Final Statement to the Hanoi Conference from Farmers’ Organizations and Civil Society

7 September 2012

We remain deeply disappointed with the process and the framing of the Conference as a whole. More than 120 organizations, many of which have not been invited to this Conference, have also expressed their serious concerns in a Civil Society Statement on 3 September.

Those most impacted by climate change and whose livelihoods are most at risk, in particular small-scale farmers, indigenous peoples and women especially from developing countries, have not been present, or fully consulted, nor have genuinely participated in this process. A democratic and participatory process should have involved all sectors of civil society engaged on these issues in a process designed to genuinely engage and dialogue with civil society.

Although some of us have participated and engaged in good faith here, our views have still not been fully heard. As the “key messages” are not from a negotiated outcome and do not represent consensus, they cannot be used to influence,undermine or pre-empt other international processes, including on-going negotiations in the UNFCCC.

The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is the established intergovernmental body addressing agriculture and food security issues with clear guidelines for representation of countries and a participatory, well-functioning civil society mechanism. It will adopt a decision on climate change and agriculture in October 2012.The CFS is the appropriate body for the consideration of agriculture, food security and climate change, in a deliberate manner, rather than the ad hoc approach taken here.

Our understanding of the problems and solutions differs fundamentally from the framing posed by the organizers.The urgency of the climate crisis requires that we address the real problems. We believe that the key problem still remains with emissions from developed countries, which are already contributing to climate change and causing impacts on food production. Developed countries must urgently and immediately reduce their emissions and provide financing according to their obligations under the UNFCCC.

The other problem with the framing of the Conference is that it has not addressed the key contributor to global agriculture emissions - emissions from industrial agriculture. Any real attempt by the global community to address agricultural emissions must recognize the primary responsibility of developed countries to transform their agriculture systems.The climate crisis is caused first and foremost by the emissions of rich countries and we reject that small farmers are meant now to take on the mitigation responsibilities of the North.

For developing countries, adaptation has to be the main priority, adequately supported by developed country public finance. The agricultural challenges faced by the poorest and most vulnerable, in Africa but also in Asia, in small-island states, in Latin America, are adaptation challenges.The Conference unfortunately did not place emphasis on this urgent need of developing countries.

We continue to have deep concerns about the use of the vague concept of climate smart agriculture. The real solutions lie in agroecological practices and sustainable agricultural systems, using techniques, breeds and varieties developed and selected by small farmers for millennia. Ecological, sustainable agriculture practiced by peasants, small scale food producers and indigenous peoples, must be the centerpiece of the systems transformation needed to truly address the climate challenge in agriculture.

If our views are not adequately reflected in the “key messages”, we, the farmers’ organizations and civil society groups who have been present here in Hanoi, would collectively reject the Hanoi Communique.