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Agriculture Has Major Potential to Simultaneously Tackle Poverty, Hunger and Climate Change 

Marrakech, Morocco, 16 November 2016 – The Kingdom of Morocco, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and other partners are stepping up climate action in agriculture with three new initiatives: Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA), Global Framework on Water Scarcity and the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact. Launched at today’s Agriculture and Food Security Action Event during the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech (COP22), the initiatives are designed to assist small-scale farmers in building their adaptive capacities, to help urban citizens in dealing with the impacts of climate change and to support countries in fulfilling their climate commitments.

The Action Event is part of the Global Climate Action Agenda, led by France and Morocco, which aims to boost concerted efforts by the public and private sectors to cut emissions rapidly, help vulnerable nations adapt to climate impacts and build a sustainable future.

Most countries consider agriculture among their adaptation or mitigation priorities to help limit global temperature rise, in line with the Paris Climate Change Agreement. 95 percent of all countries include the sector in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). Practices such as the use of nitrogen-efficient and heat-tolerant crop varieties, improved water harvesting, zero-tillage and sustainable soil management lead to improvements in food security as well as resilience to climate change.

The AAA initiative aims to build the resilience of farmers in Africa by promoting sustainable soil management, better water management and risk management linked with tailored capacity development, policies and funding mechanisms. The adaptation benefits yielded by the increased use of climate funds and agricultural projects are expected to have positive global implications.

“This is an initiative which seeks to act as a voice for African agriculture in the climate arena,” said Aziz Akhannouch, Minister for Agriculture and Fishery of Morocco. “The AAA initiative aims to build the resilience of farmers in Africa by promoting sustainable soil management, better water management and risk management,” added Mohamed Badraoui, Chair of the Scientific Committee of the AAA Initiative. 

Aligned with the African Adaptation Initiative ("AAI"), the AAA already has the active support of 28 African countries, several national and private sector entities as well as of the FAO.

“In many countries, adapting to climate change and finding ways to ensure food security and nutrition are part of the same challenge”, said FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, noting that the widespread adoption of climate-resilient practices would boost productivity and farmers’ incomes and lower food prices.

The FAO initiative aims to identify priority actions and drive innovation for agriculture adaptation to water-scarce conditions, which are increasing in intensity and frequency due to climate change. The Global Framework on Water Scarcity supports countries in integrating climate action and sustainable water use into policies for their agricultural sectors and cross-sectoral dialogue, implement their national climate action plans (Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs), enhance the development of capacity in the climate-water-food-energy nexus, and shares knowledge and experiences with other countries.

 “Higher temperatures, increasing variability of rainfall, more frequent droughts and floods, and sea level rise are all disrupting the amount of water available for crops, livestock, forests and fisheries, seriously affecting livelihoods", said Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General.  She emphasized that agriculture accounts for 70 percent of global water withdrawals, and more water will be needed to produce nutritious and sufficient food for a growing population.

Building on FAO’s experience of working with countries to make water use in agriculture more efficient, productive, equitable and sustainable, in particular FAO’s water scarcity initiative in the Near East and North Africa, the Global Framework also contributes to achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda. Several governments and knowledge and investment-related organizations have recently joined this rapidly growing multi-stakeholder platform.

To speed up and scale up climate action, the third new initiative discussed at the Agriculture and Food Security Action Event involves public participation in urban and peri-urban areas. Introduced last year, the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) calls for sustainable food systems that foster the accessibility of healthy food to urban citizens, biodiversity protection and food waste reduction. The pact was signed by the mayors of 130 cities around the world.

The Agriculture and Food Security Action Event includes dialogue sessions that focus on priority topics for mainstreaming climate-resilience in agriculture: i) ecosystem approaches for increased resilience, ii) integration across the landscape and value chain, iii) water management, and iv) climate finance. Stakeholders from across the board – governments, intergovernmental organizations, business and civil society – are coming together to explore measures that would facilitate the transition to and investments in sustainable, climate-resilient and more productive agriculture.

About Global Climate Action

France and Morocco's global climate champions have set out their detailed agenda to boost cooperative action between governments, cities, business, investors and citizens to cut emissions rapidly and help vulnerable nations adapt to climate impacts and build their own clean energy, sustainable futures.

Message from the Champions

“A year after COP 21, the momentum of climate action is now growing strong. As we gather in Marrakech, time has come to take stock of what has been achieved during the last year. To be consistent with the long-term goals, all actors have to work together, not only to achieve the national targets of the NDCs, but also to go further and bridge the gap of emissions. This sense of urgency should guide us all into accelerating immediate efforts and delivering ambitious action. We must identify what concrete policy options and what tools to mobilize in the short term. The science is clear: the path towards achieving the long-term goals should bring us to peaking GHG emissions by 2020. This is a challenge, and we are not there yet. With the current trends, we will be between 11 to 14 GT above Paris-compatible pathways in 2030. The purpose of these Climate Action Events is to strengthen all efforts towards reaching three objectives: stay well below 2°C and if possible 1.5°C; increase adaptation and resilience capacities; and reorient financial flows. It is our responsibility, as Champions, to make the link between the real world and the COP process. Political leaders from all around the world should hear and be inspired by the solutions within our reach.”

Climate Champions Laurence Tubiana (France) and Hakima El Haité (Morocco)


Adaptation of African Agriculture

Global Framework on Water Scarcity

Milan Urban Food Policy Pact

Tina Farmer, Communication Adviser
Office of the Deputy Director-General Natural Resources
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Tel: +39 06 570 56846
Email: tina.farmer@fao.org

Mia Rowan, Programme Officer/Communication

Department of Agriculture

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Tel: +39 06 570 56939

Email: mia.rowan@fao.org

For information about Global Climate Action:

UNFCCC: Matthew Phillips | mphillips@unfccc.int| +212 (0) 688 006 615

Contact for champion Hakima El Haité: Anne Testuz  | anne@atestuz.com |

+212 (0) 6 34 61 64 37

Contact for champion Laurence Tubiana: Marie Jaudet | marie.jaudet@cop21.gouv.fr | +33 (0)6 64 40 22 46

Follow the Global Climate Action

On the web: http://newsroom.unfccc.int/climate-action/

On social media: @UNFCCC @COP22 @LaurenceTubiana @HElHaiteCop22

On live-stream: http://unfccc.cloud.streamworld.de/upcoming





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