In light of the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP27) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), taking place from 6 to 18 November 2022, on 27 October the event “Agriculture in the Americas on the path to COP27: challenges and opportunities for public policy” was held. The event was organized by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), in collaboration with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Carbon dioxide emissions from agriculture have behaved consistently in the last 30 years. Globally they accounted for 11 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2019, according to FAO data. Asia, Oceania and Latin America are the regions that present the highest indices of greenhouse gases in absolute terms. In an analysis of emissions by country, Brazil, Indonesia and China accounted for over 50% of global emissions from agriculture, as IFPRI studies explain.
Given this scenario, effects such as extreme temperatures, water stress and abrupt changes in the weather may be seen in the future. For these reasons, it is necessary to increase the sector’s resilience, prevent negative impacts through monitoring, use better instruments to prioritize investments and design more efficient policies and incentives.
Federico Villarreal, Director of Technical Cooperation of IICA says that the presence of agriculture at COP27 is highly significant for the Americas, hence a number of activities have been organized along this line:
- Meeting of the Americas on Climate Change and Agriculture, in May 2022. Methods were considered to jointly address the urgent need to transform the agricultural sector in response to climate change.
- 9th Summit of the Americas, in June 2022. The countries and their Ministers of Agriculture agreed on the need to take the voice of agriculture of the Americas to climate-related events, especially COP27.
- Africa-Americas Ministerial Summit, in September 2022. A meeting held to strengthen cooperation between the two continents, to promote mutual learning and transform agrifood systems.
- Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA), in July 2022. With Resolution IICA/JIA/Res.531 (XXI-O/21), it was decided to lead the process so that agriculture in the Americas has a voice and presence at COP27.
- Summit of the Americas for Climate Action in Agriculture, in September 2022. Priorities for collective action on climate change were defined ("Challenges of Agriculture in the Americas to Face the Climate Crisis").
The agriculture of the Americas will be present at COP27 in the form of a pavilion called “House of Sustainable Agriculture of the Americas”, under the slogan “Feeding the world, nurturing the planet,” to transmit a very powerful message about the importance of agriculture in the Americas, in both the political and technical spheres.
Over 60 specialized events will be held in the pavilion in the following areas:
- Political advocacy.
- Food security and resilience.
- Farmers’ voices in the face of crisis.
- Catalysis of financing, markets and innovation to support transition.
- Meat, milk and climate change.
According to the panelists at the October 27th event mentioned at the beginning of this note, some of the main challenges for agrifood systems in the region due to the climate crisis include
- Mitigation, as agrifood sector actors participate in the generation of emissions, and must work to reduce and prevent them.
- Adaptation, given the current need to produce more, without forgetting that we are highly vulnerable to climate change.
- Financing, striking a balance in the region between greater production and a better environmental performance and development. For this it is vital to provide innovative financing for the farming system.
- A new generation of policies that incorporate climate action in an integrated way.
The specific challenges and possible options for access to financing are as follows:
Challenges for access to financing:
- Skepticism, believing that a different agriculture is impossible. The challenge is to show that agriculture can be resilient.
- Wrong perception that mitigation measures are more expensive; it is costlier not to adapt agriculture to climate change and suffer the consequences.
- Complicated access to funding for farmers..
Possible options for access to financing:
- Address the funding issue with a different approach, to show that agriculture is a sector that needs to execute resources in an orderly fashion.
- Harness the ecosystem of financing sources and the commitment to this that emerged from the last COP.
- Help farmers access funding quickly and simply
Role of agriculture ministries in this context
In the context of the new vision, climate change is an issue tied to development that affects all ministries and in which local governments and the private sector play an essential role in the Latin American and Caribbean region. To broaden the agenda on climate action, it is important to work in coordination at national, regional and international level.
As well as the ministries’ work, it is necessary to generate a State policy. This requires a better organization of the climate agenda, so that agriculture can demonstrate its proactiveness and interest in contributing to the resolution of structural challenges.
Valeria Piñeiro has a doctorate in Agricultural Economics from the University of Maryland, Valeria is acting head of the Latin America region and senior coordinator in the IFPRI’s Markets, Trade and Institutes Division. Her recent work includes modeling the impacts of support policies for agriculture on emissions and reviewing the evidence on incentives for adopting sustainable agricultural practices and their results. Her work in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean includes strategies in development and economic growth, trade policies, the effects of economic recession, migration and fiscal policies to reduce obesity. She has major experience working in areas of economic development and growth using Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) as an analytical tool and in recent years has led courses in many countries teaching the theory and application of CGE models
Daniela Soto has a degree in International Relations. International Relations student with emphasis on International Cooperation Management. Currently studying for a Law Degree. Daniela has experience in international cooperation, environment, etiquette and protocol, research and social communication.
Adriana Campos has a Master’s degree in Business Administration and Degree in International Relations with emphasis on International Trade. Adriana has worked at IICA since 2010 and is currently a senior trade specialist. For five years she was a trade negotiator of the Costa Rica Ministry of Foreign Trade. She also has over ten years’ experience as a professor at different universities in Costa Rica.
The opinions expressed in this article are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of IICA.