INDCs: The promised land? 

6 June 2015

The land sector offers significant potential for climate change adaptation, and opportunity to reducing emissions. As highlighted in the SBSTA workshops this week, actions in this sector are crucial for protecting food security and livelihoods, particularly adaptation actions for vulnerable, small-scale food producers.

At the same time, the land sector accounts for about a quarter of all emissions—most of which come from a loss of ecosystems, as well as nitrous oxide and methane from industrial agriculture. We can’t afford to ignore that up to half of the emissions gap could be closed by efforts in the land sector between now and 2030. Mitigation in this sector isn’t just about avoiding deforestation and forest degradation,  and restoring ecosystems—it’s also about reducing food waste, shifting away from the use of fertilisers, and encouraging sustainable consumption, while ensuring that key safeguards are addressed and respected and food security is promoted.

With all this opportunity for reducing emissions, ECO hoped to see both ambition and transparency in the contributions proposed in INDCs. INDCs from developing countries submitted so far have offered plenty of detail about their intended mitigation efforts and how they fit with goals for adaptation and sustainable development. These efforts go a long way to delivering the transparency that is so essential for building trust in this sector.

With such transparency from developing countries, imagine our surprise when we turned to developed countries’ INCDs. Developed countries seem to be focusing on accounting practices more than mitigation actions they will take. We can see that the land sector is in there… somewhere. How is the rest of the world supposed to know what it will include? What’s new? How is it more ambitious?

ECO recognises that some countries may wish to take strong action to reduce emissions in their land sector – but this shouldn’t be used to hide where emissions cuts are coming from, or reduce ambition in industrial sectors.

The INDCs give Parties a chance to shine the spotlight on plans to reduce emissions from the land sector, and show us how they will ensure that land rights, food security and biodiversity will be protected. So be transparent, and be ambitious. We can’t afford anything less!

INDCs: The promised land? 

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