Momentum is growing to develop agricultural solutions to climate change, including at the international level. At the Cancun climate conference last month, partners and allies of the new CGIAR research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) argued that agriculture has major benefits for climate mitigation and adaptation, and must be part of a global climate deal.
Agriculture must be central to climate efforts, particularly in the global South, where most people live in rural areas and are highly dependent on local food production and vulnerable to market fluctuations and changing weather patterns. But how can climate-friendly agriculture move to the forefront of the international climate and development policy agenda?
In a new analysis published by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Christine Negra and Eva Wollenberg explore the opportunities for agricultural mitigation in light of key lessons from Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+). Since the first appearance of REDD on the international agenda in 2005, the issue has made significant progress as a policy, as well as on the ground in terms of pilot projects.
They authors argue that REDD+ has successfully progressed due to strong financial leadership by donor countries; clear analysis on technical issues; a shared vision and coordination among and within countries; and early actions on pilot projects to generate lessons.
The authors suggest that agriculture can evolve on a similar trajectory, and that REDD+ has in fact paved the way for agricultural mitigation. They propose a set of parallel actions detailing how to create the right policy space while also building functional options needed to ensure that farmers on the ground can truly benefit from an agricultural mitigation mechanism. For example, they call for an authoritative independent review that puts agricultural mitigation into a global context, just as the 2006 Stern Review helped make a strong case for REDD. They also call on technical experts, policy makers and practitioners to develop a common language around agricultural mitigation, as the basis for formulating clear policy options. They also make the case for "learning by doing" by encouraging experimentation with various market incentives that can generate useful lessons for mitigation on the ground, such as payments for environmental services initiatives.
A global mechanism for mitigation that includes agriculture is necessary, and prospects at this early stage are promising. By building on, and adapting the processes that have helped make REDD+ move ahead, agricultural mitigation can progress at the international level and eventually help reduce emissions and help farmers adapt to a changing climate.
Lessons from REDD+ for Agriculture by Christine Negra and Eva Wollenberg. (2011).
Christine Negra is a Program Director at the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment in Washington, DC. Eva Wollenberg is a Research Associate Professor at the Gund Institute for Environmental Economics at the University of Vermont, and Theme Leader on Pro-Poor Climate Change Mitigation at the CGIAR Research Program, Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). CCAFS is a strategic partnership of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP). This research was funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
CCAFS Coordinating Unit - University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Rolighedsvej 21, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark, phone +45 35331046; Email ccafs [at] cgiar [dot] org, EAN 5790000279012
Lead Center - International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)