COP25: Discussing opportunities for improved land use management to achieve climate action

5 December 2019, Madrid, Spain – NAP-Ag partner countries as well as members of the global team got together at the climate change conference (COP25) in Madrid to showcase country experiences of integrating agricultural sectors in national climate policies, as well as international commitments, such as the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture. The two weeks conference provided an opportunity to create a better understanding of the NAP process, and how it can help translate national adaptation goals into actions. As part of that effort, the NAP-Ag team hosted two side events together with the private sector and other partners focusing on land use and climate action. 

The first side event was about climate action and land use - opportunities and risk, organized by FAO and UNDP together with Inter IKEA Group, and it brought together intergovernmental agencies, countries and private sector actors to provide concrete examples for tackling the main drivers of climate change: agriculture, food production and deforestation. 

The moderator, Josefina Brana Varela (World Wildlife Fund) opened the session asking what the private sector, intergovernmental agencies and governments can do to improve land use management with a special focus on forestry and agriculture and the food, materials and fuels they provide? 

Francis X. Johnson from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented the key findings from the recent IPCC Land Use report, and pointed out that some of the big measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions like bioenergy have implications for land use. 

To have a clearer baseline for improved land-use, Julia Wolf (FAO) insisted on a sectoral approach that would involve working with a country’s Ministry of Agriculture for budgeting and planning. 

“To address the risks posed by climate change on forests and agriculture in general, and reduce emissions from land use, policies and strategies, and the institutional framework for climate resilient and risk-informed development is key.  Investment plans, regulations, laws and incentives are crucial in the national response to climate change.  It is here that the NAP-Ag programme support is uniquely positioned.  We work with countries to lay the groundwork to make sure that priorities for adapting forests, livestock, crop production and fisheries and related livelihoods become integrated into planning process at the national level” she said.

She added the UNDP is developing a de-risking framework for improved private sector engagement. FAO has developed tools, including a sectoral guide on forestry to help strengthen the enabling environment for stronger developing countries’ action for sustainable land use, as well as private sector engagement on climate change action. 

Tran Dai Nghia, from the Ministry of Agriculture in Vietnam highlighted one of the key challenges as mainstreaming climate change into planning and budgeting, as well as leveraging finance. He added that for Vietnam’s Nationally Determined Contribution, there are key criteria for adaptation priorities in agriculture that are cost effectiveness and impacts for stakeholders, especially for smallholder farmers. 

The Ikea business uses close to 1 percent of the world’s industrial wood supply and responsible wood sourcing plays a vital role in how the business will meet its climate goals. Ikea announced a commitment of 200 million EURO to work with suppliers to become climate positive and work towards responsible forest management. 

Pankaj Bhatia from the World Resources Institute (WRI) discussed a GHG protocol, which set standards for businesses and others to monitor and report on their GHG emissions use. WRI is in the process of setting up new standards to be processed by 2021 and is open for partnerships. 

The need to consider the land, agriculture and forestry nexus was further emphasized in a parallel event, also organized by UNDP and FAO, on Agriculture and Land Use Sectors in Latin American and Caribbean NDCs: Identifying Gaps in Mitigation and Adaptation Policies, and Promoting Participative Solutions. During this event, country representatives from Colombia, Guatemala and Uruguay shared lessons learned from implementing the NAP-Ag programme.

With 80 percent of Uruguay’s income generated from the production and export of food and commodities, Enzo Benech, Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries, in Uruguay highlighted the importance of the agriculture sectors in the country. The effects that climate change has on agriculture are therefore felt on the economy, and affect people’s livelihoods. To cope with the impacts of climate change, Uruguay recently launched an agricultural NAP that will guide the work for more resilient agriculture sectors. 

Paula Andrea Zuleta Gil, Director for Financing and Agricultural Risk at Colombia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the government has put together actions for implementing the 2017 NAP, and noted ongoing work with FAO and UNDP to develop the NAP-Ag focusing on risk management, sustainable agriculture, agriculture and livestock resilience, low carbon policies and institutional integration. 

Guatemala’s Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Alfonso Rafael Alonzo Vargas, said his country’s National Climate Change Action Plan incorporates mitigation and adaptation priority actions, including agriculture, livestock, food security, as well as integrated water resource management, which are also NAP-Ag priorities. 

To give the perspective of the private sector Alejandro Litovsky, Founder and CEO of the Earth Security Group, noted the need to ensure that adaptation and mitigation costs are not passed on to small-scale farmers, and that sustainable farming practices are not adequately financed.

The German Ministry of Environment announced additional funding to UNDP and FAO at the COP25. This was formalized through a signing ceremony on 11 December. The new programme will allow for a continued partnership for another five years to work on agriculture and land-use planning that will support developing countries in accelerating ambition on climate actions. This new programme will assist developing countries with planning and budgeting the much-needed shift to more sustainable land-use and agriculture practices. 

Transforming the agriculture sector will be essential in protecting vulnerable people from these impacts and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It will thus be paramount to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, and this new programme will be part of UNDP’s newly launched Climate Promise through, which it will support 100 countries to enhance their NDCs. It will also help build climate resilient livelihoods, and end hunger and poverty to achieve the targets outlined in the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.

Last Updated: 4 May 2020