More than a billion farmers and their families around the world are on the front line of climate change. Their lives and livelihoods are directly affected by its impact, and they are also vital to implementing many of the solutions we need to help delay and deflect it.
Members of the Farming First coalition believe that:
- Agriculture generally, and farmers especially, are vital to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
- Increasing farm productivity in a sustainable way and decreasing waste and losses can significantly mitigate the effects of climate change, prevent deforestation, and protect biodiversity.
- Adopting proven sustainable agricultural practices reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and enhances the effect of natural carbon sinks.
- Further research and innovation are essential to invent the necessary adaptation and mitigation solutions.
Therefore, farmers must be involved in implementing climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. To support them, we must create sound and reliable incentives; we must share knowledge; and we must make adequate tools and technologies accessible to deliver both food and energy security.
As key stakeholders in agriculture, the world’s farmers, agronomists, scientists, engineers and industries are working together through an open coalition, to provide innovative solutions which reduce emissions from agriculture and adapt to climate change while increasing agricultural productivity to meet growing food needs.
Given growing food demands, we believe that rather than pursuing blanket reduction targets for GHG emissions in agriculture, governments should commit to climate change mitigation through improved and sustainable agricultural productivity across multiple factors including water use, carbon efficiency, improved nutrient use efficiency, and land-use intensity.
In response, the Farming First coalition would like to bring forward a series of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in accordance with its six-point action plan for enhancing sustainable development through agriculture.
The Farming First coalition calls on all governments active in the COP15 negotiations to:
1. Support the unique role of agriculture in the global climate change response.
- Ensure that agriculture is included within the UNFCCC negotiations at COP15 in Copenhagen.
- Refrain from setting an absolute emission reduction target for agriculture as an industry.
2. Encourage the use of all available and applicable climate change solutions.
- Promote agricultural best practices, particularly Integrated Crop Management (ICM), conservation agriculture, intercropping and fertilizer best management practices.
- Support increased investment in agricultural research, including links between agriculture and climate change, involving research centres, programmes and industry R&D.
3. Promote funding mechanisms which support the needs of all levels and forms of farming.
- Urge agricultural inclusion within multilateral financial mechanisms, potentially including the UNFCCC’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI).
- Promote voluntary carbon credit systems for GHG offsets from agriculture and land use to reward farmers for their contribution.
- Extend the scope of carbon markets to encompass the critical role of soil as a carbon sink.
- Establish international technology assessment and sharing programmes for climate change, as well as capacity-building programmes, including the development of local and global centres of excellence.
4. Reward resource-based productivity improvements as a direct contributor to climate-change effectiveness.
- Encourage productivity improvements – in a sustainable way – on existing agricultural land to avoid additional land clearing and give priority to the rehabilitation of degraded agricultural soils.
- Recognise the positive contribution of sustainable land management practices through increased coordinated agricultural research.
- Include robust methodologies and field-testing to overcome uncertainties around measurement, reporting and verification.
- Provide incentives to farmers and other stakeholders which reward adoption of sustainable and responsible production systems, better performing technologies and the efforts of early adopters.
5. Invest in capability sharing to encourage all farmers to play a role in climate change while safeguarding local and global food security.
- Enhance capacity building to implement sustainable land management policies and programmes.
- Create a dedicated adaptation fund for agriculture accessible to farmers’ organisations in developing countries.
Read the full Farming First climate change policy on the Farming First site here.