Before the SBSTA agriculture workshops, ECO wants to remind Parties that nearly 800 million people are chronically hungry. With over 75% of the world’s poor people living in rural areas and primarily reliant on agriculture, this issue needs to be higher up in the food chain of importance.
Commitments made under the new Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Decade on Nutrition, and the Paris Agreement all call for moving beyond the narrow considerations of yield. Producing more food alone will not end hunger in a changing climate: poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation are all drivers of food insecurity and vulnerability. Ensuring future food security requires agricultural strategies encapsulating environmental and socio-economic dimensions – livelihoods, land rights, animal welfare, fair and equal access to resources, decision-making and climate information, culture, and biodiversity protection.
The planned workshops must address the needs and contribution of small-scale food producers,who generate 80% of food in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Women play a dominant role, but lack equal access to critical resources, rendering them more vulnerable to climate change impacts. The workshops need to address the UNFCCC’s role in ensuring these populations can access the support they need.
Agroecological approaches not only improves soil health and water carrying capacity, but also empowers food producers, increases access to decision-making, and prioritises local knowledge. The FAO Director-General believes that agroecology is important as it will “help to address the challenge of ending hunger and malnutrition in all its forms, in the context of the climate change adaptation needed.”
Parties should use this week to identify the UNFCCC’s role in more clearly articulating appropriate approaches and guidelines for effective action, and also identify gaps in knowledge, action, and support.
The workshops must enable meaningful civil society participation, recognising experience and expertise on the ground. Ending hunger and tackling climate change will require action and learning by all, and civil society is a critical partner in these efforts.