Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture: an important piece of the puzzle at COP26
The biggest climate change event in the world is just around the corner. The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) will kick off in Glasgow on 31 October. The COP26 summit will bring Parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Important goals of this year’s Conference include securing global net zero by mid-century and keeping 1.5 degrees within reach; adapting to protect communities and natural habitats; mobilising finance; and working together to rise to the challenges of the climate crisis.
The Conference comes at a particularly difficult time. Up to 811 million people were undernourished in 2020. Climate variability and extremes, conflict, and economic slowdowns and downturns, now exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, are major drivers of food insecurity, malnutrition, and poverty, and are jeopardizing global commitments to end world hunger and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030.
Discussions around climate change are often dominated by the transport and energy sectors. Nevertheless, agriculture and agri-food systems are an important part of the solution to the climate crisis and have a direct impact on better production, better nutrition, better environment, and a better life for all. Many people may not know that discussions about agriculture under the UNFCCC began back in 2011 and culminated in the landmark Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA) decision at COP23 in 2017. The Koronivia decision highlights the unique role of agriculture in tackling climate change and is the only programme to focus on agriculture and food security under UNFCCC.
COP26, a turning point for Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture
As part of the Koronivia roadmap, Parties and observers to the UNFCCC have met to discuss key topics on soils, nutrient use, water, livestock, methods for assessing adaptation, and the socio-economic and food security dimensions of climate change across the agricultural sectors. The KJWA process has shone a light on agriculture as a solution to climate change, and has produced a wealth of technical knowledge, giving Parties, observers and other stakeholder an opportunity to exchange views, information and lessons learned. Now it is time to take stock of all the work done and determine the first steps towards agricultural transformation.
As Parties prepare to report on the outcomes of the Koronivia work at COP26 and determine the way forward for agriculture under the UNFCCC, FAO stands ready to continue supporting countries.
Understanding the future of Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture: what could happen at COP26?
Although it is difficult to predict the outcomes of Koronivia discussions, FAO has recently developed a publication, “Understanding the future of Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture”, which identifies five categories that could offer various combinations or pathways for action. These should be considered not as a set of rigid and exclusive pathways, but rather as illustrative examples whose key features can be combined. The publication highlights similar cases of negotiation processes that have taken place under the UNFCCC to illustrate how these pathways can be materialized. The pathways demonstrate different levels of ambition and range from extending the roadmap to identifying technical priorities of work or even institutional modalities for their implementation. Take a look at this short animation to see what could happen at COP26.
Achieving a more sustainable, resilient and food secure agriculture in the face of a worsening climate crisis will take time. However, Koronivia will only be a true success when it creates the conditions to deliver concrete actions that benefit and strengthen the resilience of those most vulnerable, while protecting the environment we all depend on.
Best of luck to all climate negotiators! The end of the Koronivia roadmap provides a unique opportunity to take an important step towards meaningful change.
This work is possible thanks to the financial support of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)