Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Coping with Changing Climates in Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use

Ruci Mafi, SPC, Climate Pasifika

Agriculture, forestry and land use can also contribute to climate change mitigation through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration, a report launched at the 15th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said.

The report launched by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) challenged governments to decide how they can systematically think about and then undertake adaptation and mitigation activities.

Governments have been urged not to “wait for projections based on the output of scientific models of climate change” to confirm what is already suspected or known about the impacts of climate trends, variations and extremes on food security.

“The inherent issues related to national decision making must be evaluated to determine if government are equipped to cope with the dynamic nature of the impacts of climate change. In other words, are governments able and ready to address twenty first century climate change problems that are not covered under current policies and programmes?” the report noted.

The report is an expanded version of a paper that was originally drafted to encourage participants to the FAO Expert Meeting on Adaptation and Mitigation.

“Policy makers are now being pressed to cope with a changing climate, from its anthropogenic causes to its impacts on food security. In this task, they are not unharmed: they can rely on information, knowledge and experience derived from historical accounts of the impacts of climate, water and weather as well as scenarios derived from global and regional modeling activities,’’ the report said.

In welcoming the report, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) North Pacific Manager, Amena Yauvoli said the insights of the report are worth undertaking in their own right.

“The results of climate change can be slow but cumulative and we must encourage our policy makers in the region to improve the ways they choose to deal with environment issues especially if they are to influence food security,” Mr Yauvoli said.

The report said there were numerous existing controversies and conflicts in agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

“The controversies and conflicts must be made explicit, and their functional as well as their geographic boundaries must be indentified and dealt with in a more global and systematic way.”

“Prevention strategies and tactics must be pursued along with mitigation and adaptation,” the report said.

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