Don't be fooled!

Civil society says NO to “Climate Smart Agriculture” and urges decision-makers to support agroecology

We, the undersigned, belong to civil society organizations including social movements, peasants/farmers organizations and faith-based organizations from around the world. We are working to tackle the impacts of climate change that are already disrupting farming and food systems and threatening the food and nutrition security of millions of individuals. As we move towards COP21 in Paris, we welcome a growing recognition of the urgent need to adapt food systems to a changing climate, and the key role of agroecology within a food and seed sovereignty framework in achieving this, while contributing to mitigation through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.  

However, despite these promising signals, we share deep concerns about the growing influence and agenda of so-called “Climate-Smart Agriculture” (CSA) and the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA). Climate change is the biggest and the most urgent threat our societies face. We need a radical transformation of our food systems away from an industrial model and its false solutions, and toward food sovereignty, local food systems, and integral agrarian reform in order to achieve the full realization of the human right to adequate food and nutrition. We therefore urge decision-makers at country and UN levels to reject the dangerous rhetoric of Climate-Smart Agriculture.  

Climate Smart Agriculture must not be confused with agroecology

Climate Smart Agriculture must not be confused with agroecology[1]. Agroecology is a holistic approach to agriculture, based on principles of ecology as well as food and nutrition security, food sovereignty and food justice which seek to enhance agricultural systems by using and recycling natural resources instead of relying on externally-purchased inputs. It encourages local/national food production by small food producers and family farmers, and is based on techniques that are not delivered from the top-down, but developed from farmers’ traditional knowledge and practices as well as from farmer innovations. This approach is based on farmers’ participation and makes nature a powerful ally in ensuring food and nutrition security, building healthy soils and conserving water. It increases farmers’ incomes and resilience in the face of climate change, while improving biodiversity and crop diversity. It is therefore crucial for all efforts t o realize the human right to adequate food and nutrition. Governments must recognise that industrial approaches that degrade soil health and water retention, pollute water systems, poison nature and create dependency on external inputs, impoverish biodiversity and ecosystems are not only harmful and unnecessary, but also deeply misguided for a planet facing hunger, ecological crises and climate change.  

“Climate-Smart Agriculture” may sound promising, but it is a politically-motivated term. The approach does not involve any criteria to define what can or cannot be called “Climate Smart”. Agribusiness corporations that promote synthetic fertilisers, industrial meat production and large-scale industrial agriculture – all of which are widely recognised as contributing to climate change and undermining the resilience of farming systems – can and do call themselves “Climate Smart”. CSA claims to include all models of agriculture. However it lacks any social or environmental safeguards and fails to prioritize farmers’ voices, knowledge and rights as key to facing and mitigating our climate challenges. It therefore actually threatens to undermine agroecological approaches as defined by practitioners[2], while endangering the future development and upscaling of such approaches. 

GACSA : opening doors for greenwashing

The Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture was launched one year ago and is now putting a lot of energy into its outreach campaign, while its Action Groups have started working on their own objectives. As of 20th July, its membership of 21 nations comprised of only ten developing countries and three farmersด organisations - in contrast with a wide corporate membership. While some organisations from civil society and rural social movements rejected the GACSA from the beginning, others have made repeated efforts to engage with it[3],[4] to reduce the threat of green-washing and false solutions. In spite of these efforts, the concerns expressed were largely ignored, as recently recognised in a paper issued by the Institut du D้veloppement Durable et des Relations Internationales (IDDRI)[5]. Instead, some of agr iculture’s least environmentally sensitive actors were welcomed into the alliance: 60% of the private sector membership of the alliance is related to the fertilizer industry[6]. In addition, transnational corporations that have questionable social and environmental impacts, such as Monsanto, Walmart and McDonalds have launched their own “climate-smart agriculture” programs[7]

Climate Smart Agriculture: a concept that has no place as a climate strategy

As the UN picks up the pace for action on climate towards COP21 and beyond, we call on countries to recognise that the Climate-Smart Agriculture path can take us in the wrong direction, falling short of ensuring food and nutrition security, and undermining the radical transformation of current food and agricultural systems that the world urgently needs. Without definitions, criteria, standards, safeguards or exclusions, “Climate Smart Agriculture” is a meaningless and dangerous concept that has no place as a climate strategy. Moreover, the GACSA is not accountable to any UN structure involved in food security, climate or agriculture.

With new instruments for international climate finance being put in place to spend many billions of dollars, there is a real risk that wealthier countries – in their aim to meet their financial commitments[8] – may end up funding projects and programmes that direct resources towards false solutions in countries where they have vested interests. Thus: 

ท         As the Green Climate Fund programme of work gets underway, we welcome the importance given to adaptation. Agriculture will be a principal component of this programme. However, we urge the GCF Board not to accredit any programme of work or institution that is based on Climate Smart Agriculture. Instead, we strongly encourage them to support community-based solutions emerging from frontline communities, such as agroecology.

ท         An “Agenda of Solutions”[9] is being created for COP21 which aims to demonstrate the commitment of non-state actors to reaching a new and ambitious legal agreement in 2015, and which could be included or referred to in the outcome document of COP 21 along with the negotiated agreement. We urge governments not to endorse Climate Smart Agriculture as a solution to climate change, nor to label any other initiative that would be part of the “agenda of solutions” as part of the concept.

Agroecology as the mainstream pillar of agricultural policy frameworks worldwide 

We face a critical moment. Real solutions to climate change must be agreed upon and urgently adopted. We urge decision-makers to stand against green-washed false solutions rebranded as CSA, and to have the courage to recognise and promote the decisive role of agroecology in ensuring food and nutrition security, the full realization of the human right to adequate food and nutrition, and food sovereignty in the face of climate change, resource scarcity, and growing demand challenges. The international and regional processes that emanated from the FAOs Symposium on Agroecology in September 2014 as well as the upcoming Committee on World Food Security High Level Panel of Experts report on “Sustainable agricultural development” and the recent Ny้l้ni Declaration of the International Forum for Agroecology, present a unique opportunity for agroecology to be endorsed as the mainstream pillar of agricultural policy frameworks worldwide. Moreover, communities, civil society organizations, org anised social movements, peasants and faith-based organizations are developing, strengthening, and supporting alternatives at local and national level have proven to be successful in the global fight against climate change. We call on decision makers to acknowledge this broad range of tangible and concrete actions, to listen, support and accompany them, while not succumbing to global top-down initiatives that rely on models from the past.  

We therefore call upon decision makers to endorse the application of agroecology internationally within the UN processes relating to climate change and agriculture, as well as at national level.


International organisations (55)

ท      ACT Alliance EU

ท      ActionAid International


ท      African Women Economic Policy Network

ท      Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA)

ท      ALAI - Agencia Latinoamericana de Informaci๓n

ท      ARENA

ท      Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact(AIPP)

ท      Asia Pacific Farmers Forum

ท      Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)

ท      Asia-Pacific Network for Food Sovereignty (APNFS)

ท       Climate Action Network - South Asia(CAN-SA)

ท      CIDSE (International Alliance of Catholic Development Agencies)

ท       Consejo Latinoamericano de Iglesias

ท       COPAGEN (Coalition pour la Protection du Patrimoine G้n้tique Africain)

ท      Corporate Europe Observatory

ท      Dachverband Kulturpflanzen- und Nutztiervielfalt

ท      Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers’ Forum (ESAFF)

ท      ECOROPA (European Network on Ecological Reflection and Action)

ท       ENDA Tiers Monde

ท      ETC Group

ท      Fair World Project

ท      FIAN International

ท       Focus on the Global South

ท      Friends of the Earth Europe

ท      Friends of the Earth International

ท      GRAIN

ท      Greenpeace

ท      Groundswell International

ท      ICCA Consortium (Indigenous peoples’ and community conserved territories and areas)

ท      IFOAM EU Group

ท      IFOAM – organics international

ท      International Federation of Rural Adult Catholic Movements (FIMARC)

ท      International Network Urgenci (international network for Community-Supported Agriculture)

ท      JVE (Jeunes Volontaires Pour l’Environnement) International

ท      LDC Watch

ท      Migrant Forum in Asia

ท      Participatory Ecological Land Use Management Association (Pelum)

ท       People's Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS)

ท      Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDHDD Regional)

ท      Regional Civil Society Network for Food Security  and Nutrition  from Portuguese-Speaking Countries (REDSAN – CPLP)

ท      RIPESS Intercontinental

ท       Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad con los Pueblos de Am้rica Latina – SICSAL

ท      SEAFISH for Justice

ท      Slow Food

ท      Sociedad Cientํfica Latinoamericana de Agroecologํa (SOCLA)

ท      Solidarity Economy Europe

ท      South Asian Alliance for Poverty Eradication

ท      South Asian Network for Social & Agricultural Development (SANSAD)

ท      South Asia Peasants Coalition

ท      Third World Network

ท      Towards Organic Asia (TOA)

ท      Urgenci Europe

ท      Via Campesina

ท      World Rainforest Movement

National Organisations (300):


African Centre for Biodiversity South Africa and Tanzania

A Cultivar que se acaba el mundo, Argentina

Agronomes et V้t้rinaires Sans Fronti่res (AVSF), France

Action Contre la Faim (ACF), France

Asociacion de Desarrollo Tzuul Taq’a, Guatemala

ABONG (Associa็ใo Brasileira de ONGs), Brazil

All Nepal Peasants Federation, Nepal

Action Communautaire des Femmes Autochtones du Congo, DR Congo

Acci๓n por la Biodiversidad, Argentina

Association pour le D้veloppement Durable – M้denin, Tunisia

Association des Femmes Peules Autochtones du Tchad (AFPAT), Tchad

Asociaci๓n Nacional de Empresas Comercializadoras de Prodcutores del Campo (ANEC-M้xico)

APEDDUB (Association pour la Protection de l'Environnement et le D้veloppement Durable de Bizerte), Tunisia

A็ใo Franciscana de Ecologia e Solidariedad – AFES, Brazil

Agrecol Association for AgriCulture & Ecology, Germany

Active Society Nepal (ASN), Nepal

Aas welfare Society, Pakistan

Asociaci๓n Vida Sana, Spain

Alliance Sud, Switzerland

Asociaci๓n Nacional de Fomento a la Agricultura Ecologica - ANAFAE, Honduras

Alianza Hondure๑a de Cambio Climแtico – AHCC, Honduras

Acci๓n Educativa Santa Fe, Argentina

Asociaci๓n Latinoamericana de Educaci๓n Radiof๓nica ALER, Ecuador


Actions Communautaires pour le D้veloppement Int้gral (ACDI), R้publique du Congo (Brazzaville)

ALVF Extreme Nord, Cameroon

Alternatives Durables pour le D้veloppement, Cameroon

Association Congolaise pour le D้veloppement Agricole ACDA, DR Congo


ACTUAR - Association for Cooperation and Development, Portugal

Adivasi Mulvasi Astitva Raksha manch, India

AKSI, Indonesia

All Nepal Womens Association

ATTAC France


Brot fr die Welt, Germany

Biofuelwatch, UK

Biowatch South Africa

Bolivian Platform on Climate Change, Bolivia

Broederlijk Delen, Belgium

Bread for all, Switzerland

BASE Investigaciones Sociales, Paraguay

Brigada Cimarrona Sebastiแn Lemba, Republica Dominica

Bangladesh Krishok Federation

Bangladesh Jatiyo Sramik Jote

Bulig Visayas, Philippines

Brigada Cimarrona Sebastiแn Lemba, Republica Dominica


Climate Express, Belgium

CNCD-11.11.11, Belgium

Comit้ Fran็ais pour la Solidarit้ Internationale (CFSI), France

Center for Food Safety, USA

Community Alliance for Global Justice (CAGJ), USA

Carbon Underground, USA

CCFD-Terre Solidaire, France

Centro de Documentaci๓n en Derechos Humanos “Segundo Montes Mozo S.J. (CSMM), Ecuador

Caritas S้n้gal

Centro de Estudios Ecum้nicos A.C, Mexico

Casa Cultural Tejiendo Sororidades, Colombia

Colectivo DEDISE, Colombia

CooperAccion, Peru

Centro de Promocion de la Mujer Gregoria Apaza, Bolivia

Corporaci๓n Colombia Joven, Colombia

CLUSA, El Salvador

Coalici๓n Nacional de Redes y Organizaciones Ambientales – CONROA, Honduras

Centro Hondure๑o de Promoci๓n al Desarrollo Comunitario – CEHPRODEC, Honduras

Centro de Estudios ษtnicos de Colombia

CIPCA (Centro de Investigaci๓n y Promoci๓n del Campesinado), Bolivia

Comit้ de Impulso Nacional de la Agricultura Familiar, Colombia

Centre pour l'Environnement et le D้veloppement, Cameroon

Colegio de Graduados en Cooperativismo y Mutualismo (CGCyM), Argentina

Climaxi vzw, Belgium


Centro Nueva Tierra, Argentina


Community Development Library, Bangladesh

Campaign for Climate Justice Nepal, Nepal

Center for Environmental Justice, Sri Lanka

Codacop - Corporaci๓n de Apoyo a Comunidades Populares, Colombia

CARI (Centre d’Actions et de R้alisations Internationales), France

CIASE - Corporaci๓n de Investigaci๓n y Acci๓n Social y Econ๓mica, Colombia

CEDLA - Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo Laboral y Agrario, Bolivia

CBC - Centro Bartolom้ de Las Casas, Peru

Censat Agua Viva - Amigos de la Tierra Colombia

CEDEBI -  Asociaci๓n Colectivo Ecum้nico de Biblistas, Colombia

Community Agroecology Network, USA

Centro Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Cuba


Devarao Shivaram Trust, India

Dulal, India

Dinamismo Juvenil A.C., Mexico

Development and Peace, Canada

DKA Austria

Debt Watch, Indonesia


Entraide & Fraternit้, Belgium

EcoNexus, UK

El Grupo Semillas, Colombia

Eco Ruralis, Romania

Escuela Campesina de Educaci๓n y Salud (ESCAES), Peru

Equipo de Comunicaci๓n ALternativa con Mujeres ECAM, Bolivia

ESAFF Swaziland

Elkana, Georgia

Ecologistes en Accio de Catalunya, Spain

Ecologistas en Acci๓n, Spain

Ecological Agriculture Australia Association (EAAA), Australia

Educaci๓n y Comunicaciones (ECO), Chile

Ecosystem  based  Adaptation  for Food  Security  Assembly (EBAFOSA), Burundi


ENERGIES 2050, France

Equipo de Agricultura Urbana (Jardํn Botแnico de Medellํn), Colombia

Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food (EBAFOSA), Burundi

EquityBD, Bangladesh


Find Your Feet, UK

Food Sovereignty Ghana, Ghana

F้d้ration Inter-Environnement Wallonie, Belgium

Fundaci๓n Ca๓smosis, Colombia



Fundaci๓n PASOS, Bolivia

Fambidzanai Permaculture Centre, Zimbabwe

Family Farm Defenders, USA

FIAN Austria

FIAN Belgium

FIAN Germany

Focus on the Global South India

Focus on the Global South Thailand

Focus on the Global South  Philippines

FDCL - Center for Research and Documentation Chile-Latin America, Germany

FundacionParque Nacional Pico Bonito – FUPNAPIB, Honduras

Foro Agrํcola, Honduras


Forum Solidaridad Per๚

Friends of the Earth USA

Friends of the Earth France

Fundaci๓n Justicia y Desarrollo Local FUJUDEL, Rebulica Dominica

Fundaci๓n Semilla Andina, Colombia

Faso Enviprotek, Burkina Faso

FEC, Portugal

Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines

Fundaci๓n Fray Domingo de Vico lleva, Guatemala

Fastenopfer, switzerland


Gevalor, France

Gret-Professionnels du d้veloppement solidaire, France

Green Horizon, Cameroon

Greenpeace USA

Grassroots International, USA

GEFONT - Trade Union Federation, Nepal

Gitib, Philippines

Global-Environment-Protects-Cameroon (GEP)


Hecho en Bs As, Argentina

Human Rights Ambassador for, UK

HEKS - Hilfswerk der Evangelischen Kirchen Schweiz, Switzerland

Himalaya Niti Abhiyan, India

Human Rights Alliance Nepal

HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, Switzerland


Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), USA

Inades - Formation C๔te d'Ivoire, Ivory Coast

Ing้nieurs Sans Fronti่res - Agricultures et Souverainet้ Alimentaire (ISF AgriSTA), France

Innovations for Developmental Empowerment & Accessible Services (IDEAS), PakistanInstituto Brasileiro de Anแlises Sociais e Econ๔micas, Brazil

INCUPO-Instituto de Cultura Popular, Argentina

Instituto de Desarrollo y Medio Ambiente –IDMA, Peru

Instituto de Investigaci๓n y Capacitaci๓n Campesina (IICCA), Bolivia

Instituto Bartolome de Las Casas,Peru

Indigenous Nationalities Women Youth Network (INWYN), Nepal

Iyolosiwa A.C., Mexico

Instituto Mayor Campesino (IMCA), Colombia

Instituto Latinoamericano para una Sociedad y un Derecho Alternativos(ILSA), Colombia

Iglesias por la paz, Mexico

Indeso Mujer, Argentina

Instituto de Desarrollo de la Economํa Asociativa (IDEAC), Republica Dominica

Indian Social Action Forum, India

Institute for Essential Services and Resources, Indonesia

INKOTA-netzwerk, Germany

Institute of Science in Society, UK

IPDRS Instituto para el Desarrollo Rural de Sudam้rica, Bolivia


Jinukun-Copagen, B้nin

JARC (Juventud Agraria Rural Cat๓lica),Peru

Jeunes Volontaires Pour l’Environnement (JVE) – Ivory Coast

Jeunes Volontaires pour l'Environnement (JVE) – Niger

Jamaa Resource Initiatives, Kenya

Jatam Indonesia

Jagaran Nepal

Jana Vikas, Odisha, India


Koordinierungsstelle der ึsterreichischen Bischofskonferenz fr internationale Entwicklung und Mission (KOO), Austria


Kirat Youth Society, Pakistan

Kirat Chamling Language Culture Development Association (KCLCDA), Pakistan

Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum

Kerala Independent Fishworkers Federation, India

KAU - Anti Debt Coalition, Indonesia

KRUHA - Peoples Right to Water Coalition, Indonesia


Laboratoire de Recherche en Gestion et Economie des Industries Agroalimentaires (Largecia-Oniris Nantes), France

Labour,Health and Human Rights Development Centre, Nigeria

Living Farms, Odisha, India


Masipag, Philippines

Misereor, Germany

Mariann Co-ordinating Committee, South Africa

Metta Development Foundation, Myanmar

MELCA -  Ethiopia

Movimiento Indํgena Campesino de La Paz – MILPAH, Honduras

Monde Volontaire au D้veloppement, Togo

Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project, USA

Movimiento Ciudadano frente al Cambio Climแtico – MOCICC, Peru

Madretierra Permacultura, Colombia

mines, minerals and People (mmP), India

Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation (MSN), Malaysia

MASIPAG Mindanao, Philippines

Millennium Institute, USA


National Women Peasants Association, Nepal

Neighbours Initiative Alliance, Kenya

Noor Development Society, Pakistan

North South Initiative, Malaysia

Network of Traditional Rulers of Cameroon on Conservation, Biodiversity & Ecosystem Preservation (ReCTRAD)

National Federation of Hawkers Bangladesh

National Federation of Women Hawkers, India

Nadi Gati Morcha, India

National Hawkers Federation, India


Observatori DESC, Spain

Other Worlds, USA

Organic Consumers, USA

Our Rivers Our Life, Philippines

ORRISSA, Odisha, India

Odisha Paramparika Krushak Sangathana, India


Partners for the Land & Agricultural Needs of Traditional Peoples (PLANT), USA

Peoples Common Struggle Center, Pakistan


PAPDA (Plateforme ha๏tienne de Plaidoyer pour un D้veloppement Alternatif), Haiti

Plate-Forme pour le Commerce Equitable, France

People Unity Youth Society (PUYS), Nepal

Pusbinlat Motivator GT, Indonesia


Paghida-et sa KauswaganDevelopment Group (PDG), Philippines

Pastoralist Community Initiative and Development Assistance, Kenya

Pastoral Social Diocesana de Benjamin Aceval Chaco, Paraguay

Peuples Solidaires-ActionAid France

Plataforma de Agricultura Sostenible El Salvador – PASES, El Salvador

Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum

Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee (Farmers)

Philippine Movement for Climate Justice


Red de Acci๓n en Plaguicidas y Alternativas en M้xico (RAPAM), Mexico

Roshni Tariqiyati Tanzeem, Pakistan

Rencontre des Continents, Belgium

R้seau  FAIRNESS, France

R้seau Action Climat – France

R้seau M้dias et D้veloppement, Cameroon

R้seau Climat & D้veloppement, France

REALIMENTAR - Civil Society Network for Food Security and Food Sovereignty, Portugal

RJE (R้seau des Jeunes pour l'Environnement), Togo

Right to Food Network Nepal (RtFN), Nepal

River Basin Friends, India

Rural Reconstruction Nepal

RCDC, Odisha, India

Rights & Rights Social Society, Pakistan

R้seau Foi et Justice Afrique Europe – Antenne de France


SDWIND, Austria

Secours Catholique - Caritas France, France

Slow Food USA

Sociedad Cooperativa Marku Anchekoren, Mexico

Sibol Ng Agham At Teknolohiya (SIBAT) -  Wellspring of Science and Technology, Philippines

SOS FAIM, Belgium

Servicio Ecum้nico de Promoci๓n Alternativa – SEPA, Paraguay

Schools and Colleges Permaculture Programme SCOPE, Kenya

Send a Cow, UK

School of Acting justly, Loving tenderly and Treading Humbly (SALT Movement), Malaysia

SWISSAID, Switzerland

SUPRO, Bangladesh

Solidaritas Perempuan, Indonesia

Sawit Watch, Indonesia

Sanlakas, Philippines

Save Our Seeds, Germany

SPERI, Vietnam


Tanzania Organization for Agricultural Development (TOfAD), Tanzania

Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity, Tanzania

The Oakland Institute, USA

Terra Nuova, Italy

Todo en Comunidad AC, Mexico

Trashumancia y Naturaleza, Spain

Thai Climate Justice Working Group (TCJ), Thailand

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines


UK Food Group

USC Canada

Utooni Development Organization, Kenya

Unnayan Onneshan, Bangladesh


Vํa Orgแnica, Mexico

Verein zur Erhaltung der Nutzpflanzenvielfalt (VEN), Germany

VICARIA DEL SUR - Di๓cesis de Florencia, Colombia

Vogelschutz-komitee  e.V. Bird Protection Committee, Germany

VOICE, Bangladesh


Welthaus Graz, Austria

War on Want, UK

WhyHunger, USA

World Family, UK

WALHI - Friends of the Earth Indonesia


Youth Peasants Association, Nepal

Youth Awareness Society Nepal (YASN), Nepal


Zukunftsstiftung Landwirtschaft (Foundation on Future Farming)

[1]              See the Declaration of the international forum for agroecology. Ny้l้ni, Mali 27 February 2015

[2]              Ibidem

[3]              Letter 1

[4]              Letter 2

[5]              IDDRI, “Ensuring transparency and accountability of the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture in the perspective of COP21”, July 2015

[6]              Either through the direct membership of companies from the fertilizer industry (Haifa Chemicals Ltd., Yara and the Mosaic Company) and/or through their various umbrellas (such as Fertilizers Europe, The Fertilizer Institute, The international Fertilizer Industry association, …) in CIDSE, “Climate-Smart revolution… or a new era of green-washing?”, briefing, May 2015 

[7]              Monsanto:; Walmart :; McDonalds:

[8]              Agreed in Copenhagen in 2009 under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

[9]     the moment is unclear whether the Action Agenda will enter the negotiating text, and therefore get “institutionalized” also beyond Paris.