Climate Change

FAO at COP22: Agriculture is key in the response to climate change


Agriculture key to climate response

This year’s climate conference ended with a resounding reminder of the importance of agriculture, food security and nutrition and the role played by smallholder farmers in combatting climate change.

This main message was made clear throughout the two week summit, referred to as COP22, presided by Morocco. FAO Director General Graziano da Silva, addressing the High Level Event on Accelerating Climate Action stated "...there is increasing recognition that climate action in agriculture is an opportunity to tackle climate change while driving sustainable development."

This is reflected throughout the Marrakech Action Proclamation for Our Climate and Sustainable Development adopted at COP22, which calls for 'all Parties to strengthen and support efforts to eradicate poverty, ensure food security and to take stringent action to deal with climate change challenges in agriculture.'

Dubbed the ‘COP for Action’, nearly 26,000 participants, including some 500 Heads of State and Ministers, representing over 195 countries, international organizations, civil society, the private sector, and global media, gathered to chart a way forward now that the Paris Agreement, brokered last year, is in force. World leaders renewed commitment to the ‘irreversible’ momentum of the Paris Agreement.

Building on momentum, building up action

As part of the Global Climate Agenda, a pillar of COP22 spearheaded by Climate Champions Hakima El Haité of Morocco and Laurence Tubiana of France, FAO co-organized three high level action events covering forestry, oceans, and agriculture and food security. Building on initiatives launched at COP21 in Paris, each event focused on the transformational potential and complementary adaptation and mitigation co-benefits from investing in sustainable agriculture sectors.

  • FAO launched the Global Framework on Water Scarcity aimed at supporting countries to integrate climate change and sustainable water use into agriculture sectors’ policies and cross-sectoral dialogue.

  • To galvanize action on oceans and building on the Blue Growth Initiative launched in Paris, FAO, with  its partners, the World Bank and the African Development Bank, announced the Africa Package. This is an ambitious set of technical and financial assistance to support ocean economies in Africa and to build greater resilience to climate change in coastal areas.

  • Expanding on the FAO Google partnership signed in Paris, FAO highlighted Collect Earth, an effective and cost-efficient tool to manage forests and to support real-time decision-making.

As noted by Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General, "these initiatives clearly place agriculture at the center of climate action solutions. But to truly unlock the capacity of the agriculture sectors to be more sustainable and resilient, we must scale up both action and ambition, including improved access to credit, insurance, funds, technology and capacity building support." For this, FAO welcomes the Marrakech Partnership For Global Climate Action which recognizes the urgent need to deliver climate action at an accelerated pace and at an enhanced scale across all sectors of the economy and society.

Getting down to business

As the political commitments from Paris become concrete action plans, this climate change summit saw a great emphasis on finance. At side events, meetings and presentations, countries explored innovative solutions, seized partnership opportunities and shared experiences.

FAO, accredited to the Green Climate Fund and member of other climate-relevant financial mechanisms, facilitated dialogues so that countries can better develop and implement their national climate plans and pledges. The agriculture sectors are a high priority among these commitments, known as National Determined Contributions (NDCs).  Implementation received a boost with the launch of the NDC Partnership – a global coalition of developing and developed countries and international institutions, working to ensure countries receive the technical and financial support they need to meet climate and sustainable development goals fast and effectively.  

"Now we need to get down to business by enhancing support and investment in climate solutions in the agriculture sectors, » said Graziano. «In this way, we can reap the benefits of a triple-win in fighting poverty, food security and climate change to achieve our goal of Zero Hunger and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda".

Small Island States (SIDS), which are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts, received considerable support during the summit, with attention focused on building resilience and innovative solutions to climate change challenges. The announcement that Fiji is the incoming President of the 2017 UN Climate Conference provides further opportunities for raising awareness on SIDS. 

FAO in action at COP22

Beyond the Global Climate Action events, FAO participated in over 80 side events, with both high-level and technical interventions. A series of bilaterals, including with the incoming COP23 presidency of Fiji, further helped pave the way towards climate support to Member countries. 

During COP22, FAO made several important announcements, including a partnership with the Green Climate Fund; a conference on nutrition with the Premier of Quebec next year; and a $1.5 million Africa Solidarity Trust Fund project to help Small Island States (SIDS) fight climate change.

Suggested links:

FAO climate change website 
FAO at COP22 
FAO’s work on climate change  
FAO infographics on climate change