Support to the UNFCCC process

Negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are nearing an important milestone with the post-2020 global climate agreement scheduled to be concluded in Paris in December 2015.

FAO is currently an observer to UNFCCC and provides technical advice to member countries. FAO has an important role to play in the negotiations under the Convention, where ensuring food production is not threatened is a primary objective.

Article 2 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change states that:

“The ultimate objective of this Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the Parties may adopt is to achieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner”.

The agricultural sectors are a critical component of the global response to climate change. FAO plays an important role in assisting member countries to understand the challenges and opportunities for the sectors and the range of possible responses. This includes advising on the UNFCCC process. Decisive action on climate change is crucial if we wish to eliminate hunger. Below is FAO’s approach to food security and climate change:

  • FAO stands for food security and poverty eradication. Our work is to ensure food security especially under the impacts of climate change. The central importance of food security needs to be recognized in the post-2020 agreement. FAO is clearly supporting UNFCCC as the central forum for climate change.
  • The agricultural sectors are particularly exposed to the impacts of climate change and climate variability. The impacts are already felt today. We need to create more resilient food production systems that are better adapted to the changing climatic conditions.
  • At the same time, the global population grows. We need to sustainably increase the productivity of agricultural sectors. The right policies to ensure food security and build resilience and productivity typically come with substantial benefits, particularly for the rural poor. Better watershed management, improved soil quality and gender empowerment are only some examples.
  • Mitigation and the potential to sequester emissions in soils and trees are another important additional benefit. There will be challenges for the sector, but there will also be opportunities – if we get the global policies right. That means, looking holistically at all the services farmers provide – not only food production.
  • There should be additional financial advantages to encourage the right policies. We need to ensure that these financial advantages benefit in particular the world’s poorest honoring their efforts to build resilience and to harness the mitigation potential of agriculture for the benefit of all mankind.
  • Climate change can only be addressed in an “all of government” approach. Therefore, Ministries of agriculture, fisheries and forestry need to be at the table when countries develop and implement domestic policies to address climate change and national positions for the negotiations.


last updated:  Tuesday, May 26, 2015