Agriculture organisations up pressure ahead of Durban climate talks
29 November 2011, The Wall Street Journal
A raft of the world’s most influential agricultural bodies, including the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, Farming First as well as the World Bank have joined forces to urge international negotiators at Durban’s climate summit, which began yesterday, to acknowledge the significant role of the sector in addressing climate change.
In an open letter, the organizations plead with international climate negotiators to approve a work programme for the agriculture sector under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice— an official advisory group within the broader UN negotiations taking place in Durban – that brings experts together to determine how the sector can make the necessary long-term investments to handle challenges that lie ahead.
Delegates around the world congregate in Durban, South Africa starting Monday at COP17 talks to discuss the extension of the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012, but to also lay the foundation for finalising the Green Climate Fund, among other issues.
The Green Climate Fund is so far an unfunded pledge to provide poorer countries with around $100 billion annually to adapt to climate change. Major economies however are fighting over who should finance the fund.
Various governments made voluntary pledges to address climate change at the Copenhagen talks in 2009 and the Mexican talks in 2010, yet carbon emissions continue to rise.
Extreme climatic patterns, such as periodic weather phenomenon La Nina, which devastated crop production in Australia, South America and the USA late last year, increasingly put pressure on global food supply at a time when the world’s population surpasses seven billion people.
Developing countries are especially vulnerable to climate change, where people are heavily dependent upon agriculture as a livelihood, the letter said.
“A Durban deal that approves a dedicated work program for agriculture will help farmers access farming technologies to modernise African agriculture and pave the way for a climate-smart green revolution,” Dr Lindiwe Sibanda, CEO of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network said.
“The outcomes of Cancun-COP16 and Copenhagen-COP15 were a big disappointment to the agricultural sector. For CoP17 we have a specific ask,” FANRPAN’s Dr Sibanda said.