Finding our feet on land and food

9 May 2017

After a satisfying feast at last night’s reception €“ thank you! €“ ECO feels truly grateful for food security. But don’t be fooled by the reception. In the real world, a free lunch takes hard negotiations.


The Paris Agreement has set us some key challenges when it comes to issues of land, food, and agriculture. As the climate clock continues to count down, and after the awkward lack of progress on agriculture in Marrakesh, we hope that Parties have come to Bonn keen to find common ground and build momentum.

We all know that it is challenging to find a way forward because agriculture is more than a sector in which to reduce emissions. It is the basis of food security, a source of livelihood for over three billion people, a contributor to nutrition and health, and a foundation of identity. A sector this complex must be approached carefully.

It’s therefore time for SBSTA to set up a work programme on agriculture and food security, to discuss these issues in depth, and make important recommendations as the APA process writes the Paris rulebook.

Parties must consider a number of key challenges. How can we safeguard food security and human rights in the face of climate change? How can we help our food systems and our food producers adapt? And how can we ensure equity and sustainable development in relation to the role of land and agriculture in climate action?

ECO pondered the issue over last night’s vegetarian treats and has some ideas: It will be no surprise that we want to see meaningful support for adaptation. But Parties must consider how to use the Transparency Framework of the Paris Agreement, so reporting on safeguarding food security and human rights is included in NDCs. What guidance can APA give for reporting on emissions and removals from the land sector? And isn’t it time to belatedly address those low-profile but high-impact non-CO2 emissions methane and nitrous oxide, resulting from agriculture?

With Paris Agreement implementation on the horizon, the SBSTA agriculture negotiations are more relevant than ever. The new rulebook must ensure rights and food security. So let’s finally get down to farming in Bonn.

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