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Germany launches €20 million programme with FAO and UNDP to boost the agriculture sectors’ role in addressing climate change

The initiative will support developing countries accelerate and improve planning, build resilience and engage with the private sector

11 December, Madrid - The German Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety  through its International Climate Initiative today announced it is providing €20 million for a new programme co-led by FAO and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to accelerate climate change action in developing countries' agricultural and land use sectors.

At least 10-12 countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa will stand to benefit from the programme which aims to assist them strengthen policies, adopt innovative approaches and remove key barriers related to information gaps, governance, finance, gender mainstreaming, and integrated monitoring and reporting.

Countries will develop capacities to own and lead processes to develop agriculture and land use - including water and forestry - and meet targets set out in their Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

"Too little attention has been paid to land use and agriculture in international discussions on climate until now, despite the fact that soil is the largest carbon sink on the planet after the oceans," said Svenja Schulze, Germany's Minister for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid.

"In addition, adaptation to climate change is confronting agriculture with ever greater challenges, especially in developing countries, where especially high priority is attached to food security and farming incomes. But agriculture is also a major greenhouse gas emission source. These are issues that we want to tackle together with our partner countries."

FAO Director-General QU Dongyu, said: "An innovative approach to agriculture and land use is essential if we are to confront the current climate emergency and deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement.

"This generous funding from the German government will support FAO and UNDP in their work with developing countries and help create initiatives in agriculture and land use for the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals."

The German-funded initiative, "Support Programme on Scaling up Ambition on Land Use and Agriculture through NDCs and NAPs implementation", will also help governments identify adaptation and mitigation options and prioritize solutions that will build capacity and resilience. Every country's climate change concerns are different and support needs to be individually tailored to help each country develop their agriculture and land use sectors in this context.

"This strategic programme will assist developing countries with planning and budgeting the much-needed shift to more sustainable land-use and agriculture practices -- while helping vulnerable communities to better cope with the impact of climate change," said UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner.

"And this exciting partnership with FAO will feed into UNDP's Climate Promise which is supporting 100 countries to submit enhanced NDCs by 2020."

Private partnerships will also be encouraged to promote action and nature-based solutions that explore business models. The aim is to build the resilience of rural communities and vulnerable populations including women.

The initiative comes as the UN and the scientific community is highlighting the need for enhanced action to address climate change as extreme weather events, from heatwaves to droughts and floods, are becoming more frequent.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its special report on the impacts of global warming underlined that it is not possible to limit global warming within 1.5 degrees without a substantial contribution from the agriculture sectors. Agriculture and land use are estimated to contribute between 25 to 30 percent to global greenhouse emissions hence the sector is uniquely placed to deliver on climate and environmental goals.

The new partnership with Germany announced today builds on the success of the FAO-UNDP Integrating Agriculture in National Adaptation Plans programme, which supported 11 countries to strengthen their capacities in climate resilience and planning, and is expected to conclude in 2020.

FAO and UNDP will work closely together to implement the initiative, and support and serve countries based on their comparative advantage.

Germany is an important partner for FAO and its contributions support a wide range of programmes including development cooperation, emergency response and resilience building.

Photo: ©FAO/Eduardo Dieguez San Bernardo
FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, with Svenja Schulze, Germany’s Environment Minister, and Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, at launch of new €20 million programme.