With the latest round of global climate talks set to take place in Katowice, Poland, in a few weeks, the North America Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance (NACSAA), a farmer-led platform launched by SfL in 2015 to promote adaptation and sustainable farm and forestry production, has submitted a second round of recommendations that further address the vulnerabilities of the food and fiber sectors to a changing climate.
The latest series of recommendations follow an earlier set submitted in March to two subsidiary bodies established by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and charged with developing what became the Koronivia Joint Agriculture Work Program. Those early NACSAA submissions were largely incorporated into the framework that the negotiators approved in May – an action that underscored their recognition that agricultural adaptation and mitigation challenges must be addressed as part of the overall climate strategy.
The UNFCCC’s decision last spring to consider the impacts to – and opportunities for – agriculture in dealing with global climate change acknowledged the critically important role agricultural landscapes can play in sustaining productivity, enhancing climate resilience, and contributing to the local and global goals for sustainability.
The NACSAA recommendations adopted in May principally focused on soil health, livestock productions systems, crop and nutrient management, agroforesty, water resource management and integrated solutions, including bioenergy.
The second round of submissions focus on “modalities for implementation,” a phrase used in diplomatic circles to describe the ground rules for how the work plan will be constructed and who gets to participate in its development. The latest recommendations aim to insure an agricultural approach to climate change plays a significant role in the UNFCCC’s development of global strategies that deal with the growing threats posed by rising emissions and the volatile weather conditions they generate.
To that end, the latest NACSAA submission calls for the input process to be opened up to recognized technical agricultural experts drawn from farmer organizations, academia, industry, and international and regional organizations.
Last month’s recommendations also call for accredited observer organizations to be allowed to participate in the workshops and other contribution platforms so their real-world expertise and experiences can help inform decision making in the development and finalization of the Koronivia work program.
Meanwhile, NACSAA leaders are preparing for the Conference of Parties (COP 24) in Katowice Dec. 2-12, when they will share their recommendations in a number of side events that will be looking at climate solutions from agricultural landscapes. For example, at the recommendation of the American Farm Bureau Federation, NACSAA has accepted an invitation from the Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA) to discuss the needs and contributions of farmers in adapting productive systems and mitigating the effects of climate change at a side event spotlighting challenges farmers face and the solutions they can deliver from the land.
In anticipation of the events in Poland next month, NACSAA leaders have been working closely with USDA, consulting both on the content of the submissions and strategies for building global support for the recommendations.
The stage being set by next month’s events is immense. COP24 will draw representatives of virtually every nation who will meet under the auspices of the UNFCCC to make decisions necessary to ensure the full implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement reached three years ago. Conference organizers say it will also allow parties to the agreement to take stock of the collective achievements made to meet the objectives agreed to in Paris.
SfL continues to extend an invitation to any individuals, businesses, institutions and other interest groups who are ready to join in this effort to promote the role of agriculture and forestry in providing solutions to the world’s climate challenges. Welcome are those who can contribute the time and financial resources needed to ensure that farms, ranches and forests are empowered to provide the fullest range of goods and services from the land. If those within the agriculture and forestry sectors don’t step up and shape a landscape-focused climate strategy on the global stage, other interests that do not share the same priorities will. The opportunity is here to shape a plan of action that will benefit not only agriculture, but also the environment and the world.