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Consolidating the role of agriculture towards COP28

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Consolidating the role of agriculture towards COP28

Although it is difficult to make a conclusive summary of the results of the last Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate ChangeCOP27, it is possible to identify partial progress and project into the future.

(Read: Farmers will have priority in access to agricultural credits).

At a global level, the main concern is little progress in negotiations on how far to go in phasing out fossil fuels, considered the main stumbling block to achieve the goal of a global temperature increase of only 1.5% over pre-industrial levels. The current geopolitical situation conspired so that no progress was achieved, beyond including some concept on renewable energies.

As opposed, progress was made on the issue of financingwith the creation of a ‘loss and damage’ fund to deal with the effects of climate change, particularly in the most vulnerable countries, something very relevant for Latin America and the Caribbean and a change from the prevailing position, which that the already existing financing structure for the climate issue was the one that should take care of these problems.

The operational modalities of this fund remain to be defined, including its magnitude and who will be the contributors -what must be done in 2023- but what has been decided involves significant change and responsestill partial, to the increasingly frequent destructive climatic events and the impact they have on the weakest countries.

The final text of the declaration puts on the table the need for international financial institutions be an integral part of the global fight against climate change, something very important given the magnitude and transformative capacity that these organisms have on the global economy. For the first time, the operative text refers to the need for specific actions on the oceans, forests and agriculture, linking it to food security, as a fundamental priority for the achievement of the SDGs, particularly the one referring to the elimination of hunger .

(In addition: The price of potatoes and onions will rise, according to Corabastos).

In parallel, it is proposed to establish a joint working group on the implementation of climate action on agriculture and food security, which should continue activities related to agriculture with a broad vision in its relationship with food security and with the participation of the UN and other relevant entities, academia, the private sector and civil society, including producer organizations. The group must report on its deliberations and proposals to the 2026 COP and to the different bodies of the Convention.

This is a significant advance. In previous COPs, no mention had been made of agriculture or foodalthough the issue of food systems, the main theme of the UN Summit on Food Systems in 2021, is still not included, and the approach to what agriculture can contribute to mitigation efforts and, especially, to what it can contribute to mitigation, is not delved into. to its ability to serve as a carbon sink.

From the perspective of our region, the Americas, great opportunities open up regarding the role of agriculture in sustainable development strategies. The magnitude of the natural resources on which our agriculture is based and its weight in international markets make it a strategic component of global food, nutritional and environmental security.

The challenge is to bring this vision to the negotiations, incorporating the empirical dimension of our agriculture, which, far from being part of the problem, is clearly part of the solution, with its high levels of efficiency and sustainability. Even more important is to consolidate in our countries that the future admits only sustainable and inclusive productive strategies.

(Read: Rising food costs due to weather complications).

We have taken very important steps for that. One is the consensus message of the Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas given on the eve of COP 27which emphasizes the importance of agriculture as an instrument for the tasks of mitigation and adaptation to climate change and its indispensable contributions to the economic and social strength of our societies.

This message assumes the commitment to strengthen the presence of the Ministries and Secretariats of Agriculture and Livestock in the national, hemispheric and global climate discussion spheres, a commitment that began to materialize through the presence of ministers and secretaries of the Americas in the COP held in Sharm El Sheikh and in the activities of the House of Sustainable Agriculture of the Americas pavilion, installed at this Summit by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) together with more than 40 partners from the public and private sectors, under the motto ‘Feeding the World, Taking Care of the Planet’.

We must now transform the general consensus into a work plan with specific actions.

A road map seems to be clear: Sustainable Agriculture, based on science and innovation and with the leading role of its farmers, has to be part of the solution to the problems that hinder the development of Humanity.

Manuel Otero
Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)

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