The recent United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) held in Copenhagen from 7th to 18th December 2009 ended with much disappointment because it failed to produce a legally-binding agreement. However, it was not all bad news: as reported in this issue of Collective Action News, there were some noteworthy successes for agriculture and rural development, and for forestry.
One of the 12 points of the Copenhagen Accord calls for the immediate establishment of a mechanism to enable the mobilization of financial resources from developed countries for reducing emissions and enhancing sequestration from forests in developing countries (REDD+ = Reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries). REDD+ was highlighted at Forest Day 3 in Copenhagen, an event hosted by the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. Agriculture nearly made it into the REDD+ agenda (as so-called REDD++). As late as November, draft negotiating text still had reference to emissions in agricultural systems, but this text was removed in the final days. This situation gives us plenty of work in 2010
– demonstrating how a system of meeting emission targets in farming landscapes can work, and getting such systems into the agreement that may come at COP16, to be held in Mexico in November-December 2010.
Forestry was firmly on the agenda at COP13 in Bali two years ago. Not so for agriculture, which has been late coming into climate change negotiations. But at COP15, agriculture was given a major stimulus. The Copenhagen Accord endorses the decisions of the Ad hoc Working Group on Longterm Cooperative Action that opens the door for agriculture. The text on agriculture recognises the impact of climate change on food security, the need for adaptation and mitigation in agriculture, and requests the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (which provides advice to the UN Climate Change Conference on scientific, technological and methodological matters) to establish a programme of work on agriculture. The next year or two will see a flurry of activity on agriculture, to
bring it firmly into the negotiations.
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