Agriculture and climate change: an agenda for negotiation in Copenhagen

Agriculture and climate change: an agenda for negotiation in Copenhagen

Negotiating agriculture into the climate change agenda

Negotiations have been underway in advance of the meeting of the 15th Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen in December 2009. This brief is a compilation of views of leading experts from around the world on the key negotiating outcomes that must be pursued now, in order to effectively put agriculture on the climate change agenda. It is emphasised that If fundamental climate change mitigation and adaptation goals are to be met, international climate negotiations must include agriculture. The brief suggests negotiating outcomes for both adaptation and mitigation that will support climate change goals while enhancing the well-being of people who manage and depend on agriculture, especially in the developing world.

The paper focuses on three issues; under each are the suggested negotiating outcomes:

  • climate change will affect agriculture, but it is uncertain where and how much. The suggested negotiating outcome is that research on the interactions between climate change and agriculture should be funded..
  • agriculture can help mitigate climate change. The suggested negotiating outcomes here include: cost-effective mitigation in agriculture and research on promising technologies and management systems; low-cost systems for monitoring agricultural mitigation should be funded; allow innovative payment mechanisms; support for novel institutions for agricultural mitigation.
    • poor farmers will need help adapting to climate change. Under this focus, suggested negotiating outcomes include: allowing funding mechanisms that recognise the connection between pro-poor development policies for sustainable growth and sound climate change policies; recognise and support synergies between adaptation and mitigation. Another desirable outcome is the provision of funds for agricultural science and technology, infrastructure and institutional innovations.
    The brief concludes that agriculture provides a living for more than half of the world’s poorest people and the ongoing negotiations to address climate change provide a unique opportunity to have an impact on poverty reduction.
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