For Immediate Release
May 8, 2019
NACSAA leaders on Monday submitted the Alliance’s latest set of recommendations to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Conventions (UNFCC) in support of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture’s (KJWA) upcoming workshops next month in Bonn, Germany.
The submission addresses two new topics:
- Methods and approaches for assessing adaptation, adaptation co-benefits and resilience
- Improved soil carbon, soil health and soil fertility under grassland and cropland as well as integrated systems, including water management
The recommendations note the growing threat to how the world produces food, feed, fiber, energy and ecosystem services all cited in recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)and the U.S. Global Change Research Program, among others.
The submission lays out guiding principles and recommended methods and strategies for assessing vulnerability, adapting to changing climatic conditions and improving soil health.
The submission’s overarching recommendation, which is reinforced several times throughout the document, is the need for a scientific basis for change.
Guiding principles to be observed in developing the KJWA, NACSAA says, include:
- Production and production efficiency per unit of land must increase going forward to meet the food needs of the future while incurring no net environmental cost.
- Outcomes (rather than means) applicable to any scale of enterprise must be emphasized, without predetermining technologies, production type or design components.
- Adaptation strategies must be recognized to require system approaches that utilize a combination of improved efficiency, substitution (e.g. new crop varieties and breeds), and redesign/system transformation to reflexively respond to continuous short- and long-term changes in climate’s impacts on cultivated and natural ecosystem conditions.
- Peer reviewed academic, business and farmer climate smart agriculture research and knowledge sharing recommendations outside of the UNFCCC should be considered by the two UNFCCC work groups working on the KJWA and integrated into the final work joint agreement report.
- There is no silver bullet solution for enhancing the resilience agriculture: KJWA must embrace a systems approach that recognizes the tremendous diversity of agricultural landscapes and ecosystems and enables producers to utilize the systems and practices that best support their farming operations.
- Farmers must be at the center of all discussions and decision-making; significant input will be needed from a wide range of agricultural stakeholders, including technical agricultural experts drawn from farmer organizations, academia, industry, and international and regional organizations, especially those outside of the UNFCCC structure.
- Context-specific priorities and solutions must be aligned with national policies and priorities, be determined based on the social, economic, and environmental conditions at site (including the diversity in type and scale of agricultural activity), and be subject to evaluation of potential synergies, tradeoffs, and net benefits.
NACSAA leaders expressed special thanks for contributing to or helping edit the draft to steering committee members Jerry Hatfield, director of USDA’s Midwest Climate Hub, and Lois Wright Morton, professor emeritus, Department of Sociology, Iowa State University. Also thanked were Aaron Wilson, a senior research associate of the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center and the Ohio State University Extension; Kyle Poorman, of the Facilitation Unit of the Global Alliance on Climate Smart Agriculture (GAGSA), Lara Moody, vice president of Stewardship and Sustainability Programs at The Fertilizer Institute, and Nick Goeser, vice president of Sustainability Sciences and Strategy with the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance. Sam Harris, manager with BSR in San Francisco, was thanked for conveying the submission to the UNFCCC.
NACSAA leaders also expressed the alliance’s appreciation for Ashley Nelsen, the United States’ lead negotiator for ag policy issues in the UNFCCC. Nelson has provided valuable insight and guidance on issues being considered and parties involved in the KJWA’s development.
For additional information, contact Ernie Shea at 410-952-0123, or at Eshea@SfLDialogue.net.