Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Climate change cannot be addressed without considering gender and water/energy/food security issues, as all these three aspects are mutually dependent parts of a triangle.
Interlinkages between gender, climate, and water/energy/food security
The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) urges donors to reconsider their role and become investors into the future of the planet and of our children.
Bonn, Germany, 4 Mar 2013. Stressing the importance to understand the links between gender issues, climate change and food security, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, also highlights how gender aspects are integrated into the UNFCCC's guidelines for National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs). She was video interviewed by the secretariat after a panel discussion at GIZ gender week.
// Links between gender, food security and climate change
Platform secretariat: Reflecting on what has been discussed tonight in terms of climate adaptation, where do you see the most critical link between gender on the one hand and climate change and food security on the other hand?
Christiana Figueres: It's not 'on the one hand' and 'on the other hand'. The fact is that gender, climate, food security, energy security and water security are all absolutely interlinked. They all either get worse together or we can address them successfully and improve them all together.
What we do to address climate, is one point of triangle. What are the gender sensitive needs and data is another point of the triangle. Water, food and energy is the third point. All of those three aspects of the triangle are absolutely interlinked.
// Incorporating gender issues into National Adaptation Plans
Platform secretariat: In terms of your work on the guidelines for national climate change adaptation plans, what is your approach to including gender aspect into NAPAs?
C.F.:Watch The national adaptation plan – and that is the mandate that I have received – needs to incorporate gender sensitive data, gender sensitive needs assessment, and eventually they will move forward to a gender sensitive policy. But that policy needs to be based on the data gathering and on the needs assessment.Those two pillars would be then used to define the gender policy aspect of the adaptation plan.
Secretariat: Is it more a mainstreaming approach?
C.F.:Watch Well, you can call it whatever you want. You know, I don't like using buzz words, because everybody is using buzz words, and eventually, we either mean everything or nothing with those buzz words. The point is that if you are going to move forward towards policy of adaptation in the developing country, there is no doubt you need to base that on specific needs that women have in those countries and on the data that is collected for the reality of women in those country. If you want to you can call it mainstreaming, I prefer to go exactly to the action.
// Social impact of climate change__ Time for action
Secretariat: Thinking of the National Adaptation Plans and the guidelines, there might be some fundamental changes in least development countries, and the climate change would ultimately change the whole set-up of these societies. Do the guidelines have any provisions for that, how that change can come about?
C.F.:Watch It's not that climate is going to change societies, it is that climate change is changing societies. In particular, in least developing countries and in small island states, in sub-Saharan Africa – in all the countries that are the most vulnerable. This is not something in the future, it is already is a reality. And in that sense we need to think about two things at the same time. We need to think of how do we bring down global emissions – because this is what is causing the change, and we need to begin – and that is what the NAPs and NAPAs do – we need to begin thinking about how do we support communities, families, societies to adapt to all those effects that are by now already inevitable.
[Climate change]is not about a donation. This is about an investment that has a very high rate of return
// Message to donor community__ Climate change is a highly profitable investment
Secretariat: We are working for the Global Donor Platform. Do you have any suggestions for donors with regard to promoting gender aspects in climate change and food security?
C.F.:Watch I have two suggestions there. The first is that the stakeholders that you call donors do not see themselves as donors. This is not about a donation. This is about an investment that has a very high rate of return, because this is the only way for future generations to become productive citizens. So it is not a donation, this is an investment into future of this planet and of our children.
Point number two: what investors should keep in mind, is that there is a three part triangle: what we do to address climate, is one point of triangle. What are the gender sensitive needs and data is another point of the triangle, and water, food and energy is the third. All of those three aspects of the triangle are absolutely interlinked. If you are going to improve the world situation on water, energy or food, you cannot do that without taking into account the gender aspect of water, food or energy. And if you do those two things, you are by definition already beginning to address climate. Conversely, you cannot address climate without necessarily addressing food, water and energy issues. And if you are going to do this, you need to address the gender issue as well. So those three parts of the triangle are absolutely interlinked, and the quicker we all understand that, and the quicker we approach the solution from an integrated point of view, the better off we are going to be.
The interview was conducted by Pascal Corbé of the Platform secretariat.
CCAFS Commissioner and Special Advisor to the Chancellor and Provost for Sustainability Sciences, University of Madison-Wisconsin
How the recommendations contribute to actions and cooperations among different actors.
CCAFS recommendations on knowledge and information systems
CCAFS Commissioner talks about how the Commission's recommendations are mobilising action in a wide array of communities
Online/Madison, Wisconsin, 14 Feb 2013. Molly Jahn, professor in the Laboratory of Genetics and Department of Agronomy at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, discusses the importance of knowledge systems for sustainable agriculture and development. She provides many examples where the seven recommendations by the commission instituted by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) have led to new partnerships and actions - such as the fields of waste reduction or information systems.
// Knowledge systems for sustainability
Platform secretariat: Molly, you are working on the initiative "Knowledge Systems for Sustainable Land Management". Can you explain what that is and what donors should know about it?
Molly Jahn: We understand that donors and many others are focused on words like sustainable development. We understand that these opportunities to actually improve conditions on the ground for human beings and the natural resource base - the environment they depend on - is probably the most important thing we're going to do in this century. Our ability to track the conditions of people and their resource base through time is relatively unsophisticated.
Watch. Knowledge systems for sustainability is an international collaborative, made up of a number of major partners who have an interest in this and the capabilities to address these challenges - knowing better what kind of real benefits investments that are made in development actually create. It's a broad collaborative and unusual in the sense that governments and government entities - like research organisations that connect to governments - are involved but also development organisations and projects. They understand that every intervention we make in a development mode is an experiment to some degree.
Modern project monitoring and evaluation approaches create a possible platform for adaptive management.
We are a group of major players who are committed to receiving the information from the experiments we do in development in a more systematic way, and in leveraging very large investments made in global monitoring and analytics into development challenges towards food security for all within a long-term safe space for the planet.
// Donors' involvement in knowledge systems
Secretariat: Don't you think donors are under pressure to roll out and monitoring is a bit beside the point? Watch.
M.J.: We are interacting with a number of donors who are interested in modern approaches to project monitoring and evaluation. The old model of a post-hoc assessment is very insufficient. Frequently, a post-hoc assessment only covered one aspect: Did we raise the yield of the crop? Without understanding, did those increases in yields leave people better off? We assume they did but that data is complicated.
What we are finding is donors who also understand the need to create learning systems within projects, as they are unfolding. Modern project monitoring and evaluation approaches create a possible platform for adaptive management of the project and eventually of the activities on the ground. Far from being something that's done from the outside in, we have partners that are interested in leveraging what they do already to be accountable and to assure that their projects are managed properly towards larger, longer-term, more sustained beneficial impacts connected to adaptive management and even adaptive governance.
// Private sector involvement in knowledge systems
Secretariat: Where does the private sector factor in all this?
M.J.: Let me go back a bit to the recommendations set out by the commission. They could, we believe, move food systems towards better outcomes for human beings and for the planet - including reduced greenhouse gas emissions. One of those recommendations - number seven - focused on integrated information systems in human and environmental dimensions. This recommendation is foundational for everything else we're concerned about.
So, when you think about better tracking of conditions on the ground in real time and better abilities to navigate across different dimensions: What are the public health conditions that people on the ground experience? What is the condition of the natural resources upon which their livelihoods depend? How are yields moving over time? How are extreme weather events affecting yields? Those are the kind of questions that this network has come together to explore.
// Example of private sector involvement__ Weather information
Watch. Any scan on the history of innovation shows that there is typically an opening that occurs with public investments but that to scale those benefits, that opportunity transitions to benefits for the private sector. You can think about the transition of weather information: From a research mode in the first half of the 20th century to a multi-billion dollar industry with many different kinds of beneficial impacts - from aviation to investment - as we mainstreamed the provision of weather information from the public sector activities to the private sector.
We are now bringing in capabilities in a way that I have never seen before towards development challenges.
Now, there is still a large private sector investment in something like weather and there are many different ways in which the private sector can leverage those public sector investments towards value in a for-profit mode. So, think about this pipeline, both in terms of the starting technologies and then its delivery to impact. And think also of this spread of that capability across the globe from developed country contact to developing country contact. You can understand what types of opportunities it is that our network intends to streamline in a way.
Weather information is an incredibly important kind of information for every agricultural producer on the planet: For a smallholder in a very vulnerable, marginalised part of the world or a very large-scale farmer in a very well-endowed setting. Weather really matters. Weather's changing: We're experiencing extreme events in a really unprecedented way. Even the experiences of the most sophisticated agricultural producer may not be a guide to the conditions that producer is experiencing now.
We are working to mobilise individual holders of capacity, whether in the public or private sector, towards opportunities like that. Of course, in that opportunity is a challenge. We know that weather patterns are changing. We know we are seeing increased intensity and frequency of extreme events. Those are threats everywhere on earth. To some extent, we can mitigate those threats but those are long-term, incremental actions.
There are urgent opportunities from the private sector connected to adaptation. It's really that blend of opportunities and that blend of partners that we're intending to support.
// CCAFS recommendations__ Beginning, not end of stepping into action
Secretariat: What's the outcome of the monitoring of the pick-up of the recommendations?
M.J.: We structured our whole engagement with this commission to maximise the possibility that these seven recommendations, bundled as a portfolio of action, would pick up and go. One more report on the shelf we did not need.
Watch. What has been very exciting, is that while that launch of the commission recommendations was the wrap-up of one part of the process, it was very intentionally the beginning of another. That really was the mobilisation of a number of global communities into action around each of those recommendations.
Whatever set of actions we undertake, we have to make sure that we address the very vulnerable population's need today.
The recommendations understand the obvious truth: That our food systems are systems. That there are series of actions that relate to intensified and improved productivity, reduced waste, the need to reshape demand from agriculture towards health and improved environmental outcomes and the need to know what we're doing in something like real time. In a nutshell, that's what our recommendations were as well as to realise that increased investments is essential. It's not just the typical kinds of development investment but increased investment in the opportunities which do scale also to the private sector. We have to realise that the world's most vulnerable people not automatically benefit from any of these actions. We have to remember that today people are dying and today people are threatened. Whatever set of actions we undertake, we have to make sure that we address that very vulnerable population's need today.
// Example of pick-up__ Waste reduction
What has happened since is very exciting, I think. Each recommendation has catalysed a community and yet these communities are moving forward together. Think about the issue of waste in food systems. It's an issue everywhere on earth: It's an issue in the developing world, both post-harvest and pre-harvest as well as post-farm gate into retail, and also a huge issue in the developed world. What I've seen since our recommendation on waste has come forward, is a clear recognition that we really can't talk about food systems in the future without thinking about waste.
// Example of pick-up__ Intensified productivity
Likewise, I've seen the recommendations galvanise the recognition of the linkages to intensified productivity - whether it's in the developed or the developing world context.
// Example of pick-up__ Information systems
Finally, the need for integrated, modern information systems: They're related to decision-making. Those decisions may be the smallest-scale decisions made by smallholders in the developing world or they may be large-scale policy decisions. Ultimately, those decisions aggregate into the trajectory of our societies in a globally closed system to determine the future we will receive.
We're excited that the launch of the recommendations has been a beginning of a series of coordinated actions that are working in catalytic ways towards new types of partnerships and communities and yet they're occurring in relationship to each other.
// Addressing a perceived vagueness of the CCAFS recommendation
Secretariat: What do you say to claims that the recommendations are too vague? Should donors rather be told what not to do?
M.J.: There are already billions of dollars being invested in this phase. Of course, many of the donors or multilateral organisations are overseeing that investment.
Watch. Now, since March 2012, when this bundle of recommendations was announced, it's not been about whether we will do it - we are doing it. We are taking action under these recommendations. The recommendations on information systems or intensified productivity within planetary boundaries are good examples of where donors are taking existing investments, each one of which has a value, and coming together in new kinds of partnerships: For example, across the public-private boundary, across government, beyond development organisations. They recognise clear alignment - sometimes even overlap - of action.
Each recommendation has catalysed a community.
I'll give you an example: I've worked in development and food security my whole career and have had a set of partners that have supported my work in development. In the last year, for the first time in my career, I have been able to enlist the active collaboration of organisations that ordinarily would not be focusing in development. These are advanced research providers, who are very interested in understanding the limits of our planet for productivity. Yet, they have not ever understood the kind of development and food security focus that I have worked on as extremely relevant to their work, for example with very sophisticated earth observation systems or tracking human dimensions across space and time.
We are now bringing in these types of capabilities in a way that I have never seen before towards development challenges.
For the first time in my career, I have been able to enlist the active collaboration of organisations that ordinarily would not be focusing in development.
// Example__ Crises as a catalyst for change
Of course, some of our crises are helping. In my country, the US, for example, the food price spikes that led to political instability in many parts of the world, heightened the awareness of critical linkages between food security in the developing world and lots of other kinds of security in my country. So, far from being vague, these recommendations give us space to convene major players with major capabilities that have never come together before - across national boundaries, across scientific disciplinary boundaries - and bringing those capabilities into development in new ways. It puts at my disposal billions of dollars in investment that weren't harnessed before in my community.
Another example: This year, we are seeing organised interest on the part of the private sector in where emerging market that really sustainable development might occur. We're ready for those conversations, thanks to the recommendations.
The interview was conducted by Pascal Corbé of the Platform secretariat.
Examples on climate finance from Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP).
Climate finance for smallholders to increase resilience
Director of IFAD's Environment and Climate Division discussing climate-smart agriculture and the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP)
Online/Rome, 18 Dec 2012. To address the devastating effects that climate change can have on smallholder farmers, multiple donors hve come together to increase these farmers' resilience to climate change: The Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) aims to scale-up successful "multiple-benefit" approaches and improve the capacity of at least eight million farmers.
The two main reasons for focusing on small-holders is that they are hit hardest by climate change and that supporting smallholder farmers could also reduce emissions, Elywn Grainger-Jones said.
The Director of the Environment and Climate Division at IFAD objected the notion that climate-smart agriculture and specifically ASAP were “old wine in new bottles”, a mere rebranding exercise. He conceded that 80 per cent of the tools and techniques climate-smart agriculture uses were well-known and proven – but “they were often used without a consciousness around climate change”. These included agro-forestry, land restoration techniques or biogas.
20 per cent of what climate-smart agriculture uses were new tools, e.g. climate forecasting, detailed vulnerability assessments, risk management tools or longer-term focus to projects, he said in the interview. These new tools change the way of understanding and doing projects.
Grainger-Jones also drew attention to the highly political and institutionalised context of some of the climate change discussions. This setting contributes to the policy framework lagging behind in addressing negative effects smallholders have on climate change such as land degradation or deforestation. A focus on better communication could improve this situation.
// Mixed results at UNFCCC conference in Doha
Platform secretariat: What is your take on the UN climate change negotiations from Doha? Could small-holder agriculture have been included in a better way there? Watch.
Elwyn Grainger-Jones: It’s really hard to know how to respond to that question as a professional working on these issues. I’m really torn between talking up the process, because the process is quite weak and needs that kind of positive talk to keep people focused, to keep energy, to keep the belief that this system can somehow deliver. I’m torn between that and the science of this, which is that we are moving woefully slowly. There doesn’t seem to be enough political will in the system right now to generate the kind of action that’s needed.
We're on the wrong trajectory and it doesn’t feel like there’s enough political will [regarding climate change agreements].
It's either the glass half-full or the glass half-empty. The glass half-full is that the process continues, there wasn’t a breakdown in the talks, there were some agreements. For example, the Kyoto Protocol continues to survive in a form, there were some agreements on how the negotiation process will proceed.
The glass half-empty is that we’ve got very little time left now to start peaking our emissions and start decreasing them. We're on the wrong trajectory and it doesn’t feel like there’s enough political will.
If you ask me how do I feel about this conference on the perspective of smallholder farmers: The world is woefully, woefully short of what kind of action is needed at the international level to create a framework to avoid dangerous climate change. It's smallholder farmers who, unfortunately, are on the front line of that. They weren’t in the conference, they weren’t in the room, but their spirits were there. It’s going to be them that’s going to be - it is them already who are - hit particularly hard with their reliance on natural resources.
// About ASAP
Secretariat: Elwyn, you’re also in charge of IFAD’s agriculture Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). How does that link to Doha and what about climate finance? Watch.
E.G.: Part of the glass half-full story, as I was just saying to you, is that there is quite a lot of encouraging action going on on the ground, which is in many cases in stark contrast to a certain politics of mistrust and lack of action in the international negotiation process. What we are finding at IFAD is that there is a tremendous research activity and demand from the communities we’re working with to really think through what climate change means for them.
What IFAD has done is set up a really ambitious new programme, the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). In a nutshell, this is a new window - as part of our core replenishment process - where governments and donor countries provided fast-track climate finance directly into IFAD for us to get to smallholder farmers. The sense that we have is that smallholder farmers are not getting much of this climate finance. If we can make them big recipients, we can make a case with a really strong monitoring and evaluation system and a strong evidence base, that smallholder farmers should be really significant recipients of climate finance, because of two reasons.
// Why smallholders need to be included in climate change discussions
Watch. First, they’re on the frontline of climate change, so they’re really important people to help manage climate impact. They are affected directly by the storms, droughts, floods, extremely hot or extremely cold days.
Secondly, if we do things the right way with them, a lot of the adaptation actions that we will be supporting smallholder farmers to do also are pretty good at reducing emissions.
Smallholders are on the frontline of climate change.
So, one way or another, these 500 million smallholder farms, feeding a third of humanity, just simply have got to be part of the climate story. You asked how it related to Doha: Basically, what this programme is doing is taking fast-track climate finance, demonstrating how getting that to smallholder farmers is a really good thing to do and then we hope to make the case to the green climate funds and other future funding sources, that we should not overlook smallholder farmers. That’s really the link to Doha.
// Five donors participate in ASAP
Watch. Just in terms of the programme itself, we have five donors and we’re extremely grateful for their support. We have contributions from the UK, Canada, Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands’ contribution is being finalised. We have about $250 million in firm pledges and an additional $80 million as a conditional pledge from the UK. That’s big enough to co-finance about a third of our future programme. That’s a very abrupt and really quite striking programme of institutional change within IFAD to tool up, to make sure that at least a third of our programmes are very much best practice what is climate smart agriculture.
// Example project from Mozambique
Secretariat: How does the programme progress so far? Watch.
E.G.: The programme just started now. We had the finalised contributions from various donors over the last few weeks, actually. We’ve already made one contribution to Mozambique: There was a value chain project at about $45 million. We added $5 million from ASAP through grant finance because ASAP is a grant finance instrument. This was to really help that project in Mozambique think through, how to make a climate smart value chain project. That's already gone to our board and that will be starting to disburse very soon.
// Other projects around the world
Watch. We’re very quickly designing projects in a whole bunch of other countries. We’ve started design work in Bolivia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Mali, Vietnam, Yemen and we’re about to start design work in Bangledesh, Djibouti, Liberia and Nigeria. All with the intention of developing on average $10 million grants to these countries and having those grants approved by our board within the next year. We hope to approve about ten to twelve projects in the next year, worth about $116M in total, co-financing about $350 million of IFAD operations. The bottom line is: We aim to very rapidly mobilise in this programme. There’s not a programme this big that’s focusing on smallholder farmers and climate change adaption. But there are a lot of programmes on climate change generally which involve lots of projects.
We’ve got to develop a conceptual framework for the issue of climate change and agriculture that makes sense to agriculturalists.
What’s important to us in IFAD is that this is much more than the sum of its parts. There is quite an intensive monitoring and evaluation attached to this, all with the view to make the case that this works. And what is "this"? What is building climate resilience for smallholder farmers? We aim to describe it, we aim to measure it and we aim to communicate it. And that’s extremely important to us to do that quite quickly, so that, if as anticipated, more of future north-south or east-west public finance transfers, such as aid, are anchored around climate change, that this important community of smallholders isn’t overlooked as they so often are. Because they’re not the elites, they’re not the power brokers, they’re not the ones most often with big influence in governments. So, we realy want them to be major recipients and essentially there at the finance table.
// Critical mass needed for adaptation programmes
Secretariat: So you say that size does matter in terms of climate-related agriculture approaches. Watch.
E.G.: I think it’s important - at least institutionally - to have a critical mass. If this programme in IFAD had maybe $30-40 million, we’d have been able to do a bunch of smaller projects, but it’s actually about a third of our last replenishment. That’s big enough to generate the kind of internal incentives and recognition of this issue that was needed to help IFAD move even more rapidly in the direction of being a genuinely climate-smart organisation. And believe you me, this is a challenge task in any development organisation. Climate change is not necessarily an intuitive issue. There is still some confusion out there amongst partners and even some of us here at IFAD about what’s really different about climate-smart agriculture. Is this simply a relabeling of what we always did? Is this old wine in a new bottle?
// Climate change discussions in agriculture__ Old wine in new bottles?
Secretariat: You mentioned already that there’s a number of donors in the ASAP program. Do you see any particular utility in involving the Platform, going to the next Platform Annual General Assembly? Watch.
E.G.: I’ve spoken to a lot of country programme managers in IFAD, partners in agriculture and development organisations and my feeling is that we need to do something to just clarify this issue. I am really struck by how many good agriculturalists will come to me and say: 'Isn’t this what we always did? Isn’t this a rebranding exercise, because this is where the money is coming from now?' I think we’ve seriously got to do something to develop a conceptual framework for the issue of climate change and agriculture that makes sense to agriculturalists, that makes sense within the sector.
Smallholders are not the elites, the power brokers, the ones with big influence in governments.
Using the old wine in new bottles analogy I made, the answer I tend to give is that it is maybe 80 per cent old wine in new bottles. It is using tools and techniques that we’ve developed over many years such as agro-forestry, land restoration techniques, biogas. There are all these techniques - maybe 30, 40, 50, hundreds of such techniques - but the thing was, they were often used without a consciousness around climate change.
All we’re doing is adding a new grape variety that’s maybe 20 per cent of that new bottle - and that 20 per cent new grape variety is things like climate forecasting, much more detailed vulnerability assessments, a much great emphasis on risk management and risk management tools, a much longer-term focus to the project or policy design so that we’re thinking within time scales of 20 years, so you can have a trend where actually average temperature increases effect the kind of investment decisions you would make, rather than the more typical short term. We’re not using the past as a guide to the future, we’re using estimates of what will happen in the future. If you add that 20 per cent, it changes the taste of the whole bottle, because the way in which you’d use all these tools that we’ve developed in the past may be quite different. You would locate your water buffers in different places, you'd locate your small scale irrigation sites, your water entrapment sites, in a quite different way.
// Climate-smart agriculture__ Example from Vietnam
Watch. Vietnam is a really fascinating example here. We’re developing, using ASAP support, a project with the Vietnamese authorities in the Mekong Delta. Now, the Mekong Delta is going to be hit very hard by climate change. It’s very important to Vietnam’s production systems: It’s about half of its agricultural production overall and 80 per cent of its rice exports. Now, sea level is going to hit it, it’s already inundating coasts, and one meter will inundate about three quarters of the arable land in the delta. The saline is going to limit rice production. The temperature increases are meaning that the river flow is decreasing, so water is backing up inland and affecting the salinity of inland waterways. The temperature increases are also affecting rice production, during the flowering period, an extremely sensitive period for rice. The droughts are longer and there are longer and hotter summer periods. As much as 90 per cent of the delta will be subject to flooding.
ASAP is not just old wine in new bottles. We’re adding a new grape variety that’s maybe 20 per cent of that new bottle - and that changes the taste of the whole bottle.
Why am I saying all this? Because a climate sensitive and aware approach to development in the delta will not just look at the seed varieties, which is an unfortunately familiar way of thinking about climate smart agriculture, that we can somehow maintain current systems exactly as they are, but with better technologies, they will enable those systems to survive. In the delta, that would involve finding a kind of super seed of rice which instead of withstanding a few days underwater, will withstand two weeks underwater. They’ll be far more saline resistant to withstand higher and deep temperatures, they’ll be more drought-resistant, and can you believe it, after all this, we’ll also have better yields for people.
Climate-smart agriculture challenges fundamental - even ideological - approaches to farming.
Well, we can’t just rely on that. We’ve got to work on the seed varieties, but we’ve also got to try to work on diversification of these systems and look at the whole ecosystem in the delta and think about income and land use diversification, we’re not just thinking about rice or shrimp/rice mix or agriculture in highly saline areas, a much more profound approach to management that goes beyond traditional water groups. We build adaptive capacity.
It’s a fairly long way of saying that when you actually mix that 20 per cent with the 80 per cent you’re looking at very significant farming system changes, in addition to using technology to make the current system or new system work better. That makes climate change, climate-smart agriculture, actually quite a challenging issue, because it goes well beyond essentially layering a few things onto our current system of farming. It really challenges fundamental - even ideological - approaches to farming. It’s in many ways quite challenging to the traditional green revolution approach to farming, which can be pretty cookie-cutter and focused on input-intensive way of managing and a not particularly diverse way of managing landscapes.
// Communicating climate-smart agriculture
Secretariat: So do projects have a pretty strong communications component, if you talk about ideology and behaviour change? Watch.
E.G.: Let's not forget that because of a lack of support, investment and sometimes education, smallholders are often a significant driver of land degradation and deforestation. There are some good questions to be asked with a growing body of evidence, why it is that the policy framework tends to lag a little bit behind that. We are seeing quite a significant shift in mindsets around what is agriculture, but that’s still not as widespread as you’d think it would be.
What’s the right solution there? Often, I’ve been in meetings where there’s a room full of technical experts discussing how we can change mindsets, change the paradigm, can turn climate change and agriculture from being sort of tack-on issues to the main business of feeding the world to really core issues. We go beyond lip service to these issues in some quarters. What you need in the room are communication experts and the kind of skills that are involved in political campaigning. But remember that many of those involved in this issue are UN organisations and there are limits which we must respect. In a sense, our role is to develop the technical understanding of the issues and to be able to share those technical understandings of the issues.
There’s still a lot we can do to bridge a disconnect between the agriculture and the environment climate stories.
// What the Platform can do to advance climate-smart agriculture
Watch. I think there’s a role that the Global Donor Platform can play, because you’re bringing together many of those that are very much at the centre of at least the donor community’s engagement in agriculture. There’s still a lot we can do to bridge a disconnect between the agriculture, the environment and the climate stories. I think that donors are more and more putting money into climate-smart agriculture as it's often described. There’s a lot we can do to coordinate those efforts to try and develop a common understanding of the issues so that there is a more coordinated approach.
At the moment, it feels a little scattered, a little disjointed. I would like to see much closer cooperation between agencies and donors, to be able to take this forward. Again, all the efforts add up to more than the sum of the parts. I’m really hoping that at the Annual General Assembly in January, the session on climate change, which will be myself, Gordon Conway and some others, will have a very active and informal discussion in the room. We can think a lot more about how we can try and rejuvenate the network that was active in the past and still do some activity around climate change, and think about what it means in terms of the core understanding of agriculture, too.
The interview was conducted by Pascal Corbé of the Platform secretariat.
CCAFS Commissioner and State Minister and Minister's Advisor at the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture
How the recommendations from the Commission are picked up and monitored.
Implementing and monitoring CCAFS recommendations
CCAFS Commissioner talks about how the Commission's recommendations are being picked up and tracked - and what donors can do to help
Online/Addis Abeba, 8 Jan 2013. Tekalign Mamo, State Minister and Minister's Advisor at the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture, is one of the commissioners of the Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). He talks about the Commission’s extended mandate and the implementation of its recommendations after a year has passed. By introducing the soil fertility mapping programme in Ethiopia, Mamo provides a concrete example from the field.
// Soil fertility mapping in Ethiopia
Platform secretariat: Thank you very much, Tekaling, for joining us here today. Maybe you can give us an idea on how the soil fertility programme that you run for the government of Ethiopia works?
Tekalign Mamo: The essence of the soil fertility mapping work, that we started about half a year ago, is about mapping the fertility status of agricultural lands so that we can be able to identify the deficient nutrients and based on that recommend the proper fertiliser packages for the farmers.
This is also complimented by the establishment of straight and blended fertiliser plants in the country, which are progressing. Their mandate will be to produce the fertilisers that we recommend from the mapping work.
Secretariat: Maybe you can give us a concrete example from the programme and how it came into action on a particular example.
T.M.: What we discovered through the execution of this mapping work is that the organic matter content of our soils has actually deteriorated very, very fast. We noticed that we also have to strategise the greater integrated soil fertility management approach, so that we cannot rely of chemical fertilisers. Using chemical fertilisers alone will not lead us to achieving our targets. By doing that, we also hope that we will build the soil organic carbon content to the extent that we can capture and also sequester carbon. The soil holds about twice the amount of carbon than the atmosphere holds. This integrated approach fits very well into the commission’s recommendations.
While still keeping the economy going, the idea is to cut the greenhouse gas emissions in emerging industries and agriculture intensification activities by 64 per cent by 2030.
Secretariat: Do you think that you are catching up with what climate change has forced you to do?
T.M.: Yes, we are catching up. The country doesn’t emit a large amount of greenhouse gases. But even then, the country has developed a bit and is putting into action a climate-resilient green economy. This has been presented during the Durban conference and now we are implementing this. The ministry of agriculture is implementing the agriculture part, while the ministry of transport, industry and others are also taking on their shares. The whole agenda is to to reduce the potential greenhouse gas emission by 64 per cent by 2030. The potential amount if we had left things as business as usual, then it would have escalated to a certain level. So, while still keeping the economy going, the idea is to cut the greenhouse gas emissions in emerging industries and agriculture intensification activities by 64 per cent.
// The CCAFS commission recommendations
Secretariat: I would like to touch upon the recommendations that the CCAFS Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate did about a year ago. You are one of the commissioners. From your experience in East Africa and in particular Ethiopia, what is the status of the pickup of the recommendation? How is it taken on? Watch.
T.M.: It is being taken up. First of the all, they are related to in some way to agricultural activities that these countries are pursuing. The catching up is enormous. Various commissioners are playing part in policy formulations, in proposals being disseminated to regional bodies or even climate change legislation.
In three or four months' time, there were 20,000 downloads for the policy report and the final report.
So, they are being picked up. If we also look at the people who are seeing the commission’s report, it is increasing by the day. In three or four months' time, there were 20,000 downloads for the policy report and the final report. We commissioners are also engaging heavily.
// New legislation as the main achievement of the commission
Secretariat: What is the one main achievement in terms of the pickup that you could point us to? Watch.
T.M.: Legislation. The commission recommendations were taken into consideration during the proposal submission to CCAFS, proposal preparation by COMESA and SADC countries as well as legislation formulation in countries like Mexico. They were also considered for legislation already in process in countries on our continent.
// Monitoring the CCAFS commission recommendations
Secretariat: The commission has extended its own mandate to see what the pick-up of the recommendations would be. Has the commission installed a tracker system, a monitoring framework to see how that pick-up is? Watch.
T.M.: Yes, that is being monitored at the secretariat level. The commission secretariat is still functioning and the office is monitoring the pickup. We are also communicating, periodically, to update each other, on the various achievements, involvements and engagements that we are in. Also, progress reports are being distributed to all of us, so we do monitor and track the pick-up rates.
Donors should engage the commission in project preparations for policy debates.
// Next steps for monitoring
Secretariat: What are the future plans in terms of that pick-up, how do you take that one step further?
T.M.: From the monitoring point of view, we anticipate to engage heavily in the form of policy formulations, events or outreach activities, individually or in groups, in respective countries or in bodies. This is one area of activity where we want to engage in and also to keep close contact with regional bodies and the Platform in order to pursue the commission’s recommendations, the agenda, in all possible ways. This includes pushing for the creation of one of the commission’s recommendations and to pursue the creation of a communication house or platform. Another way is to pursue the establishment of regional platforms.
// What donors can do to help advance the CCAFS Commission recommendations
Secretariat: What is your message to the donors, particularly for their way of acting in agriculture and climate change? What should they focus on? Watch.
T.M.: First of all, I think it would be good if the donors discuss their plans on sustainable agriculture and also to make sure that climate change components are included and taken care of in any projects they are funding.
Secondly, if they could also engage the commission in project preparations for policy debates or side events so that the commission members can share their ideas and make sure that the recommendations are pursued and included in the national or regional policy agenda or projects.
The Global Donor Platform can make sure that the commission’s recommendations are not shelved.
// What the Global Donor Platform can contribute
Watch. The Global Donor Platform can make sure that the commission’s recommendations are not shelved. All parties should realise the recommendations are taken care of, are being pursued, by all concerned. The Donor Platform can also organise and facilitate the involvement of the commission in all the possible fora as much as possible.
The interview was conducted by Pascal Corbé of the Platform secretariat.
Linking forestry and agriculture necessary to find immediate actions for climate change adaptation and food security issues.
Towards a broader agenda for agriculture and food security
Program Director of CCAFS Coordinating Unit on the impact of ALL 5 Day
Online/Copenhagen, 27 Nov 2012. ALL 5 Day has broadened the agenda for agriculture and food security discussions, says Bruce Campbell. Ahead of the conference held in conjunction with UNFCCC COP 18 in Doha, the Program Director for the CCAFS Coordinating Unit highlights the importance of this particular meeting and stresses the need to find immediate solutions for climate change, as "we are heading for a four degree warmer world at this rate."
Read the transcript with minor edits below.
// The broad scope of ALL 5 Day
Platform secretariat: Bruce, you'll be heading off to Doha soon. There, you are the main organiser of the Agriculture Landscapes and Livelihoods Day. Set up in conjunction with COP18 and Qatar, the subject is on solutions to climate change in drylands. Can you tell us bit about what the particular added value of this event will be?
Bruce Campbell: This is now called All 5 Day. Before, we were the Agriculture and Rural Development Day, so there's a very serious move to try and broaden the agenda, to shift it to landscape levels, where we are thinking about forests, we are thinking about land. Just as an example in this one: UNCCD used to have Land Day, they've now joined with us to put on All 5 Day. We also have some of the major forestry organisations participating during the course of the day.
It's obvious that forestry and agriculture have to work together.
Secretariat: Why has the focus shifted towards landscapes? Why is it important to consider both land and forest? Watch.
B.C.: If you remember that we're in Doha, we're together with COP18, so if you think of some of the key things that are being negotiated this time, one of them is around forests. There's a whole mechanism called REDD-Plus (Note from the secretariat: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and part of that is trying to see how you can preserve forests for carbon sequestration. But what is the key driver of deforestation? It's agriculture. Perhaps 75 per cent of deforestation is caused by agriculture, so it's obvious that forestry and agriculture have to work together, if you're going to ensure food security and balance it with forest conservation. So it's the key reason for it being together in Doha.
// Example__ Practical solutions for strengthening resilience
Secretariat: As All 5 Day is part of the COP 18 meeting, it is interesting to look at the importance of All 5 Day in light of climate change negotiations. What can be done by who to foster the resilience of small farmers in rural areas? Watch.
B.C.: That will be quite a focus at All 5 Day - looking at practical solutions to moving forward. If I give you one example - and it includes two platform members putting it on at one of the round tables, it's WFP and IFAD. They've joined up with international research for climate and society and they're looking at what you need to do to ensure resilience, what practical steps there are. They’re looking at climate information services, diversification in farmer portfolios and trying to pull together the lessons and best practices. So, it's all the key agencies that are dealing with rural development and landscapes that are coming together.
This particular COP is historic in that agriculture is on the agenda in the SBSTA meeting.
// ALL 5 Day to expedite action on the ground
Secretariat: Is there a link to the negotatiations or are you working on the fringes? Watch.
B.C.: I think it's both. This particular COP is in some ways historic, in at agriculture is in the agenda, in the SBSTA meeting (Note from the secretariat: the thirty-seventh session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice). From the Durban Agreement last year, it is said that there's going to be a decision on agriculture in Doha. In some ways it's very important to have the focus on agriculture and this day is going to put extra focus on agriculture. However, I think we all recognise that the negotiation process is painfully slow. We're heading for a four degree warmer world at this rate, without any major measures put in place by the UNFCCC to deal with mitigation or adaptation. How do we get action on the ground going tomorrow? All 5 Day is also about getting together at a particular venue and looking at how we can all work together as organisations to get things going on the ground immediately.
// Exchange of best practices and national adaptation planning
Secretariat: What are the possible outcomes of ALL 5 Day, what are you aiming for – especially with regard to relevance for Platform members? Watch.
B.C.: One of our aims is really to put heightened focused on agriculture and food security, in the hopes that there really is a decision in Doha. But then the other aim is really to distill best practices, lessons for moving forward immediately, with actions either within organizations or in national constituencies - in terms of national adaptation planning, in terms of, for example, climate-smart agriculture. Another example would be IFAD, where they've put a major program in place on climate-smart agriculture. They're looking for best practices and how to move forward immediately in the coming years. So, it's outcomes both at the negotiations we're interested in, but also: 'Let's just get on and get the business going.'
One of our aims is to put heightened focus on agriculture and food security in the hope that there really is a decision in Doha.
Secretariat: What do you think is likely to be the most important message that participants might agree on during ALL 5 Day?Watch.
B.C.: I think that most participants are really looking for a decision on agriculture and in particular an agenda item in SBSTA, where there is substantive discussion on agriculture, looking at, for example, win-win technologies that can help with adaptation and mitigation. One of the key messages will just be about, 'Let's get an agenda item in SBSTA, where we can have substantive discussions going forward.'
The interview was conducted by Pascal Corbé of the Platform secretariat.