Speaking at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Poland this week, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned that the agriculture sector must speed up its response to climate change.
FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo told delegates that this shift will require investing in multi-sectoral policy design, implementation capacity, people data, innovations as well as leadership (especially for women).
Semedo warned of the increased global hunger levels, driven largely by the impacts of climate change, conflicts and economic slowdown, noting that “our efforts to end hunger will become more challenging if warming reaches two degrees Celsius”.
However, “achieving Zero Hunger is still possible,” she stressed, adding that in order to succeed it is essential “to define transformative actions that will reshape our food systems, sustainably and equitably for all.”
In her remarks, she also emphasised the importance of conservation of ecosystems to protect the environment and address the impacts of climate change by saying that “our soils, forests and oceans are our allies in effectively supporting climate change mitigation and the adaptation of the most vulnerable communities” and urged greater investment in the integrated and sustainable management of natural resources.
Saving the world with climate-smart agriculture
At a COP 24 side event of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture earlier this week, the FAO launched a new publication that showcases ten success stories from around the world.
These stories reveal how the management of farms, crops, livestock and aquaculture can meet food security needs while building adaptation to climate change and contributing to mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
“Climate-Smart” Agriculture (CSA) is an approach that helps to transform agricultural systems to ensure food security and support rural development in a changing climate.
The aim of the publication is to provide the best FAO-led examples of how CSA is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach that can be universally applied but, rather, involves different elements embedded in local contexts.
Better use of land
Semedo also spoke at the joint UN side event on SDG15: Life on Land at COP24 earlier this week.
Noting that currently the land use sector is responsible for almost a quarter of global GHG emissions, Semedo underlined that it also has great potential to store vast quantities of carbon in soils, forests and wetlands.
“We can make significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by adopting smarter, integrated farming systems, by protecting and managing forests and by shifting to approaches that use natural resources sustainably and efficiently,” she said.
“This way, the land use sector can change from being part of the climate problem to becoming part of the solution and deliver up to 30 percent of the climate mitigation needed by 2030.”
Semedo also highlighted the vital role of partnerships, innovations and technology in scaling up joint efforts to better manage forests and land.