Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
Climate change will have increasingly negative impacts on agricultural activities through fluctuations – and in many world regions a permanent reduction – in crop yields. Through their direct dependence on agriculture, smallscale farmers in developing countries are hit particularly hard by this development. At the same time, agriculture contributes approximately 15 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Mitigation of emissions in agriculture, in contrast to adaptation, is a relatively new topic within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Currently, it is under discussion to establish a work programme that would mainly deal with mitigation, but also with other climate-related aspects of agriculture. A decision on whether to establish it could be taken at the next Conference of the Parties (COP) in December 2012.
Many developing countries are concerned that the process could be biased towards mitigation and its integration into carbon markets, while other aspects of importance to them could be neglected, such as food security, adaptation as well as avoiding trade restrictions. Furthermore, they point out the complexity of the agricultural sector and existing scientific uncertainties concerning the monitoring of emission reductions. The following recommendations for the future role of agriculture within the UNFCCC can be drawn from the analysis of the international discussion:
Measures for mitigating emissions in the agricultural sector must consider the multiple functions of agriculture. More concretely, such strategies should have benefits for food security, economic and social development, adaptive capacity as well as ecosystems and their services. There are many integrated approaches that fulfil these requirements.