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Agriculture’s Contribution to the Green Economy Proposed Outcomes from the Rio +20 SummitRio +20 SummitOn the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in1992, a high level session will be convened “to secure renewed political commitment forsustainable development, assessing the progress to date and the remaining gaps in theimplementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development andaddressing new and emerging challenges.” – General Assembly resolution.The focus of the Conference includes: a green economy in the context of poverty eradication and sustainable development and the institutional framework for sustainable development.The implementation gap on sustainable development commitments is the primary pointof discussion for the Earth Summit. The green economy should be part of the means toimplement overarching sustainable development commitments made at the originalEarth Summit and in Johannesburg.We believe the Summit could further policy coherence on food security, drawingon the CSD-17 findings and the work of the High Level Task Force on FoodSecurity.Role of FarmersFarmers represent one-third of the world‟s population and one-half of its poor. As theplanet‟s primary ecosystem managers, farmers‟ activity depends on a soundenvironment. They are best placed to ensure sustainable development therebycontributing to a green economy. Farmers provide multiple goods and services to
society, such as production of food, non-food products such as renewable energies,delivery of ecosystem services and land stewardship to protect and enhancebiodiversity. They also play a key role for rural development and rural employment.Thus, the farming sector contributes to economic growth and to reducing poverty andhunger in developing countries, while still being an important part of the economy inindustrialised countries.Farmers are at the core of the green economy as there are significant synergiesbetween poverty alleviation and sustainable farming. Farmers‟ organizations want to bea key partner in all levels of discussion.What is the Green EconomyThough it is notoriously difficult to reach an agreed definition of a green economy,broadly it is aligned with the goals of sustainable development: social, economic, andenvironmental sustainability. The green economy recognizes that protecting andconserving environmental resources can be a significant driver for the economic growth.What are the primary goals for Agriculture in the Context of the Green Economy? 1) Produce more with less by finding ways to meet global requirements for food while minimizing the need to encroach forests, jungles, and other eco-systems and maximising the efficiency of production. 2) To use a knowledge-based approach of best practices that sustains production and minimizes the negative impacts of farming activities on the environment. 3) Develop new approaches to reward farmers for adopting practices decisions that protect and/or enhance the provision of goods and services from functioning ecosystems that also foster sustainability and address poverty by enabling smallholder farmers to break the subsistence cycle. 4) Reduce poverty since farmers represent one half of the world‟s poor and despite high profile promises, woefully few resources have truly begun to flow to help farmers break the poverty cycle.Key Policy Items for Elaboration1) Produce more with less by finding ways to meet global requirements for food while minimizing the need to encroach forests, jungles and other eco-systems and maximising the efficiency of production. foster investments in infrastructures at the national level in order to create food value chains and to reduce yield losses during storage and transportation access to microfinance services, especially to microcredit focus on productivity gains and improve the efficiency of agriculture, with the ultimate goal of reducing the conversion of natural areas to agricultural uses
secure, managed, efficient access to water and responsible use thereof manage watersheds and water use more efficiently promotion and knowledge-sharing of new farming practices such as for example conservation agriculture, that can be used to prevent soil erosion and land degradation research into farming systems, to find new ways to improve the sustainable productivity of agriculture plan and manage protected areas together with local farmer, pastoralist and forest communities encourage integration of trees, shrubs, grasses and other landscape elements into agricultural production systems create on-farm refuge areas for pollinators and biodiversity conservation2) To use a knowledge-based approach of best practices that sustain production and minimize the negative impacts of farming activities on the environment train farmers to adopt sustainable practices increase public research on agricultural innovation and nutrition promote private agricultural R&D through grants and tax credits, including R&D supported by farm groups and co-operatives build upon the indigenous knowledge on conservation and resource management that farmers already possess include animal welfare as an integral element of best practices promote best practices such as manure management, integrated crop management, integrated pest management, and nutrient management provide access to scalable information technologies for farmers, including women and young farmers, to receive weather, crop, and market information/alerts, as well as other early warning systems to help them make the right decisions for sustainability and productivity establish open and transparent two-way exchanges that capture the „voice of the farmer‟ in the process of policy formulation and implementation access to technologies and techniques to improve farm productivity and reduce the footprint of agriculture3) Develop new approaches to reward farmers for adopting practices that protect and/or enhance the provision of goods and services from functioning ecosystems that also foster sustainability and address poverty by enabling smallholder farmers to break the subsistence cycle remunerate farmers for provision of environmental public goods, particularly improvement on agreed national goals; this could be done at national or regional level
increase development aid to green growth initiatives in food and agriculture sectors public-private partnerships on sustainable development projects develop well functioning markets through transparent information, fair prices, sound infrastructure, while avoiding excessive speculation encourage co-operative and contractual approaches to support marketing for smallholders, especially for eco-system services reduce market distortions to improve opportunities for all strata of agriculture worldwide address the substantial gaps in returns for smallholder farmers and the gender inequality exemplified by an estimated 80% of poor farmers being women incentives for voluntary stewardship programs for livestock, land care, water conservation, and other improved practices to realize growing market opportunities for food produced with animal health and welfare, food safety and quality, human health and the environment in mind furthering solutions that increase the access to foods which are varied and address the nutritional needs of the population, with particular attention to early childhood nutrition assess systems, such as intensive rotation grazing, which may also reduce production costs for farmers4) Reduce poverty since farmers represent one half of the world’s poor and despite high profile promises, woefully few resources have truly and begun to flow to help farmers break the poverty cycle have the promises of funding from the G8 L‟Aquila process materialize see assistance focused on agricultural development rise to 20% of ODA have African countries live up to their CAADP commitments ensure that risk management mechanisms are enabled for farmers at national level have land tenure rights for farmers, especially women farmers, at the national level address the social challenges facing smallholder farmers, especially women develop domestic or regional policies supporting agriculture and trade development particularly in developing countriesAchieving sustainable agriculture requires research as well as improved transfer ofknowledge, prioritising locally relevant crops, stewardship techniques, investments ininfrastructures and adaptation to climate change. This will ensure farmers benefit fromcontinuously updated and improved tools and knowledge to enable them to successfullyachieve all the other step of process. Every form of agriculture needs continuousimprovement and the different production systems have a role to play. Theultimate goal should be to minimize the resources used to produce each crop orkg of protein, and increase the productivity.
Farmers are eager to do their part. Society and all relevant stakeholders have a sharedresponsibility to help and encourage farmers to face these challenges, to improvepractices to become more sustainable and to ensure a fair income.Emerging Issues for Discussion at Rio +20Two new and emerging issues: drought and desertification and disaster risk reduction.Combating Drought and DesertificationThe discussions in The Convention to Combat Desertification and CSD-17 providestrong examples of concrete actions which can help to address drought anddesertification, including: Prepare national drought management plans and/or risk reduction strategies and invite donors to assist developing countries in their efforts to integrate issues related to drought and desertification into national, regional and global sustainable development strategies and plans Highlight the importance of integrated water resources management Promote and implement effective national, regional and global drought information, forecasting and early warning systems that disseminate reliable information for communities living in drought-prone regions to enable them to take appropriate and proactive measures, with adequate support from their respective Governments Promote sustainable management of soil as one means for mitigating drought effects Invest in research and development, robust data collection, including through remote sensing, and information to assess and identify risk and to predict, plan for and manage droughts across time scales from seasonal to multi-year events, including short-, medium- and long-term events, taking into account traditional knowledge Enhance social and economic resilience in drought-prone communities by encouraging mixed livestock production and cropping, the implementation of water management schemes and the expansion of weather insurance schemes Continue to mobilize funding for research on and development of drought- tolerant seed varieties targeted towards national specificities Promote sustainable land use and livelihoods, enhanced soil productivity, water use efficiency and greater tenure security for people living in the affected areas, including pastoralists, women, indigenous people and other vulnerable groups Promote the rehabilitation and improved management of degraded lands, including increased integration of pastoral and agricultural land uses and the use of best farming and rangeland management practices Promote sustainable water management and efficient irrigation, water conservation and utilization of alternative water sources, including flood water and subsurface flows
Expand access to appropriate technologies to assess, analyse and quantify the nature, severity and impacts of land degradation and desertification and remedial actions, using remote sensing and Geographical Information Systems; Enhance regional cooperation in particular within the framework of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, including through its five regional implementation annexes, and support regional initiatives and related national programmes for combating desertification, including the environment programme of the New Partnership for Africa‟s Development and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, the TerrAfrica Programme and other regional initiativesDisaster Risk ReductionThere is an interrelationship between climate change, biodiversity loss, desertification,and drought. Mechanisms to create early warning systems, adapt rapidly, andproactively manage risk are needed. They include: Integrate policies and strategies for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, taking into account the Hyogo Framework for Action, 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters and the Millennium Development Goals Promote innovative technical solutions and practices, combining them with traditional knowledge, for impact assessment, and early warning systems Promote sustainable land-use practices, including sustainable agricultural practices aimed at mitigating the effects of and adapting to climate change Support the establishment of and strengthen existing disaster management capacities at all levels, including information and early warning systems that allow effective management of the risks associated with drought, desertification, land degradation and the adverse impacts of climate change Support developing countries in the development, deployment and diffusion of technologies on mutually agreed terms, including the sharing and scaling up of best practices and lessons learned in approaches such as sustainable agricultural practices, and conservation and rehabilitation of vegetation cover