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Roundtable Discussions

  on ARD Day 2010 Photo: Neil Palmer, CIAT

Roundtable 1

How can intensification of agriculture contribute to climate change mitigation and greater food security, as well as be sustainable?

Smallholder farms will be contributing the majority of greenhouse gases in the future from agriculture. There are a range of high-tech and traditional approaches and technologies, including low-cost ones, with potential to scale up to intensify production sustainably. This roundtable aims to examine whether agricultural intensification strategies can help achieve both food security and mitigation targets, and be sustainable? A particular focus is whether such strategies can be fostered in order to reduce deforestation and promote REDD+.

The Roundtable will distil understanding how agricultural intensification strategies promote the goals of the multilateral environmental agreements (UNFCCC, CBD and CCD). It will try to identify the policies and incentives that are needed to promote sustainable intensification, and identify the knowledge gaps. The intention is to synthesise the key activities and actions needed in the coming year to build an integrated approach to forestry and sustainable agriculture that helps tackle the climate change challenge while delivering benefits to poor and more vulnerable communities.

As the organisers of Forest Day 2 and Agriculture Day 2010 have got together to tackle the relationship between forestry and agriculture together, this roundtable corresponds directly with the learning event REDD and Agricultural drivers of deforestation held at Forest Day on 5 Dec.

Report from Roundtable 1

Policy messages

  1. Agricultural Intensification ALONE is not enough; it should be part of a more holistic policy package
  2. Agriculture intensification needs to focus on existing agricultural and cleared lands
  3. The range of agricultural and forest land uses should not be ignored
  4. Tenure rights, increased agricultural productivity and improved livelihoods reduce pressure on remaining “natural” forests
  5. REDD+ has to recognise the links between agriculture and forestry

Knowledge gaps

  1. Need to better understand the relationship between intensification and what it means for whole landscapes
  2. Need to strengthen understanding of practical approaches to capture carbon including in soils and trees

List of speakers

  • Lead speaker David Kaimowitz, Ford Foundation
  • Panelists
    Fahmuddin Agus, Indonesian Soil Research Institute
    Pauline Nantongo Kalunda, Ecotrust, Uganda
    Yemi Katerere, UN-REDD Programme Secretariat
  • Rapporteur Peter Minang, ICRAF
  • Moderator Gerard Wynn, Reuters

Roundtable 2

From Science to Practice: how to implement agricultural mitigation and carbon sequestration practices on the farm?

A positive and enabling approach to climate mitigation and adaptation is needed for sustainable agriculture. This can be done through the establishment of the right mechanisms (including incentives and funding) that recognise the mitigation potential and carbon sequestration capacity of the agriculture sector. The great potential of agriculture will be efficiently utilised if the proposed solutions maintain farmers’ incomes and allow the effective management of risks.

Farmers need practical and feasible agronomic practices to contribute to tackling the global threat of climate change while assuring global food security. Best management practices, tools and knowledge based on the best available science are also needed to increase the efficiency and resilience while also providing carbon sequestration, mitigation and other ecological services.

This Roundtable discussion will focus on appropriate incentives to agricultural mitigation and sequestration. It will the first highlight current scientific understanding of agricultures potential and then explore the practical solutions that can both have a long-term effect on the sustainability of the agricultural sector and can positively influence worldwide food security and rural development.

Report from Roundtable 2

Policy actions

  1. The policy framework should ensure multiple benefits to improve farmer income while also improving mitigation potential (e.g. increased resource efficiency)
  2. Need to make research and information available for farmers, for example through extension services
  3. A broad base of institutions, policies and incentives should be developed at all levels to assist in implementing mitigation and carbon sequestration measures and financing

Knowledge gaps

  1. We need a clearly defined set of agricultural practices, adapted to different agricultural systems that include traditional and farmer knowledge
  2. At farm level we need to ensure the reduction is real, additional and has permanency and that Monitoring Reporting and Verification is practical
  3. There is a lack of understanding of policies, institutions and incentives that are needed to support implementation
  4. Improved evaluation of financing mechanisms is needed to identify the most efficient sources of capital to support implementation

List of speakers

  • Lead speaker Alexandre Maybeck, FAO
  • Panelists
    Dr Ferdousi Begum, DEBTEC, Bangladesh
    Gonzalo Becoña, Plan Agropecuario, Uruguay
    Dyborn Chibonga, NASFAM, Malawi
  • Rapporteur Anette Engelund Friis, Danish Agriculture and Food Council
  • Moderator Richie Ahuja, Environmental Defense Fund, India

Roundtable 3

Moving beyond pilots: How can we scale-up pro-poor rural adaptation to ensure food security and development under climate change?

Rural communities are particularly vulnerable to climate change given their direct reliance on weather-dependant natural resources, their often limited access to institutions and markets, and their resulting reduced capacity to cope with a range of shocks such as food price spikes or extreme weather events. By damaging the asset base of smallholder and subsistence farmers (soils, water sources, forest, sea and river products), climate change reduces their incomes and their chances of escaping poverty. Adaptation for rural communities is not optional, but an increasingly daily challenge.

The international community, governments and the private sector share an important responsibility to finance and support climate resilient agriculture and vulnerable rural communities. Feeding a global population of just over 9 billion in 2050 will put even greater pressure on our planet’s scarce natural resources, and the challenges will be multiplied by climate change. If we are to meet these challenges, the world’s 500 million smallholder farms, and the rural communities and economies in which they are embedded, will need to play an even greater role.

Report from Roundtable 3

Policy actions

  1. Create enabling policy environments that link policy domains and promote resilient agriculture and food security by bringing together different sectors including the private sector
  2. Policies should enable farmers to diversify to build resilience under institutional and climate uncertainty
  3. Adaptation policies must address equity and distributional issues and build on local knowledge and emerging research and technologies

Knowledge gaps

  1. Local level climate risk information/data is needed to avoid maladaptation and encourage innovation
  2. Information is needed on the effects of climate change on food systems, food security and nutrition
  3. Interaction of climate and non-climate related drivers of vulnerability and their differentiated impacts on different groups (women and men, indigenous people, corporate and small-scale farmers)

List of speakers

  • Lead speaker and moderator Rodney Cooke, IFAD
  • Panelists
    Robin Mearns, World Bank
    Diana Liverman, ESSP
    Celine Herweijer, PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Rapporteur Deborah Hines, WFP Ecuador

Roundtable 4

How can carbon finance harness synergy between climate change and sustainable land management to enhance agricultural development?

Agriculture, forestry and other land uses (AFOLU) have the potential to promote carbon sequestration in soils and biomass but these have yet to be incorporated into the UNFCCC regulatory market. As a result AFOLU activities, which have the ability to contribute to climate mitigation and adaptation while delivering development benefits, must look to the voluntary carbon market for finance.

This roundtable aims to: identify which development interventions have the most promise for harnessing finance from this sector and define a set of concrete recommendations setting out how an enabling environment can be created to increase investment through carbon financing. The event also intends to obtain from panellists and participants inputs on the concrete steps that need to be taken to assist individuals, projects and programs to access carbon financing and deliver win-win-win objectives of mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development.

Report from Roundtable 4

Policy messages

  1. Policy makers cannot afford to neglect agricultural emissions or the potential for carbon sequestration through agriculture
  2. Ground work needs to be laid to develop a framework to build confidence and attract resources
  3. Need to use a range of instruments to create incentives for farmers, e.g. insurance, credit and direct and indirect payments
  4. Adaptation and mitigation funding needs to be integrated
  5. Climate change should be embedded in national and regional agricultural strategies

Knowledge gaps

  1. Programmatic approaches need to be developed that can reach small holder farmers but operate at larger (e.g. landscape) scale
  2. Need to develop robust tools on Monitoring, Reporting and Verification to build confidence of potential funders
  3. Research is needed on how to move from projects, to programmes, to sector wide approaches

List of speakers

  • Lead speaker Charlotte Streck, Climate Focus
  • Panelists
    Goodspeed Kopolo, Zambia Biochar Trust
    Seth Shames, Ecoagriculture Partners
    Axel Michaelowa, Perspectives GmbH
  • Rapporteur Katherine Sierra, Brookings
  • Moderator Matthew Wyatt, DFID

Roundtable 5

What scientific, technological, and methodological aspects need to be considered to advance agriculture’s contribution to mitigation and adaptation?

Significant knowledge gaps exist in our understanding of the role(s) agriculture can play in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and the needs for adaptation. This roundtable will provide a forum for participants to contribute to the research agendas of the private sector, national governments, international research organizations and international negotiating fora.

Report from Roundtable 5

Policy actions

  1. Policy approaches need to address the potential for synergies between adaptation and mitigation in a way current frameworks fail to do;
  2. Extension services need to be safeguarded, expanded and funded to address the adaptation of livelihoods to climate change;
  3. Both adaptation and mitigation to climate change will require funding for interdisciplinary research that seeks to understand farmers as well as farming.

Knowledge gaps

  1. Current scientific and indigenous knowledge is not properly accessible and extended to farmers and policy makers at all levels;
  2. Without research into new, cost efficient and widely applicable approaches to non-CO2 GHG mitigation in agriculture, the sector’s climate impact will remain high;
  3. Local knowledge about responses to climatic variability is an underused resource for the development of adaptation strategies, particularly with respect to extreme events.

List of speakers

  • Lead speaker Louis Verchot, CIFOR
  • Panelists
    Leopold Some, Agroclimatology at Environment and Agricultural Research Institute, Burkina Faso
    Wendy Mann, Crop Diversity Trust
    Steven De Gryze, Terra Global Capital
  • Rapporteur Henry Neufeldt, ICRAF
  • Moderator Oliver Morton, The Economist

Overall objective of the roundtables

To identify sustainable agricultural policies and practical solutions to help the world’s poorest people adapt to climate change and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, while contributing to global food security and supporting the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

The roundtables specifically look at sharing of knowledge on better-practice approaches, joint visions and mechanisms to build development synergies between the agriculture and rural development and climate change agendas.

Roundtable format

  • Moderator introduces topic, objectives and speakers
  • Lead speaker kicks off the discussion with a presentation (15min.)
  • Up to three panellists with brief inputs (4min. each)
  • Plenary discussion in the roundtable (55min.)
  • Rapporteur with formal wrap-up


Based on what emerged during the discussion, moderator and rapporteur will develop a brief presentation on

  • Key policy messages and actions
  • Key research questions and actions
  • Conclusion with up to three main messages, cross-cutting questions or issues,
  • Presentation to the wider plenary (16.00h)

Roundtable outputs were integrated into an ARDD 2010 Statement [350KB], presented at the end of the day and fed into the UNFCCC negotiations via an official COP16 side event on 6 December.

Download the Event summary [70KB]

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