Farmers and civil society inputs to the communiqué for the 2nd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change

Hanoi, Vietnam, September 3-7, 2012

We, peasants, small-scale food producers and civil society organizations who are here at the 2nd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change firmly believe that food, water and nutrition security and adaptation to climatic challenges can only be achieved through the active participation of smallholder men and women food producers across the world. Our perspectives on agriculture, food security and climate change have not been adequately included in the Conference, although we provide food and food security for billions of people. We call on our ministers to include our messages directly into the communiqué they will issue:

·         Because of the huge historical emissions of developed countries, food production is already under threat by climate change. We call on developed countries to urgently and immediately undertake drastic emission reductions to prevent further damage to our agriculture systems and food production.

·         Industrial systems of agricultural production massively contribute to climate change, due to substantial emissions of greenhouse gases. This contribution must be recognized and addressed.

·         Resources must be urgently directed towards adaptation, particularly to help small-scale family farmers. Sustainable agroecological and organic approaches are the most important, reliable set of practices to protect yields and ensure resilience in the face of climate change. Smallholder food producers have been carrying out such sustainable food production practices for centuries, and continue to select and develop systems, breeds and varieties that are adapted to their environments and can help communities withstand climatic challenges and improve their incomes and health. It is these approaches and producers that should be supported significantly with climate/public finance, and that should be included in work to be undertaken by the UNFCCC on agriculture and adaptation under the Cancun Adaptation Framework.

·         Ministers must reject false solutions of carbon markets that allow continued emissions by developed countries instead of the system transformation needed. Carbon offsets do not decrease greenhouse gas emissions, but merely displace emissions and enable developed countries to continue emitting high levels of greenhouse gases. Attempts to link adaptation and mitigation in agriculture under the UNFCCC will only serve the purpose of furthering developed countries’ objectives for a carbon offset market and should be rejected in favor of a work programme focused on addressing the serious adaptation challenge faced by agriculture.

·         When the carbon offsets market is linked to climate-smart agriculture, past experience and recent studies have shown that the main beneficiaries are carbon market traders, brokers and consultants, not smallholder farmers. Further caution is sought, so that climate-smart agriculture does not include genetic engineering, synthetic biology, or geo-engineering methods, which will have deleterious impacts on human and ecosystem health. These unsustainable practices create dependence on companies; unlike many agroecological practices which increase the stakeholdership and ownership of farmers in farming practices.

·         We call on the ministers to champion a global transition to sustainable ecological agriculture, focus on enabling peasants, small-scale producers and local and indigenous communities to adapt to climate change, ensure adequate public financing for agriculture, and avoid questionable technological fixes and market mechanisms.

·         We call on the ministers and the processes set out by the Conference to put smallholder farmers, especially women, indigenous peoples and local communities, at the heart of decision-making around these critical agricultural policy decisions.