FIRAB contribution to the e-consultation on the V0 draft of the Report on Food Security and Climate Change
FIRABVia Piave 1400187 Roma 06454374850645437486 email@example.comFIRAB contribution to the e-consultation on the V0 draft of the Reporton Food Security and Climate ChangeLuca ColomboFondazione Italiana per la Ricerca in Agricoltura Biologica e Biodinamica (FIRAB)Italian Foundation on Research for Organic and Biodynamic Agriculture1The Fondazione Italiana per la Ricerca in Agricoltura Biologica e Biodinamica (FIRAB) follows theHLPE work since its establishment and is pleased to contribute to the e-consultation on the V0draft of the Report on Food Security (FS) and Climate Change (CC). FIRAB further recognizes therelevance of the topic and the importance of a pertinent deliberation from the Committee onWorld Food Security (CFS).Given the significance of the subject FIRAB notes with disappointment that the V0 draft wasincompletely delivered for the e-consultation, thus disabling a thorough comment: the unfinishedsection on agrofuels’ pros and cons (ref. page 39 of the V0 draft) offers a valid explanation for thisdisappointment.Overall considerationsThe document presents a useful summary of the available scientific information on CC impacts andthe relevant implications on FS. The specific impact on already food insecure constituencies(smallholder farmers, women, the elders and children) is usefully highlighted indicating theurgency of targeted measures and policies, as well as the necessity to empower small scalefarmers. Similarly, the relevance of ‘local lessons’ is reckoned showing that a global phenomenonsuch as CC can be resourcefully addressed if community efforts are valued and supported.Despite this recognition, no adequate and pertinent policy recommendations are suggested in thedocument. Viceversa, while the climatic situation and its effects are depicted in their dramaticdimension, recommendations for policies and actions do not seem to be inspired by a comparablesense of urgency and by the radical need to reverse business as usual and the current economic1The Fondazione Italiana per la Ricerca in Agricoltura Biologica e Biodinamica (English name: Italian Foundation forResearch in Organic and Biodynamic Agriculture) was set up in 2007 by organic and biodynamic farmer, environmentaland labor associations to promote applied research through a participatory approach and operates technical andscientific dissemination.
FIRABVia Piave 1400187 Roma 06454374850645437486 firstname.lastname@example.org productive mainstream system. FIRAB considers and suggests that the document be fed by amostly needed policy courage enabling the CFS to deliberate accordingly.The attention to the food security pillars, as indicated in the project team mandate, is certainlyuseful as analytical tool. These dimensions show radically different dynamics in rural and urbanareas and in different sociocultural contexts and these aspects are not sufficiently taken intoaccount. A good example is given by the World Bank reference to global poverty, mentioned in theV0 draft, that appears useless and misleading, as well as the claimed progress from the early 80’sto current times on absolute deprivation (based on % of population living below the $1.25 or $2poverty lines) that ignores the change in purchasing power, thus being quite pointless, if notannoying.FIRAB positively notes that the IAASTD experience is conveniently recalled and that there is notrite endorsement for any role to be played on CC by biotechnology. Viceversa, FIRAB highlightsthat the actual and factual contribution offered by organic farming is not recalled and recognizedneither as a suitable agricultural model able to respond to CC challenges and to mitigate climatechaos nor as a knowledge- and biodiversity- rich practice to adapt to it, hampering a wideradoption of agricultural and research policies that efficiently target CC.FIRAB finally welcomes the final recommendation to substantially invest in public research andextension and the call to urgently act in this direction, with a clear focus on small-scale farms andfarmers that provide “important productivity, resiliency and poverty-reduction benefits”. Moregenerally, though, it has to be noted that the final recommendations appear to be too mild andvague to respond to the urgency of the climatic and food insecurity situation. Moreover, it cannotbe accepted that mitigation activities should be targeted to areas with cost effectiveness, i.e.developing countries, or left to “market based mechanisms”. These activities should rather beadopted immediately and everywhere under clear political responsibility.Detailed commentsMore specifically, while CC and the human responsibilities are definitely given as a matter of fact,impact scenarios seem to be poor and limited to already available ‘evidence’ integrated bypredictions derived from a few models.Chapter 3 on adaptation is hardly debatable being more an index than a thorough reasoning; mostof the considerations made in the introduction do not add significant value or inspire substantialchanges to current policies and practices. The sectoral approaches to adaptation seem to be
FIRABVia Piave 1400187 Roma 06454374850645437486 email@example.com to mitigate business risks rather than to responsibilize actors in order to respond tosocietal and climatic impacts of the development model. The whole financial sector section isinspired by a disguised market mechanism that already proved to be ineffective in shielding poorand food insecure people. It is finally unclear whether ‘civil society’ is considered as a furtherplayer or not. In any case, FIRAB rejects the idea to include ‘major foundations’ (that we intend assupposedly philanthropic foundations) within the civil society constituency, particularly ifprojected to develop partnerships “with the private sector to translate advances in science intoproducts and interventions (…)”.Policy messages in chapter 3 clearly positively focus on the building/strengthening of resilient foodsystems and on the need to make ample use of existing and new knowledge about social,economic and biophysical aspects: while a wide range of knowledge and techniques is mentioned,FIRAB notes that agroecological and participatory approaches proved to be far more performingand this should be acknowledged in the document.Chapter 4 on mitigation focuses on crop- and livestock-specific responsibilities on GHG emissionsand on their management, thus failing to highlight the accountability of the industrial andagrochemical food and farming system. It is not a matter of blaming specific culprits, but thisomissions hinder the identification of clear policy areas for interventions either through taxes andincentives or through climate friendly regulations for the agrifood sector.Final remarksFIRAB wishes that the HLPE work and the consequent CFS deliberations constructively operates torespond to societal needs and to orientate State and non-State actors in order to fulfill the right tofood.In order to do that, a HLPE document on the interlinked relationship between climate change andfood insecurity should loudly call for a drastic and immediate reduction of GHG emissions, for aradical change in the growth and development paradigms and for a thorough redefinition of foodand agriculture systems towards more sustainable and socially responsible policies and practices.