Agriculture is finally on the agenda!

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Agriculture is finally on the agenda!

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In an iconic decision at COP 23, negotiators in Bonn agreed to new negotiation processes to “jointly address” a number of new agriculture topics – for the first time naming agriculture directly in the agreement.

Agriculture was finally recognised as being not just an emitter, but, with the right practices and technologies, an important contributor to reducing emissions that cause climate change. If these practices and technologies are fully embraced, agriculture can achieve approximately six per cent emissions reduction and substantially help the world stay below a 2-degree temperature rise.

The decision asks for reports back in three years at COP26 in 2020. If the process is successful, countries should then have more know how at their disposal to take action in their respective agriculture sectors in the post-2020 climate regime. At the moment, there is no clear guidance on how they might take such action, nor are there incentives for them to do so.

IFAD actively engaged in the lobbying process for the inclusion of agriculture and issued a COP23 statement on the importance of supporting poor rural and coastal communities in adapting agriculture to the effects of climate change as well as countries in reducing the carbon footprint of their farming practices.

Other notable highlights from COP23 included the Parties reconfirming their commitment to the Paris Agreement (with US states, cities, businesses, and civil society making commitments to uphold the US emissions reduction target despite the announced official withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement) and made progress to advance the related implementation guidelines for adoption at COP24 in Poland in December 2018. As a side note, the new contributions to the Adaptation Fund totalled US$93 million.

The UN Climate Change Conference convened from 6-17 November 2017, in Bonn, Germany under the Presidency of Fiji. The Fijians introduced the ‘Talanoa Dialogue’, an inclusive and participatory process in 2018 that will allow countries, as well as non-State actors, to share experiences and showcase best practices in order to urgently raise ambition and move closer to the Paris Agreement goal of keeping the rise in average global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The Parties finalized the Gender Action Plan, which aims to increase the participation of women in all UNFCCC processes and promotes the effective implementation of gender-responsive climate policy at all levels of government.

The Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform was agreed and gives a greater voice to indigenous peoples in the climate negotiations and allows them to share their traditional knowledge and best practices on reducing emissions, adapting to climate change and building resilience. Meanwhile, the 'InsuResilience' Initiative was launched by Germany and other partners to bring affordable insurance to 400 million poor and vulnerable people by 2020.  Norway, together with Unilever and other partners, announced a US$400 million fund to support more efficient agriculture, smallholder farmers and sustainable forest management.