Agricultural sector splits in two at UN climate talks

By Megan Rowling

According to the CGIAR research programme on climate change, agriculture and food security (CCAFS), agriculture is responsible for 14 percent of global climate-changing emissions, a figure that rises to 19 to 29 percent if all the processes of food production are included.

Yet efforts to get agriculture included in the U.N. climate negotiations have stalled after the committee handling the issue failed to reach agreement, largely due to differences over whether to include the role of agriculture in reducing – or mitigating – greenhouse gas emissions.

Continue reading

Deep roots can be the best defence

By Neil Palmer

In 1998 when Hurricane Mitch struck Honduras, triggering torrential downpours and landslides that wiped out huge areas of crops, on the Lempira hillsides there was one group of farmers who fared better than others: those who were practising the agroforestry system known as Quesungual. And now, research by soil scientist Steven Fonte, of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), suggests the system is ready to be introduced in other tropical, sub-humid parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Continue reading

Dryland farming can be green, even as climate changes

by Bruce Campbell

Despite many practical innovations, progress on getting agriculture into the official climate change negotiations has been excruciatingly slow, much slower than the urgent need to achieve food security.

The UN Climate talks currently ongoing in Doha raise the question of how to achieve food security in the drylands, where droughts are frequent and environmental and soil degradation is widespread. Farmers in these areas already face enormous challenges. Climate change will only compound these problems, bringing new levels of uncertainty and risk. Continue reading

Impending food crisis not incentive enough for climate negotiators

By Cecilia Schubert

We are facing one of the largest challenges yet – feeding 230,000 additional human beings every day, under a changing climate. According to Robert Carlson of the World Farmers’ Organisation, the United Nations has never before been faced with such a critical and enormous challenge.

But despite the impending crisis, the COP18 still hasn’t delivered anything concrete on agriculture. At least not yet.

Continue reading

Agriculture sidelined at Doha climate talks

by Anette Engelund Friis

With regard to agriculture, negotiators at the United Nations climate talks in Doha this week seem only able to agree on one thing: that agriculture is both a victim and a culprit of climate change.

This is despite the fact that there is growing consensus within the agricultural community itself on the next best steps on how agriculture can be incorporated more fundamentally can be incorporated in post-Kyoto policy development around climate change. Continue reading

Human waste not to be wasted

By Lee Davelaar 

A new project, entitled ‘Fertilizer Pellet Fertilization Project’, by the Resource Recovery and Reuse team at the West Africa office of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is looking to harness human waste and turn it into safe, hygienic fertilizer pellets for use in agriculture.

Although the practice has been in place in Asia for centuries, its use in sub-Saharan Africa is relatively new, and while farmers are embracing the innovative strategy, it has been met with some resistance at the regulatory level. Continue reading

From deforestation to reforestation: how to harness drivers of change

By Paul Stapleton

A forum exploring drivers and regional differences in deforestation has highlighted a need to create clear definitions of forests and deforestation. While addressing the forum, Meine van Noordwijk of the World Agroforestry Centre identified seven different definitions that give seven different rates of deforestation, one which even shows that deforestation is going down. She argued that we will only be able to analyse regional differences in the drivers causing deforestation after we have established universal standards defining deforestation. Continue reading

More barriers than drivers for private sector engagement

By Elizabeth Kahurani

A new study into private-sector engagement with the REDD+ (Reducing emissions from Deforestation and First Degradation) mechanism has underscored the need for governments to boost demand by mitigating some of the risk factors. Specifically, Florence Bernard, Programme Associate at ASB Partnership, highlighted the need for policies that ‘address challenges to do with land tenure and carbon ownership, legal basis for private investment as well as appropriate social and environmental safeguards’. Continue reading

Over 500 Agriculture Experts Convene at Day-Long Event Held in Parallel with United Nations Climate Talks

Renewed Call to Action Issued for Negotiators to Include Agriculture in Addressing Global Climate Change Challenges

Doha, Qatar. 3 December 2012: Global agricultural leaders and practitioners come together today to share best practices and build consensus on policy recommendations from the sector at Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day, held in parallel with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) currently underway. Continue reading