Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture

Land use in Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture

Food security & socio-economic dimensions


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), together with the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) organized a webinar on 28 January 2021, to introduce their forthcoming co-publication ´Land use and the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture’. The objective of the publication is to examine the complex interrelations between land uses and climate change, and how these should be taken into account in the formulation and implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation policies. More generally, the paper will underline how a better integration of land uses under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), especially through the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA), could contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development including the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The webinar was an opportunity for FAO and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), program on FTA, to gather valuable feedback from experts, including members of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA) community and of the Thematic Working Group (TWG) on Agriculture, Food Security and Land Use. This feedback and other consultations in the coming months will feed into the final version of the study, to be published before November 2021.

Webinar key messages

  • The interrelations between land use and climate change are numerous and complex.
  • Land uses and land use changes are a net contributor to climate change (deforestation, land degradation). Unsustainable practices in land use and land use changes reinforce climate change. This threatens rural livelihoods and the achievement of food security.
  • However, land use has an enormous potential in achieving our emission reduction targets.
  • At the same time, the land use sector is significantly affected by climate change impacts (variations in temperatures and precipitations, as well as extreme events). This sector should be a priority in our efforts towards adaptation and resilience. 
  • Agriculture, forestry and other land uses are rarely targeted simultaneously under the UNFCCC but rather in different workstreams.
  • The importance of land use in relation to climate should be recognized and its treatment under UNFCCC could be improved through an integrated approach between the different types of land uses.
  • The Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture constitutes a unique opportunity for a better integration of the issues related to land use.

How does land use relate to climate change?

Land use activities are a significant contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on Climate Change and Land published in 2019, the Agriculture, Forestry, and other land use (AFOLU) sectors contribute to about 23 percent of the total anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). A growing global population and increasing demand for agricultural and livestock products, combined with unsustainable agricultural practices, increase pressures on land, which leads to land use change, including deforestation. Land use changes and land degradation result in a reduction of carbon sinks and have cascading negative impacts on ecosystem services such as water retention, soil biodiversity, and soil fertility. All these factors reinforce climate change, while making land use sectors even more vulnerable to its impacts. Ultimately, this significantly jeopardizes the livelihoods of those who depend on these resources, putting more and more pressure on local agricultural and food systems.

The Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture as a driver of change in land use sectors

As the only agenda item to focus on agriculture and food security under the UNFCCC, the KJWA constitutes an unprecedented opportunity to address the links between land use, climate change and food security. This consultation comes at a timely moment, with two intersessional workshops on “Sustainable water and land management” and “Strategies and modalities to scale up implementation” planned in the coming months as part of the KJWA roadmap. These topics are particularly related to the landscape approach highlighted during the webinar.

Watch the webinar recording here. To stay updated on next steps and upcoming consultations, keep an eye on the KJWA website or sign up to our newsletter here.