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The daily meeting of farmers’ NGOs today underlined perception that progress on agriculture in the text appears to be slowing as compared with previous negotiation rounds. It is reported that the agriculture contact group has split into several sub-groups to develop different sections of the text. Negotiators are said to be re-discussing Non-paper 49, on mitigation and cooperative sectoral approaches, today and tomorrow.
The meeting also expressed concern over reports that certain parties pushing for the adoption of alternative paragraphs where food security is currently mentioned. This reference is therefore at risk of being lost.
It was also reported that in a brieing, a U.S. delegate speculated that a final Copenhagen agreed outcome would likely be structured like the Kyoto Protocol or the “Danish text” leaked yesterday by the Guardian and received with uproar from developing countries. The U.S. delagate said such a text would contain broad statements of principle over some 30 core pages, followed by a longer detailed Annex. Agriculture stands the greatest chance of being embedded in the Annex.
IFAP members engaged the LCA Chair yesterday at a meeting with civil society. The statement made on behalf of the world’s farmers’ organisations highlighted developing world farmers’ potential to contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation. In order to realise this potential, however, they would require capacity development and risk management assistance. It was proposed that farmers be given direct access to an adaptation fund to ensure they obtain the assistance they require.
FAO today hosted a side event titled, “Climate Change and Food Security: Unifying commitment and action in land-based sectors”. Panelists included FAO Director General Jacques Diouf, U.S. Minister of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, IFAP President Ajay Vashee, Director Gilberto Câmara of the Brazil National Institute for Space Research (NISR). The event was facilitated by Eva Kjer Hansen, Danish Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries. It was so well attended that many participants were forced to stand or sit on the floor.
All panelists emphasised the linkages between agriculture, food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Mr. Vilsak highlighted that the Obama Administration’s Rural Plan constituted one of its two domestic policy priorities. The administration is also committed to climate change and development in Africa. Mr. Vilsack called for a “new rural economy” that is country-led and -driven to be created both domestically and internationally.
mara emphasised the importance of sound MRV for the sound mitigation and adaptaiton policy planning. Under a deal signed between NISR and FAO at the openeing of the meeting, Brazil, a leader in climate change observation technologies will develop the Global Land Information System - an MRV system joining national systems in countries around the world.
In his statements, Mr. Diouf underlined sound MRV as the crucial link between climate change funding and country action. He reminded participants of UNFCCC Article 2, which states the convention’s ultimate objective as being “to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner”. The crucial interface between climate change and food security was recently reiterated at the World Food Summit in Rome. Mr. Diouf applauded advancements made towards recognising the importance of forests in the climate change equation under REDD, and urged similar progress to be made with regards to agriculture. Mr. Vashee posited farmers as the largest ecosystem managers in the world; rather than being condemned as the victims of climate change, they should be made part of the solution. Climate change adaptation and mitigation, he emphasised, is also an issue of poverty: a Copenhagen agreed outcome thus has to ensure farmers receive clear economic incentives, technology and knowledge transfer and risk management support.