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 Climate Action Network (CAN)

Second Session of Climate Dialogues: Koronivia workshop on improved livestock management systems

Download the full closing statement. 

We have spent time today speaking largely about 39% of the emissions that come from livestock (enteric fermentation), while leaving out a big cow in the room — which is namely, CO2 Emissions from livestock related land use change and CO2 and non-CO2 emissions from feed production and processing. The GEF representative rightly said that that we need to consider livestock mitigation within the broader landscape — including addressing deforestation and land degradation. 45% of livestock emissions come from these key activities and it is unfortunate that we have run out of time to discuss how we tackle these issues. This is particularly critical given the feedback loop that this segment of the emissions have on biodiversity loss, fertiliser run-off and increase of deadzones. Both biodiversity loss and deadzones are in turn exacerbated by climate change and in turn lead to increasing emissions — a very problematic feedback loop that impacts the adaptation and mitigation related to livestock management.

The unchecked land use change and clearing of land for feed contributes further to risks of zoonotic diseases and exacerbates impacts on rural livelihoods including of pastoralists and indigenous communities, thus also challenging adaptation. It is critical to devote attention to this segment of emissions because it addresses a growing area of livestock production — the growth of pork and poultry production, which is projected to continue into next decades. We can therefore not continue to keep a narrow focus with technological fixes on enteric fermentation, but must address how to shift entire livestock management systems that are leading to these compounding problems. It is critical, therefore, that ecosystem restoration be benchmarked as part of mitigation and adaptation efforts for livestock within NDCs and NAPs.

Second, it is critical that we build on the findings of the IPCC Special Report on land and not turn back the clock on the role of diet shifts as a critical “low hanging” fruit in addressing livestock emissions. Developed countries can do much to tackle demand-side emissions. These include: improving and integrating planetary boundaries into dietary guidelines; ensuring that price of livestock products reflect the true cost of production, including environmental costs with complimentary social policies to ensure nutrition for poor populations; elevate measures to shift diets towards greater consumption of vegetable protein.

Third, CAN/ENGO reiterates that Parties must address absolute livestock emissions, which means getting a handle on the number of animals in production in the coming decade. Business models must reflect the climate crisis and as such growth of profits need not translate to a growth in animals. The livestock sector cannot do its part by limiting efforts for mitigation to emissions intensity reduction, while continuing to increase animals in production.

Finally, there is much that Parties, the Global Climate Fund, the Adaptation Fund, the GEF and other financing & technical assistance mechanisms can and must do to enhance adaptation of the livestock sector which can contribute to ecosystem restoration, rural livelihoods, biodiversity and animal welfare. Public policies and financial support must shift away from industrial animal agriculture towards supporting agropastoral and agroecological systems that support less and better meat and diet shifts. Genetic diversity of livestock, ensuring that livestock can help close nutrient cycles rather than unravel them, optimally managing permanent pasture and meadows to increase carbon conservation, soil health and biodiversity are critical.

A Just Transition with bottom up approaches and social measures to support pastoralists, small scale farmers and other rural livestock producers is essential for a positive outcome for both adaptation and mitigation.

Submitted in writing by Shefali Sharma (Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy) on behalf of CAN International/ENGO (as we were not able to present it during the session).

Download a PDF of the CAN closing statement here