Special Envoy for Climate Change, China, highlighted that more than half of the world’s population makes its living through food systems, including its production and the supply/value chains. In closing remarks, Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General, called for system-based approaches in food production with greater socio-economic benefits, less impact on the environment, and more resilience against shocks and threats.
An event on 10 November, titled Voices from the Field: Participatory Approaches of Climate Smart Agriculture Practices (CSA), Farmer Field Schools (FFS) and indigenous Chakra Systems, highlighted the potential of community-based, bottom-up strategies in agriculture to implement and scale up climate change commitments. Participants noted: the potential merits of agroecology compared to other forms of CSA that may include soil-degrading chemicals; the need to integrate science and traditional knowledge and how best to do this; and best practices in the implementation of sustainable agriculture.
Discussions also referred to:
- national agriculture policy in Senegal currently incorporating agroecology to test its effectiveness;
- the importance of farmers’ and indigenous know-how and placing learning and decision making in farmers’ hands;
- “the myth” that soil-degrading synthetic fertilizers are needed for higher yields;
- the need for evidence-based technical and participatory interventions to make CSA sustainable;
- the need to recognize that some CSA represents improvements over traditional methods and a holistic approach requires connecting all angles, including research, FFSs, and CSA; and
- linking CSA and sustainable agriculture practices.
Another 10 November event discussed transformative action in the AFOLU sector and NDCs in the Near East and Africa. It highlighted the findings of a FAO regional analysis of NDCs for countries in the Near East and North Africa (NENA) and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and presented updates on countries’ revised NDCs for 2021 and actions undertaken to respond to challenges faced in the agriculture, forestry, and other land use (AFOLU) sectors.
The event sought to:
- provide a platform for sharing and advocacy on enhancing NDC coordination processes among sectors;
- explain how the UNFCCC’s Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture supports better integration and stronger agricultural priorities in NDCs; and
- present innovative elements in countries’ new or updated NDCs for accelerating action in the agriculture, land use, and water sectors.