Agriculture en Resolving the Food Crisis: Assessing Global Policy Reforms Since 2007 <div data-history-node-id="41680" class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-agriculture has-field-primary-category no-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/timothy-wise" hreflang="en">Timothy Wise</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/sophia-murphy" hreflang="en">Sophia Murphy</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><h3>Executive summary</h3> <p>The recent spikes in global food-prices in 2007-08 served as a wake-up call to the global community on the inadequacies of our global food system. Commodity prices doubled, the estimated number of hungry people topped one billion and food riots spread through the developing world. A second price spike in 2010-11, which is expected to drive the global food import bill for 2011 to an astonishing $1.3 trillion, only deepened the sense that the policies and principles guiding agricultural development and food security were deeply flawed. </p> <p>There is now widespread agreement that international agricultural prices will remain significantly higher than precrisis levels for at least the next decade, with many warning that demand will outstrip supply by 2050 unless concerted action is taken to address the underlying problems with our food system.</p> <p>The crisis certainly awakened the global community. Since 2007, governments and international agencies have made food security a priority issue, and with a decidedly different tone. They stress the importance of agricultural development and food production in developing countries, the key role of small-scale farmers and women, the challenge of limited resources in a climate-constrained world, the important role of the state in “country-led” agricultural development programs, the critical role of public investment. For many, these priorities represent a sea change from policies that sought to free markets from government policies seen as hampering efficient resource allocation. Now that those policies and markets have failed to deliver food security, the debates over how countries and international institutions should manage our food system are more open than they have been in decades.</p> <p>The purpose of this report is to look beyond the proclamations and communiqués to assess what has really changed since the crisis erupted. While not exhaustive, the report looks at: Overseas Development Assistance, both in terms of how much and what is funded; Multilateral Development Banks’ policies and programs; selected U.N. agencies and initiatives, notably the Committee on Food Security (CFS); the G-20 group of economically powerful governments; and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food, who has injected a resonant “right to food” approach to the issue.</p> <p> </p> <ul> <li>low levels of investment in developing-country agriculture in general and small-scale agriculture in particular; </li> <li>reduced support for publicly funded research and development and increased reliance on private research;</li> <li>a reliance on international trade to meet domestic food needs in poor countries that can ill-afford the import dependence and declining local production; </li> <li> <div>a bias toward cash crops for export over food production for domestic markets; </div> </li> <li> <div>increasing land use for non-food agricultural crops such as biofuels for industrial uses;</div> </li> <li> <div>support for high-input agricultural methods over more environmentally sustainable low-input systems; </div> </li> <li> <div>inadequate attention to the linkages between climate change and food security; and </div> </li> <li> <div>deregulation of commodity markets and increasing financial speculation in agricultural commodities,  including staple food crops as well as land.</div> </li> </ul> <h4>Findings</h4> <div>Our review suggests that on the positive side, the food crisis was an important catalyst for change. As high prices persisted and public protest mounted, many governments were confronted with “moments of truth,” the cumulative result of which was to question some of the assumptions that had driven food and agriculture policy over the past few decades. This prompted renwed attention to agricultural development, reversing the long-standing neglect of agriculture as a vital economic sector. It also brought some important new funding, though at levels still far short of what is needed. </div> <div> </div> <div>The stated priorities for much of that funding suggest distinct improvement over the policies of the past few decades. The needs and political voices of small-scale farmers and women; environmental issues, including climate change; and, the weaknesses of international markets now receive more attention. The additional funding for these important areas is also driven by greater openness to country-led programs with strong state involvement, a marked change from past priorities. </div> <div> </div> <div>Our review suggests areas of great concern, though. We see neither the necessary urgency nor the willingness to change policies that contributed to the recent crisis. New international funding is welcome, but only $6.1 billion of the G-8’s pledged $22 billion, three-year commitment represents new money, and those pledges have been slow to materialize and are now threatened with cutbacks as developed countries adopt austerity measures. The overwhelming priority is to increase production. There are reasons to focus on this, specifically within low-income net-food importing countries. The setting of production targets at the global level, however, encourages an expansion in industrial agriculture and the consolidation of land holdings, including land grabs, and ignores environmental constraints and equity issues. </div> <div> </div> <div>Beyond funding, we find that the policies that contributed to the recent food-price crisis have gone largely unchanged, leaving global food security as fragile as ever. The world needs policies that discourage biofuels expansion, regulate financial speculation, limit irresponsible land investments, encourage the use of buffer stocks, move away from fossil fuel dependence and toward agro-ecological practices, and reform global agricultural trade rules to support rather than undermine food security objectives. </div> <div> </div> <div>Unfortunately, we find that the international institutions reviewed have shown too little resolve to address these issues. Although at the G-20 the world’s most economically powerful nations have asserted leadership on food security, their actions have been tepid if not counterproductive. This has had a chilling effect on reform efforts elsewhere in the international system, most notably at the United Nations. This raises important governance issues. The U.N.’s CFS is formally recognized by most institutions as the appropriate body to </div> <div>coordinate the global response to the food crisis, because of both its mandate and its inclusive, multi- takeholder structure. Yet in practice the G-20 has systematically constrained the reform agenda. Similarly, the WTO’s recent efforts to give the Doha Agenda more relevance by including food security issues in the form of restrictions on exporting countries’ use of export tariffs have failed, because many of the exporters (most of the G-20 members) refuse to surrender that policy space. Not surprisingly, importing countries’ wish for the same policy space with regard to their imports are now more determined than ever to insist on their rights.</div> <div> </div> <div>The recent food-price crisis exposed the fragility of the global food system. A paradigm shift is underway, caused by the deepening integration of agricultural, energy and financial markets in a resource-constrained world made more vulnerable by climate change. Powerful multinational firms dominate these markets. Many benefit from current policies and practices and their interests are a dominant influence in national and global policies—slowing, diverting, or halting needed action. This leaves international institutions promoting market-friendly reforms but resistant to imposing the concomitant regulations required to ensure well-functioning food and agricultural markets.</div> <div> </div> <div> <div>Three areas in particular demand decisive action:</div> <ul> <li>Biofuels expansion – There is a clear international consensus that current policies to encourage biofuel expansion, particularly in the United States and Europe, are a major contributor to rising demand, tight supplies and rising prices. Yet international institutions, from the G-20 to the U.N. High-Level Task Force to the CFS, have diluted their demands for actions to address this problem.</li> <li>Price volatility – High spikes in prices remain a major problem for poor people worldwide, and for foodimporting developing countries in particular. The policy goal, for effective market functioning and for food security, should be relatively stable prices that are remunerative to farmers and affordable to consumers. We find few concrete actions toward this goal. There is strong evidence that financial speculation contributed to recent food-price volatility, though there remains considerable debate on the subject. As an FAO report on the topic noted, there is no demonstrated benefit to the public of allowing such speculation, and the potential costs are huge. Precautionary regulations are warranted but few have been taken. Similarly, the lack of publicly held food reserves contributes to the shortages that make speculation possible while leaving vulnerable countries at risk. Reserves should be explored more actively than simply as emergency regional humanitarian policy instruments. </li> <li>Land grabs – The scale and pace of land grabs is truly alarming, driven by financial speculation and land-banking by sovereign wealth funds in resource-constrained nations. The consensus is that such investments are not good for either food security or development. As laudable as recent efforts are to promote “responsible agricultural investment,” these initiatives risk being “too little too late” for a fast-moving phenomenon. Meanwhile, international institutions, such as the World Bank, must do more to protect smallscale producers’ access to land. </li> </ul> <div> </div> <div>Fortunately, many developing countries are not waiting for international action or permission to more aggressively address the problems that can be dealt with at a national or regional level. Many of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) projects in Africa, for example, emphasize the kinds of changes that are needed. CAADP has four pillars: land and water management, market access, food supply and hunger, and agricultural research. Bangladesh and other countries used food reserves to reduce the impact of the food-price spikes in far more ambitious efforts than the G-20 is proposing to support in West Africa. </div> <div> </div> <div>Developing-country governments will be central to bringing about such changes. They need the policy space to pursue their own solutions and they need the support of the international community to demand deeper reform in developed-country policies. The evidence discussed in this report suggests the paradigm shift has started but is incomplete. Many developing-country governments have chosen to step away from the prevailing orthodoxy of the last several decades and are again exploring a larger role for the public sector in governing agriculture and food. Donors, too, have shown some willingness to re-order priorities and to give greater space to agriculture, and to changing priorities within agricultural spending to acknowledge the need for more inclusive and sustainable outcomes. But they still resist more fundamental reform and continue to promote private investment and liberalized markets, relying on humanitarian aid and social safety nets to try to help those who are displaced by the policies.</div> <div> </div> <div>Perhaps not surprisingly, developed-country governments have yet to make the needed changes to their domestic policies. Comfortable with re-ordering development priorities, governments of rich countries have proved unwilling to look at their domestic agricultural economies to see what changes are needed there. If the most powerful countries are not willing to make the changes at home that would help international markets perform better, they should at a minimum stop undermining international efforts, at the U.N. and within </div> <div>and among developing countries, to address the fundamental causes of the food crisis.</div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-upload field--type-file field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Upload</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><span class="file file--mime-application-pdf file--application-pdf icon-before"><span class="file-icon"><span class="icon glyphicon glyphicon-file text-primary" aria-hidden="true"></span></span><span class="file-link"><a href="" type="application/pdf; length=885806" title="Open file in new window" target="_blank" data-toggle="tooltip" data-placement="bottom">2012_01_17_ResolvingFoodCrisis_SM_TW.pdf</a></span><span class="file-size">865.04 KB</span></span></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/agriculture2" hreflang="en">Agriculture</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 18 Jan 2012 15:48:00 +0000 Andrew Ranallo 41680 at Why agricultural carbon offsets can’t play a role in international climate action <span>Why agricultural carbon offsets can’t play a role in international climate action </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/34897" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Cecelia Heffron</span></span> <span>Tue, 11/24/2020 - 10:21</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Today, governments at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (<a href="">UNFCCC</a>) are discussing the role of carbon markets in international climate action. The <a href="">“Article 6”</a> rules, which define how countries can reduce their emissions using international carbon markets, are the last part of the Paris Agreement to be resolved. In preparation for these negotiations, IATP and partners <a></div> Tue, 24 Nov 2020 16:21:58 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44412 at Carbon Markets and Agriculture <div data-history-node-id="44410" class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-climate-change has-field-primary-category has-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <h3 > Why offsetting is putting us on the wrong track</h3> <div class="field field--name-field-author-text field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author (free form)</div> <div class="field--item"><p>Carbon Market Watch, Gilles Dufranse </p> <p>Secours Catholique, Sara Lickel </p> <p>CCFD-Terre Solidaire, Manon Castagné</p> <p>IATP, Tara Ritter </p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-feature"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/feat/public/2020-11/carbon%20markets%20cover%203.png?itok=j2mWUvsR" width="950" height="590" alt="carbon markets cover 3" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-credit-flickr field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Used under creative commons license from <a href="">CCFD</a></div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><a href="">Download a PDF of the brief</a>. </p> <p data-placeholder="Translation" dir="ltr" id="tw-target-text"><a href="">Télécharger un PDF en français</a>. </p> <h1>Executive summary</h1> <p>Climate mitigation projects in the agriculture sector, particularly those focused on storing carbon in soils, are increasingly being tied to carbon markets. But the impact of these initiatives is highly questionable.</p> <p>First, agricultural offsetting schemes can be damaging to farmers. Some markets endanger food security and limit farmers’ autonomy by incentivising the uptake of specific practices, or transforming agricultural land into tree plantations. Such projects also increase the problem of the financialization of land.</p> <p>Many of these offsetting initiatives also have very uncertain benefits for the climate, because their impacts are both extremely difficult to quantify, and highly vulnerable to changes over time, for instance when carbon stored in soil is released due to extreme weather or a change in land management practices. In addition, some projects generate carbon credits while allowing for an overall increase in emissions, because they only measure the carbon intensity of an activity, rather than absolute emissions.</p> <p>Finally, such offsetting schemes tend to lock in agricultural models that are detrimental to climate ambition. They have high implementation costs and distract from more sustainable, cheaper, and proven options, such as incentivizing agroecological practices. Also, nearly all projects aim to reduce emissions at the farm-level, even though half of agricultural emissions take place outside of the farm and are largely driven by agri-businesses, e.g. through the manufacturing of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. This puts the blame on individual farmers instead of focusing on corporate and agribusiness-led emissions.</p> <h1>Recommendations</h1> <p>To reduce the agricultural sector’s climate impact and help farmers adapt to climate change, a large scale transformative approach is needed to transition towards an agroecology-based model:</p> <ul> <li>At the national level, governments should develop a strategy to transition towards agroecology and enable the private sector to contribute to the transition without opening the door for greenwashing through offsetting mechanisms.</li> <li>At the EU level, the European Commission should not propose a framework that will allow for uncertain and unstable “negative emissions” from agriculture to justify emissions in other sectors. Instead, decision-makers need to ensure that climate and agricultural finance are directed towards systemic change that improves biodiversity, the climate, and farmers’ autonomy. The CAP must stop Single Farm Payments (SFPs) and increase finance for agroecology and organic agriculture.</li> <li>At the UNFCCC level, countries should exclude the land sector from international carbon markets under article 6 of the Paris Agreement, and should instead focus on contributing to climate finance transfers and ensuring existing tools are used as levers for the agroecological transition, e.g. through the Green Climate Fund.</li> </ul> <h1>Introduction</h1> <p>The world is currently far from being on track to meet the targets agreed upon in the Paris Agreement (2015) to limit global warming to 1.5°C.</p> <p>The IPCC Special Report on Land and Climate (2019) showed how necessary it is to protect and restore degraded ecosystems if we are to meet our climate targets. But it also articulated very clearly that land can only support a small portion of our efforts, which means it cannot be used to compensate for our current emissions levels, let alone a continuous increase in GHG emissions. Climate action simultaneously requires an immediate drastic cut in emissions, and protection and restoration of ecosystems.</p> <p>In climate policies around the world, those learnings from science are being dangerously ignored.</p> <p>We’ve seen in the last decade an increased appetite for carbon markets without absolute limits on emissions, that is, carbon markets that do not set an absolute amount of credits that can be traded<sup>1</sup>. Such carbon markets cannot solve the climate crisis. They provide cheap and abundant credits that fail to create real incentives for GHG emission reductions. But, most importantly, allowing emissions reductions in one sector to offset emissions in a different sector does not reduce overall GHG emissions, let alone GHG concentration in the atmosphere, which is what ultimately drives climate change. In the land sector, the problem of offsets is even worse. Carbon sequestered in soils and trees is often used to compensate for GHG emissions elsewhere. Planting trees in order to offset emissions from a flight, for instance, is a well-known practice. But saying that an emission has been cancelled assumes that the trees that sequestered the carbon will never burn or decompose, and that the soil will never release its carbon through a change in management practices or because of extreme weather events. This could be ensured over the course of a few years, but these assumptions are utterly unrealistic in the long run.</p> <p>In recent years, countries and companies have shown increasing interest in using voluntary agricultural carbon markets to offset their emissions. Many of these markets are created or supported by large oil or agro-industrial companies. For instance, Japan Petroleum and the Syngenta Foundation are members of the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund, and Bayer just launched its own carbon market initiative<sup>2</sup>.</p> <p>This note discusses the specific problems related to offsetting schemes in agriculture.</p> <blockquote><p>Saying that an emission has been cancelled assumes that the trees that sequestered the carbon will never burn or decompose, and that the soil will never release its carbon through a change in management practices or because of extreme weather events.</p> </blockquote> <h1>I. The problems with carbon offsets in agriculture</h1> <h3>I.A. Reducing our chances to reach climate goals</h3> <h4>I.A.1 Agriculture : carbon markets will not meet the double challenge of mitigation and adaptation.</h4> <p>To limit global warming to 1.5°C by 2100, agriculture has an important part to play. The worldwide agricultural system emits around 1/3 of total GHG emissions<sup>3</sup>, and farmers are at the forefront of the consequences of the climate crisis. The sector needs to be fundamentally transformed to both reduce its emissions and adapt to a changing environment, but carbon offsets will not help achieve these goals.</p> <p><strong>By focusing on short-term climate goals and ignoring other metrics (ie. biodiversity, water quality, soil health, etc.), carbon offsets maintain or incentivize practices that are detrimental to real climate ambition. </strong>To avoid tilling, some conservation agriculture projects resort to glyphosate-based pesticides (e.g. the Biocarbon Fund’s project in Costa Rica<sup>4</sup>), or promote the use of genetically modified seeds. Yet, no-till agriculture can only play a marginal role in soil carbon sequestration<sup>5</sup>. For instance, Bayer created its own offsetting scheme in the US and Brazil to sell more of its products<sup>6</sup>. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the main carbon market under the Kyoto Protocol, also approved a methodology developed by the biotech company Arcadia Biosciences<sup>7</sup> to generate credits based on the use of GMOs<sup>8</sup>.</p> <blockquote><p>The Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project (KACP) (2009-2029) is supported by the World Bank’s BioCarbon fund, which involves the French Development Agency (AFD)<sup>9</sup>, alongside agribusiness representatives (the Syngenta Foundation) and an oil company (Japan Petroleum). Its goal is to “train farmers to (…) move out of subsistence farming practices, and transformed to agribusiness”<sup>10</sup> and “GHG removal through soil and tree carbon sequestration”. It implemented a carbon offset mechanism over 45,000 ha of land in Kenya<sup>11</sup>. </p> </blockquote> <p>These products and technologies hinder climate adaptation by reducing the diversity of plants and wildlife and impoverishing soils<sup>12</sup>. Farmers thus risk becoming dependent on these products to produce food, therefore lessening their autonomy (ie. their capacity to not depend on external resources to farm) and food security. In addition, synthetic inputs are significant sources of emissions, including indirect emissions<sup>13</sup> which are regularly not included in the accounting of carbon offset schemes<sup>14</sup>.In the livestock sector, some offsetting mechanisms promote anaerobic digesters or “new animal feed” to reduce the animals’ methane emissions<sup>15</sup>. This is the case in California’s carbon market, which encourages the development of anaerobic digesters on large dairies.</p> <blockquote><p>The California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32 - 2006) enacted a carbon market that set a cap on allowable greenhouse gas emissions. In this cap-and-trade program, agriculture is primarily involved through offset projects.</p> </blockquote> <p>Anaerobic digester technology has been touted as a way to turn factory farm waste into renewable energy, but in actuality, public investment in this technology entrenches factory farming by using public dollars to clean up massive amounts of animal waste rather than avoiding it in the first place by investing in climate-friendly practices like pasture based production. Factory farms are responsible for recent increases in GHG emissions<sup>16</sup> from agriculture. Offsetting schemes promoting such practices fail to promote the real solutions we need in our animal agriculture system - well managed pasture-based systems, shifting feed production and processing and shrinking herd sizes<sup>17</sup>. These short-term fixes stand in the way of urgent long-term structural changes.</p> <blockquote><p>Cheaper and more sustainable options (agroecology, agroforestry, etc.), which are favoured options by the scientific community (PICC, IPBES), should be incentivised, without allowing the achieved emission reductions to justify pollution elsewhere.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Voluntary carbon markets in agriculture have high project implementation costs and divert decision-makers from implementing more sustainable, cheaper and proven options. </strong>The FAO estimates that it would cost 3.8 billion euros between 2010 and 2030 to establish relevant market infrastructure such as that required for monitoring, reporting and verifying methodologies and converting emission reductions into carbon credits<sup>18</sup>. Costs are so high that in the KACP project, farmers are expected to receive negligible income (estimated before the project at just over 1 dollar per year over the 20 years of the project). The main benefit for farmers is often presented as increased yields19, which, if real in the short term, are precarious since such projects do not increase farmers’ autonomy and typically lock them in agricultural practices dependent on agrochemical inputs that cause environmental degradation.</p> <p>Decision-makers seem to increasingly promote agricultural change through privately-funded offsetting mechanisms that benefit private entities<sup>20</sup>. This is problematic, since private actors remain firstly guided by their own profit, and do not have the capacity to contribute to the transformational change needed along the whole food supply chain. Instead, cheaper and more sustainable options (agroecology, agroforestry, etc.), which are favoured options by the scientific community (IPCC, IPBES)<sup>21</sup>, should be incentivised, without allowing the achieved emission reductions to justify pollution elsewhere.</p> <p>Because they have such high transaction costs, offsetting projects are profitable only at large scales, thereby promoting land concentration and disadvantaging smaller and more diversified farms. For instance, the Nori offset standard is intended for farms of 400 hectares and up<sup>22</sup> and the California carbon market promotes the development of anaerobic digesters on dairies, which are generally only economically feasible on farms with over 2000 cows<sup>23</sup>.</p> <p><strong>Carbon markets in agriculture imply that farmers, including in Southern countries, need to change, when the main sources of agricultural GHG emissions are off-farm and agribusiness-led.</strong> Less than half of total agricultural GHG emissions are emitted on cultivated land. The rest of it comes from deforestation, input production and transportation (fertilizers, seeds, chemicals), energy use, food processing, packaging, transportation, and food waste<sup>24</sup>. In offsetting projects, the responsibility of mitigation is put on farmers, when GHGs can be most meaningfully reduced along the entire supply chain.</p> <p>More importantly, these markets miss the point when they focus exclusively on smallholder farmers in the South who are least responsible for causing climate change and suffering most from its consequences.</p> <h4>I.A.2 Climate : land-based offsets do not reduce emissions</h4> <p>Agriculture offsets can result in an overall increase in emissions. There are three main reasons for this: the impossibility to ensure permanence, measurement challenges and lack of additionality.</p> <p><strong>Ensuring that carbon sequestered will not be released (i.e. “permanence”) : the impossible project of land-based offsetting initiatives. </strong>Carbon, whether stored in trees through agroforestry projects or in soils on agricultural land, can easily be released. Human action, natural catastrophes or even global warming affect carbon sinks (IPCC)<sup>25</sup>. It is therefore virtually impossible to ensure that carbon will remain stored on the timescale needed to compensate for fossil fuel emissions, since CO2 emitted continues to affect global warming for several hundred years. This is particularly true for certain types of agriculture projects, where farmers might be forced to engage in practices that will reverse the carbon storage gains, because of climate adaptation needs, e.g. farmers might need to till their land more to better adapt to climate impacts.</p> <p>The most widely used option to deal with this issue is to use buffers, which set a certain amount of carbon credits aside as insurance. These credits are not sold, and the farmers hence do not get paid for these credits. Buffers are meant to guarantee permanence for a duration of 10 to 40 years. If the carbon is released, then some of the credits set aside are cancelled to account for that “reversal”, i.e. the credits can never be used, because the carbon they represent is no longer stored. This assumes that no major reversal will occur beyond the monitoring period (typically 10-40 years, although one standard requires monitoring over a 100-year period). Such insurance either means that standards or project developers will monitor field practices for several decades, or that land use practices will not evolve over the same time-period - both prospects seem highly unlikely.</p> <p><strong>Satisfactory tools to measure carbon sequestered in agricultural soils are not available. </strong>There are significant measurement uncertainties associated with agriculture projects, and specifically soil carbon sequestration. Scientists estimate that the percentage of global GHG emissions that soils could sequester could be between 1.6% and 35% per year<sup>26</sup>. Indeed, it is very difficult to accurately measure the soil carbon content of a given area of land. Under some standards, soil carbon is measured by collecting soil samples and analyzing them for their carbon content. This method is the most accurate one, but is too costly and time-consuming to be widely used<sup>27</sup>.</p> <p>Other standards measure soil carbon through mathematical equations, using default factors. For example, COMET-farm is a common tool used across the US, a country where offset projects are increasingly being developed. This tool assigns default factors to measure how much carbon is stored on one hectare of land, based on the region and the practices applied by a farmer. However, land use and soil type vary even at the farm-level, making such a proxy unreliable while detailed data is necessary to issue offsets.</p> <p><strong>Carbon offsets should finance new projects (i.e. generate “additional” emission reductions), but in reality, this does not always happen</strong>. A carbon market project generates “additional” emission reductions only if the reductions would not have happened in the absence of the carbon market. A project needs to be additional in order to trigger change; otherwise, the offsets simply finance an emission reduction that would have happened anyway.</p> <p>A common approach to assess additionality is to compare the project scenario with a scenario in which the project would not have happened (“baseline scenario”). This is typically done by ensuring that the project is not required by law, is not common practice, and faces barriers to its implementation (e.g. a financial barrier).</p> <p>In practice, offsets frequently lack additionality, often because there is some leeway to design the “baseline scenario”. Under the CDM, emissions reductions policies can be ignored if they were adopted after 2001, or if they are not enforced - which then offers many options for project developers to design their baseline scenario. When looking at land-use projects, the CDM also allows any landuse activity adopted in a given area since 1990 to be deemed a “realistic” land-use scenario to establish a baseline. For example, if a project developer wants to plant trees on a land which used to be exploited for intensive cattle farming from 1990 to 1991; this developer can assume that intensive cattle farming would be the alternative land use practice if he had not implemented his project. The quantity of carbon credits generated will therefore be the difference between actual emissions from the project, and estimated emissions if the land had been used for intensive cattle farming. This is regardless of whether or not intensive cattle farming is still a realistic land-use activity in that area today.</p> <p>These are not agriculture-specific issues, but they are used to varying extent by most standards to design their agriculture methodologies and limit the additionality of agriculture projects<sup>28</sup>.</p> <p>Several programs also use “positive lists” of projects. If a project meets certain criteria (e.g. being located in a least developed country and being small scale), then it is automatically counted as additional. This can lead to further non additional projects being registered, which considerably weakens climate action.</p> <p><strong>Some projects generate carbon credits based on “carbon intensity”, which is a metric that does not ensure absolute emissions reductions. </strong>The Mount Elgon project generates credits based on carbon intensity - reducing emissions per unit of milk produced rather than looking at overall emissions.</p> <blockquote><p>The Mount Elgon Project (2016-2026) in Kenya was created by the Livelihoods Fund – an initiative of Danone and Mars Inc.<sup>29</sup> The project is supported by private companies aiming to offset their emissions. It is co-funded by the dairy company Brookside Africa Ltd, 40% of which is owned by Danone<sup>30</sup>. It is an agro-forestry and dairy project that aims to “implement smart agricultural practices to sustainably increase yield and milk production”<sup>31</sup>. The project is endorsed by the initiative 4p1000<sup>32</sup>.</p> </blockquote> <p>Emissions intensity metrics ignore increases in overall production. Even if herds expand, thereby generating more GHG emissions overall, the project can still be considered effective if it reduces emissions per unit produced<sup>33</sup>. Issuing carbon credits for expanding herds provides a false sense of addressing the climate crisis, while absolute emissions are actually rising.</p> <blockquote><p>With carbon intensity, even if herds expand, thereby generating more GHG emissions overall, the project can nonetheless be considered as enabling emissions reductions. </p> </blockquote> <h4>I.B. Food security and food sovereignty impacts</h4> <p>Offsetting projects lessen farmers’ autonomy and food security because they create dependency on agribusiness companies, transform the use of land and threaten land security.</p> <p><strong>Some projects increase farmers’ dependency on agribusiness by resorting to GM seeds or chemical inputs (pesticides, fertilizers, etc.)<sup>34</sup></strong> These practices threaten farmers’ autonomy by replacing or preventing them from using traditional knowledge of fighting pests and fertilizing soils<sup>35</sup>, and they tend to deplete soil’s natural fertility<sup>36</sup>. This creates a dependency on the multinational corporations that sell the inputs and raises the question of how a farmer’s livelihood will be impacted once an offset project ends and they have become dependent on synthetic inputs.</p> <p>There is also a risk for  farmers to become dependent on agroindustries as buyers of their products. In the Mount Elgon project, farmers specialize in dairy farming, with Brookside Africa committed to buying all milk produced over 10 years. Once the farmers have become milk producers and the project ends, they will find themselves without external support to renegotiate the terms of the contracts with Brookside Africa.</p> <p>This also undercuts communities’ ability to develop local markets for local populations.</p> <p><strong>Agroforestry offsetting projects tend to push local populations off the land to make room for tree plantations. </strong>Agroforestry systems include both traditional and modern land-use systems in which trees are managed together with crops and/or animal production systems in agricultural settings. Offsetting projects on the other hand, tend to convert part of the land to dedicate it only to forest plantations, leaving only a portion of the land for agriculture purposes, or displacing the agricultural activity<sup>37</sup>. Such projects often take place in developing countries where rights over natural resources are unclear<sup>38</sup>. Some certification standards require an agreement which recognizes ownership of land, but instead of protecting local livelihoods, the risk exists that project developers attribute land ownership on a private property basis, without taking into account local ownership practices. REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is an international initiative sometimes used within offsetting mechanisms, which seeks to combat climate change by reducing GHG emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. This mechanism revealed several limitations that may repeat in agroforestry offsetting. In certain REDD+ cases, local populations have seen their access to forests for traditional subsistence activities limited, which had an impact on tenure and their access to land<sup>39</sup>.</p> <p>Offsetting projects risk increasing financialization of land and land-grabbing. When land becomes a financial asset, smallholder farmers’ access to it is threatened<sup>40</sup>. Since the carbon storage potential of land can increase its value<sup>41</sup>, agricultural land risks becoming an attractive investment option. Initiatives such as the development of a rating agency for agricultural land, which would assess the potential for carbon sequestration<sup>42</sup>, shows that the ability to store carbon can affect that land’s value, although it is not yet clear how large this impact could be.</p> <h1>II. Key messages and policy recommendations</h1> <h3>II.A. Key messages</h3> <p><strong>While farmers and the agricultural sector need to be supported in transitioning to climate- friendly practices, using carbon offsets to compensate for emissions elsewhere does not bring about the necessary changes. </strong>Some projects only marginally improve agricultural practices, when others entrench factory farming. Even if some projects support good agricultural practices, they never contribute to the holistic change that scientists call for, and risk increasing competition over land. From a climate perspective, projects based on soil carbon storage are particularly problematic because of the large measurement uncertainties, the impossibility to guarantee permanence on the needed timescale. Finally, these projects risk harming in the long term local populations who are directly exposed. Instead, a transformation of industrial food systems towards agroecological<sup>43</sup>, localized and plant based food systems would allow to answer both the climate and food crises.</p> <p><strong>Offsetting projects mostly bring short-term benefits to agribusiness companies, and no longterm benefits to local communities or the climate. </strong>Multinational companies benefit from agricultural offsetting schemes by using them to sell their products or to offset their emissions without having to change their business practices. Local communities can sometimes see short-term economic gains, but such projects infringe on their autonomy and food security.</p> <p><strong>It is necessary to adopt a systemic approach to emission reductions that not only looks at greenhouse gas emissions but also takes into account biodiversity and empowers local populations. In the food and agricultural sector, this entails shifting towards agroecological practices. </strong>The primary function of agroecology is to ensure food security by increasing and diversifying local production.</p> <p>The COVID-19 crisis showed the extreme vulnerability of globalized production systems, and the better resilience of local food systems. Agroecology also emits fewer GHGs due to the absence, or minimal use, of external inputs. It is more efficient to create resilient agroecological food systems instead of focusing narrowly on the amount of carbon sequestered: it is better for farmers, for consumers, for food security, and in the end, for the climate<sup>44</sup>.</p> <p>Transitioning towards agroecology requires a shift in public investment and public policies, without necessarily increasing overall budgets<sup>45</sup>.</p> <p><strong>The private sector can contribute to climate goals by directly reducing emissions within their activities/scope and supporting the transition towards agroecology.</strong> Policy-makers must build the legislative framework to make private sector activities compatible with a 1.5°C goal. No voluntary commitments or mechanisms can replace strong policies and public investment for a just transition.</p> <h3>II.B. Policy recommendations</h3> <p><strong>National policy level</strong></p> <ul> <li>States must not develop or encourage any carbon market or offsetting project that uses land-based credits.</li> <li>States must develop a broad public strategy for transitioning towards agroecology that involves all actors from farmers to consumers, and that redirects public budgets to incentivize practices that benefit biodiversity, food security and climate. Policy-makers must ensure that other sectoral policies (trade, etc.) do not hamper this transition.</li> <li>Policy-makers should allow private actors to contribute to the agroecological transition by helping fund the transition towards agroecology. Such climate finance must be regulated by the state. For instance, the “label bas-carbone” in France must evolve from an unambitious offsetting mechanism towards an ambitious lever for agroecology led by public authorities, in which private actors can financially contribute. This is necessary for such a tool to contribute to real climate ambition and not become a greenwashing instrument. </li> </ul> <p><strong>European policy level</strong></p> <ul> <li>The EU carbon farming initiative must not encourage the use of agricultural carbon offsets, but should rather establish a mechanism to provide important financial support<br /> to help farmers transition to agroecology.</li> <li>The Common Agricultural Policy must stop Single Farm Payments (SFPs) and increase finance through the second pillar (rural development) to increase finance for agroecology and organic agriculture. </li> </ul> <p><strong>International</strong></p> <ul> <li>Countries need to exclude the land sector from carbon markets under the Paris Agreement (article 6).</li> <li>Developed countries must increase their contribution to the UN Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund to help poorer countries implement a fair transition towards agroecology, and these funds should focus on financing agroecology projects in their agriculture portfolio. </li> </ul> <p><strong>Carbon market standards</strong></p> <ul> <li>Governments and carbon market standards must not issue or approve carbon offsets for agricultural projects, especially from those focused on carbon sequestration, given the large uncertainties associated with such projects, and the risk of non-permanence.</li> <li>Governments must ensure that climate finance protects and restores carbon sinks and contributes to systemic change.</li> <li>Existing mechanisms must ensure transparency: public report of the identity of buyers on their registries, amount of credits each buyer bought or volume of finance contributed if no credits are bought, as well as display of the selling price.</li> <li>All climate finance must ensure respect of local communities and Indigenous Peoples’ human rights as well as the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) protocols.</li> </ul> <hr /> <h1>Endnotes</h1> <p><strong>1</strong> Some have “net emissions” caps or targets in carbon intensity. Such caps lack the ambition that absolute caps (ie.<br /> absolute emissions reductions) have.<br /> <strong>2</strong> Bayer. Bayer takes steps to make carbon sequestration a farmer’s newest crop opportunity. July 2020.<a href="https://media">https://media</a>.<br /><br /> [Accessed 28/08/2020]<br /> <strong>3</strong> IPCC. Special report - Climate Change and Land, 2019, p. 11. <a href=""></a><br /> <strong>4</strong> CDM. Clean Development Mechanism Project Design Document Form for Afforestation and Reforestation project<br /> activities - Version 4. Carbon Sequestration in Small and Medium Farms in the Brunca Region, Costa Rica (COOPEAGRI Project). 2012, p.24. <a href=""></a><br /> <strong>5</strong> INRA. How does tillage intensity affect soil organic carbon? A systematic review. 2017, p. 57.<br /> <strong>6 </strong>DAVIDSON, Jason in Medium. Following $10 billion Roundup settlement, Bayer uses climate program as front to lock<br /> in control of farmer data and sell more Roundup. August 2020. <a href=""></a> [Accessed 28/08/2020]<br /> <strong>7</strong> Arcadia Biosciences. UN CDM approves Arcadia Biosciences Methodology, Links Carbon Credits to Crop Genetics<br /> Improvements for First Time, 2012. <a href=""></a><br /> <strong>8 </strong>CDM. Reductions of N2O emissions from use of NUE seeds that require less fertilizer application. 2012. <a href="https://cdm">https://cdm</a>.<br /><br /> <strong>9</strong> Funder and involved in decisions on inclusion of projects in the portfolio as well as review of proposed annual activity<br /> reports and annual budget and business plans.<br /> <strong>10</strong> VI AGROFORESTRY. Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project - Monitoring report version 3, 2017, p. 7.<br /> <strong>11</strong> Ibid.<br /> <strong>12 </strong>The “Sustainable Land Management” technique promoted in the KACP project shows project proponents are well<br /> aware of these issues. SALM Training Manual, Amos Wekesa and Madeleine Jonsson, 2014. p24<br /> <strong>13</strong> Emissions not emitted on site, also designated as scope 2 and 3 emissions.<br /> <strong>14</strong> WOODS, Jeremy et al. Energy and the food system, in Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences vol. 365,1554. 2010, pp. 2991-3006. doi:10.1098/rstb.2010.0172<br /> <strong>15 </strong>Gold Standard. Reducing methane emissions from enteric fermentation in dairy cows through application of feed<br /> supplements. 2019. <a href=""></a><br /> <strong>16</strong> EPA. Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, 1990-2017. 2019. <a href=""></a><br /> files/2019-04/documents/us-ghg-inventory-2019-main-text.pdf<br /> <strong>17 </strong>FAO News. Keys facts and findings : <a href=""></a><br /> <strong>18</strong> FAO. Climate-smart agriculture Policies, practices and financing for food security, adaptation and mitigation. http://<br /> <a href=""></a> p. 24<br /> <strong>19</strong> IATP. Elusive Promises of the Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project. [Accessed 30/07/2020] <a href=""></a><br /> <strong>20</strong> EU carbon farming initiative announced in the EU Farm to Fork strategy by the European Commission, label bas-carbone in France, US bipartisan bill to bolster agricultural carbon markets, etc.<br /> <strong>21</strong> IPBES. The global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services - Summary for policymakers. 2019, point 36; IPCC. Special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems, Summary for policymakers, p. 28.<br /> <strong>22</strong> <a href=""></a> [Consulted 30/07/2020].<br /> <strong>23 </strong>CoBANK. Interest in California Dairy Manure. <a href=";hash=DB502502E12672EF473AEB269AA523586B2A8C9A">;hash=DB502502E12672EF473AEB269AA523586B2A8C9A</a> August 2020, p.3.<br /> <strong>24</strong> CCFD-Terre Solidaire. Our land is worth more than carbon. 2018. <a href=""></a><br /> <strong>25</strong> IPCC. Special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems, Summary for policymakers, p. 7.<br /> <strong>26 </strong>Baveye, Philipe et Berthelin, Jacques &amp; Tessier, Daniel &amp; Lemaire, Gilles (2017). The “4 per 1000” initiative : A credibility issue for the soil science community ?. Geoderma. 309. 10.1016/j.geoderma.2017.05.005.<br /> <strong>27</strong> BASAK, Rishi. Monitoring, reporting, and verification requirements and implementation costs for climate change mitigation activities: Focus on Bangladesh, India, Mexico, and Vietnam. CCAFS Working Paper no. 162. 2016. <a href="https://cgspace.cgiar">https://cgspace.cgiar</a>.<br /> org/rest/bitstreams/78813/retrieve<br /> <strong>28</strong> We assessed the agriculture methodologies from the American Carbon Registry, Climate Action Reserve, Clean Development Mechanism, Gold Standard, and Verified Carbon Standard. The ACR is the only standard which does not formally rely at all on CDM methodologies.<br /> <strong>29</strong> Livelihoods Fund news. Momentum from the COP21 continues: Firmenich and Veolia to join Danone and Mars in a new fund that creates mutual benefits for smallholder farmers, business and the environment. 2016 <a href=""></a> [Accessed 30/07/2020]<br /> <strong>30</strong> <a href=""></a><br /> <strong>31</strong> Livelihoods Fund. KENYA (Mount Elgon): agroforestry &amp; sustainable dairy cycle with 30,000 farmers. Project page.<br /> <a href=""></a> [Accessed 30/07/2020]<br /> <strong>32</strong> “4 per 1000” Initiative, Soils for Food Security and Climate. Newsletter #4. July 2019.<br /> <strong>33</strong> Gold Standard. Gold Standard Agriculture Smallholder Dairy Methodology. 2016. <a href="https://globalgoals.goldstandard">https://globalgoals.goldstandard</a>.<br /> org/405-luf-agr-agriculture-smallholder-dairy-methodology/<br /> <strong>34 </strong>CDM. Clean Development Mechanism Project Design Document Form for Afforestation and Reforestation project activities - Version 4. 4. Carbon Sequestration in Small and Medium Farms in the Brunca Region, Costa Rica (COOPEAGRI Project). 2012, p.24. <a href=""></a> ; CDM. Commercial<br /> reforestation on lands dedicated to extensive cattle grazing activities in the region of Magdalena Bajo Seco - Monitoring report version 05.1. 2016, p.27 <a href=""></a> ;<br /> DAVIDSON, Jason in Medium. Following $10 billion Roundup settlement, Bayer uses climate program as front to lock in control of farmer data and sell more Roundup. August 2020. <a href=""></a> settlementbayer-uses-climate-program-as-front-to-lock-in-control-e18ab12edbf1 [Accessed 28/08/2020]</p> <p><strong>35</strong> This was the case in a payment for an environmental services project in Mexico. Ibarra, J.T. &amp; Barreau, A. &amp; Campo, C. &amp; Camacho, C.I. &amp; Martin, G.J. &amp; Mccandless, S.R. (2011). When Formal and Market-Based Conservation Mechanisms Disrupt Food Sovereignty: Impacts of Community Conservation and Payments for Environmental Services on an Indigenous Community of Oaxaca, Mexico. International Forestry Review. 13. 318-337. 10.1505/146554811798293935. <a href=""></a><br /> <strong>36</strong> SCCF. Agroecology and sustainable development. 2017, p.19. <a href=""></a><br /> files/publications/sccf_agroeco2016_fr.pdf<br /> <strong>37</strong> Biocarbon Fund projects : “Humbo Ethiopia Assisted Natural Regeneration Project” <a href=""></a><br /> DB/JACO1245724331.7/view; “Improving rural livelihoods through carbon sequestration” in India <a href=""></a> ; “Commercial reforestation on lands dedicated to extensive cattle grazing activities” in Colombia <a href=""></a><br /> <strong>38</strong> VI AGROFORESTRY. Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project - Monitoring report version 3, 2017, p. 10<br /> <strong>39</strong> GRAIN, World Rainforest Movement. How REDD+ projects undermine peasant farming and real solutions to climate<br /> change. 2015. <a href=""></a><br /> <strong>40</strong> Leach, Melissa &amp; Scoones, Ian &amp; Atela, Joanes &amp; Arhin, Albert &amp; Kijazi, MARTIN &amp; Nel, Adrian &amp; Mickels-Kokwe, Guni &amp; Kokwe, Misael &amp; Dzingirai, Vupenyu &amp; Mangwanya, Lindiwe &amp; Hashmiu, Reality &amp; Winnebah, Thomas. (2015). Carbon Conflicts<br /> and Forest Landscapes in Africa. 10.4324/9781315740416.<br /> <strong>41</strong> Cotula, L., Vermeulen, S., Leonard, R. and Keeley, J., 2009, Land grab or development opportunity ? Agricultural investment and international land deals in Africa, IIED/FAO/IFAD, London/Rome. ISBN: 978-1-84369-741-1<br /> <strong>42</strong> Le Figaro. Le confondateur de Devialet lance Greenback, une agence de notation des terres cultivées. June 2020.<br /> <a href=""></a> [Accessed 01/09/2020]<br /> <strong>43</strong> Agroecology is a practice, a movement and a science based on an optimal use of natural resources and of local<br /> knowledge to allow access with dignity to sustainably produced food.<br /> <strong>44</strong> DE SCHUTTER. Agroecology and the right to food. UN Human Rights Council, 16th session [A/HRC/16/49], 2010.<br /> <a href=""></a><br /> <strong>45</strong> LOPEZ, Ramon and GALINATO,Gregman. Should governments stop subsidies to private goods ? Evidence from rural latin America. Journal of public Economics, 91, 2007, p 1085.</p> <hr /> <p><a href=""><strong>Download a PDF of the brief.</strong></a></p> <p data-placeholder="Translation" dir="ltr" id="tw-target-text"><strong><a href="">Télécharger un PDF en français</a></strong>.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/issues/climate-change" hreflang="en">Climate Change</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 24 Nov 2020 14:53:15 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44410 at An unexpected coalition offers expected policy recommendations <span>An unexpected coalition offers expected policy recommendations </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/34897" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Cecelia Heffron</span></span> <span>Mon, 11/23/2020 - 13:42</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>There is growing consensus that we need to support farmers to be part of the climate solution.</div> Mon, 23 Nov 2020 19:42:03 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44409 at Global Outrage at FAO Plans to Partner with Pesticide Industry <div data-history-node-id="44406" class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-agriculture has-field-primary-category no-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <h3 > Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and hundreds of civil society and Indigenous Peoples organizations call on the U.N. agency to renounce planned alliance with CropLife International </h3> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/iatp" hreflang="en">IATP</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em><a href="">Download a PDF</a> of the media release. </em></p> <p><em>Download a PDF of the joint letter will full list of signatories <a href="">here</a>, and download the letter from academics, scientists and researchers <a href="">here</a>. </em></p> <hr /> <p><span><span><span><strong><span>Minneapolis—</span></strong><span>Today, 352 organizations in 63 countries representing hundreds of thousands of farmers, fisherfolk, agricultural workers and other communities, as well as human rights, faith-based, environmental and economic justice institutions, delivered a letter to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General Qu Dongyu urging him to stop recently-announced plans to deepen collaboration with CropLife International by entering into a formal partnership.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>CropLife is a global trade association representing the interests of companies that produce and promote pesticides, including highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs). According to the letter, HHPs “are responsible for a wide range of devastating health harms to farmers, agricultural workers and rural families around the world,” and these chemicals have “decimated pollinator populations and are wreaking havoc on biodiversity and fragile ecosystems” as well.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>“This proposed alliance is deeply inappropriate and directly undermines FAO’s </span><a href=""><span>goals</span></a><span> of supporting food systems that are healthy, resilient and productive while safeguarding the sustainability of the environment,” says Sarojeni Rengam, Director of Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Asia Pacific. “CropLife’s purpose, on the other hand, is to advocate for continued use of the pesticides that its members sell. These hazardous and antiquated chemical solutions pose deadly obstacles to the urgently needed transition to innovative, knowledge-intensive ecological approaches to farming.”</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Ms. Rengam delivered the letter today on behalf of PAN International, 10 other co-sponsoring organizations and networks, and hundreds of signatories. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>The letter highlights a recent analysis of industry records that documents that CropLife member companies BASF, Bayer Crop Science, Corteva Agriscience, FMC and Syngenta make more than one-third of their sales income from HHPs — the pesticides that are most harmful to human health and the environment. The proportion of HHP sales is even higher in developing countries, the letter says, where safety regulations are often less robust and harms to human health and the environment are greater.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Shiney Varghese, senior policy analyst with IATP, notes that while FAO says it wants to minimize the harms of pesticides worldwide, CropLife members made more than one-third of their income from sales of highly hazardous pesticides in 2018. “In the context of this proposed FAO-CropLife partnership, what is even more important is that<a href=""> many of those sales</a> were made to farmers in low- and middle-income countries like Brazil, India and Thailand, while only 27% were made in high income countries. It’s not surprising that </span><span>CropLife International would want to have a partnership, but why would FAO want to put these <a href="">low- and middle-income countries</a> at risk?”  </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Marcia Ishii, senior scientist at PAN North America, explained the serious implications of the proposed collaboration: “FAO’s decision to initiate a formal partnership with CropLife is bad news for the millions of farmers whose health and livelihoods have been devastated by the highly hazardous pesticides manufactured by CropLife member companies. Unfortunately, since Mr. Qu’s arrival at FAO, the institution appears to be opening up to deeper collaboration with pesticide companies, which are likely to exploit such a relationship for bluewashing, influencing policy development, and enhancing access to global markets. It is no surprise that FAO’s recently appointed Deputy Director General, Beth Bechdol, comes to FAO with a history of close </span><a href=""><span>financial ties</span></a><span> to Corteva (formerly Dow/DuPont), a Croplife member headquartered in Bechdol’s home state of Indiana, USA.” </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Today’s letter was co-sponsored by a broad-based group of global networks and international organizations: Alliance for Food</span><span> Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), FIAN International, Friends of the Earth International, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF), Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International, Public Eye and Third World Network.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>An international group of 286 scientists and researchers have also expressed concern about the proposed alliance, delivering a letter to Director-General Qu Dongyu today, urging him not to pursue a formalization of FAO’s collaboration with CropLife.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>###</span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Based in Minneapolis with offices in Washington, D.C., and Berlin, Germany, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy works locally and globally at the intersection of policy and practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems. To learn more, visit: </span><a href=""><span></span></a>.</span></span></span></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-upload field--type-file field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Upload</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><span class="file file--mime-application-pdf file--application-pdf icon-before"><span class="file-icon"><span class="icon glyphicon glyphicon-file text-primary" aria-hidden="true"></span></span><span class="file-link"><a href="" type="application/pdf; length=181133" title="Open file in new window" target="_blank" data-toggle="tooltip" data-placement="bottom">PRESS RELEASE_IATP_FAO Plans to Partner with Pesticide Industry_FINAL_0.pdf</a></span><span class="file-size">176.89 KB</span></span></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/agriculture2" hreflang="en">Agriculture</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 20 Nov 2020 00:10:26 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44406 at Letter from academics, scientists and researchers expressing concern regarding FAO’s announcement of plans to forge a new strategic partnership with CropLife International <div data-history-node-id="44408" class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-agriculture has-field-primary-category no-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-field-author-text field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author (free form)</div> <div class="field--item"><p>Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy et al. </p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>To upload the letter and read the full list of signatories, please <a href="">click here</a>. </em></p> <p>Director-General Qu Dongyu<br /> UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)<br /> Viale delle Terme di Caracalla<br /> 00153 Rome, Italy</p> <p>Dear Director-General Qu,</p> <p><span><span><span><span>We write as scientists, researchers and academics to express our deep concern over your recently announced plans to "renew and strengthen" the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s alliance with <em><span>CropLife International </span></em>— the trade association for the pesticide/biotech industry — and to "explore new partnerships" with that industry.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><strong><span>Your proposal to deepen FAO’s collaboration with CropLife International undermines FAO’s policy on minimizing the harms of chemical pesticide use worldwide, including the risks associated with highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs), </span></strong>many of which are produced by CropLife members such as<strong> </strong>Bayer Crop Science, Corteva Agriscience, Syngenta, BASF and FMC.<strong> </strong></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><strong><span>U.N. institutions including the FAO should not be supporting a consortium of private businesses that stand to profit from the continued sale of products with documented harmful impacts </span></strong>on<strong> </strong>biodiversity including pollinators, ecosystem integrity and function, the health and livelihood of<strong> </strong>peasant farmers, vulnerable agricultural workers, rural and Indigenous communities. These sales are<strong> </strong>increasing in many countries of the Global South. A strategic alignment by FAO with this industry<strong> </strong>poses a fundamental conflict of interest with the U.N. mission and mandate to protect biodiversity,<strong> </strong>support the public good, and respect, protect and fulfill human rights such as the rights to health, a<strong> </strong>safe working environment, clean air and water, among others. <strong><span>This arrangement is the equivalent of the World Health Organization announcing a joint venture with Philip Morris to prevent lung cancer. </span></strong></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><strong><span>Furthermore, your proposed strategic alignment with CropLife undercuts FAO’s exemplary work </span></strong></span></span></span></span><span><span><span><span><strong><span>to date in advancing agroecology, </span></strong>an approach that has been recognized by the High-Level Panel of Experts’ 2019 report as offering robust pathways towards urgently needed transformations of our food and farming systems. Continued reliance on hazardous chemical pesticides — arguably an inevitable outcome of your plans to deepen collaboration with the global manufacturers of those very products — is incongruent with FAO’s responsibility to strengthen member states’ technical and policy capacities in health-protective, ecologically sound and sustainable agriculture. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><strong><span>Finally, we strongly endorse the letter of concern sent to your office on 19 November </span></strong>by over 350 civil society organizations from over 60 countries around the world. <strong><span>We urge you to immediately withdraw your proposal to formalize FAO’s collaboration with</span></strong> <strong><span>CropLife International </span></strong>and instead, to “renew and strengthen” FAO’s commitment to an agroecological transformation of our food and farming systems and to the reduction of reliance on hazardous chemical pesticides and those technologies designed to perpetuate their use.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><em><span><span><span><span>To read the full list of signatories, please <a href="">upload a PDF</a> of the letter. </span></span></span></span></em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/agriculture2" hreflang="en">Agriculture</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 16:32:01 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44408 at Letter to the Director General of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization <div data-history-node-id="44407" class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-agriculture has-field-primary-category no-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-field-author-text field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author (free form)</div> <div class="field--item"><p>Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), FIAN International, Friends of the Earth International, Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International, The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, et al. </p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>To download a PDF of the letter and view the full list of signatories, <a href="">please click here</a>. </em></p> <hr /> <p><span><span><span>Director-General Qu Dongyu</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Viale delle Terme di Caracalla</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>00153 Rome, Italy</span></span></span></p> <p> </p> <p><span><span><span>Dear Director-General Qu Dongyu,</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The 352 civil society and Indigenous Peoples organizations from 63 countries listed below represent hundreds of thousands of farmers, fisherfolk, agricultural workers and other communities, as well as human rights, faith-based, environmental and economic justice institutions. We are writing to express our deep concern over your stated plans to strengthen official ties with CropLife International. We strongly urge you to reconsider this alliance.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Deepening collaboration with CropLife, a trade association representing the interests of corporations which produce and promote dangerous pesticides, directly undermines FAO’s priority of minimising the harms of chemical pesticide use worldwide, “including the progressive ban of highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs).” It also undermines the principles set out in FAO’s Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management, and ties the agency with producers of harmful, unsustainable chemical technologies — relinquishing FAO’s role as a global leader supporting innovative approaches to agricultural production that promote the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security, sustainability and resilience. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Reliance on hazardous pesticides is a short-term fix that undermines the rights to adequate food and health for present and future generations, as stated in the 2017 report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>A recent analysis of industry records documents that CropLife members, BASF, Bayer Crop Science, Corteva Agriscience, FMC and Syngenta, make more than one-third of their sales income from HHPs — the pesticides that are most harmful to human health and the environment. Their primary aim is to maximise sales of their products, irrespective of health and environmental harms, and whether or not these products are necessary or actually benefit farmers. FAO, in contrast, should aim to increase farmer access to practices and tools that help them grow their crops sustainably without harming their health.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>In addition, CropLife member companies explicitly target developing and emerging countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia as expanding markets for their products, taking advantage of weak controls on registration and commercialization of pesticides. The proportion of their HHP sales is even higher in these countries, where safety regulations are often less robust, and harms to human health and the environment are greater.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The global pesticide corporations that make up CropLife are well known for aggressive marketing of HHPs that are responsible for a wide range of devastating health harms to farmers, farmworkers and rural families around the world. One recent systematic literature review (in press) found that a significant percentage of farmers around the world suffer unintentional acute pesticide poisoning every year. Farmers, agricultural workers and those in rural communities also suffer increased rates of certain types of cancer as well as reproductive, neurological and developmental disorders due to pesticide exposure. As recently highlighted by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, pesticide products produced by CropLife member companies have also decimated pollinator populations and are wreaking havoc on biodiversity and fragile ecosystems. Some specific examples include:</span></span></span></p> <ul> <li><span><span><span><em>Syngenta’s herbicide paraquat </em>is one of the most acutely toxic pesticides in the world, </span></span></span><span><span><span>and has been linked to Parkinson’s Disease and many other health harms. Banned in </span></span></span><span><span><span>Europe since 2007, it is still exported and in widespread use.</span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span><em>Corteva’s insecticide chlorpyrifos </em>harms brain development, resulting in developmental </span></span></span><span><span><span>delays and lower IQs. It has been banned in several U.S. states, Europe and four other </span></span></span><span><span><span>countries, but production and use continues.</span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span><em>Bayer’s imidacloprid </em>and other neonicotinoid systemic insecticides have devastated</span></span></span> <span><span><span>pollinator populations. One recent study found that overall, U.S. farmland is 48 times</span></span></span> <span><span><span>more toxic to insects than it was 20 years ago.</span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span><em>BASF’s fipronil </em>has been implicated in mass bee deaths in many countries, including</span></span></span><span><span><span>France, Brazil and South Africa.</span></span></span></li> </ul> <p><span><span><span>These are just a few examples of the harmful impacts of the hundreds of products produced and</span></span></span><span><span><span>promoted by the corporations that are members of CropLife International.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>CropLife frequently asserts that it aims to provide “environmentally friendly” technology, through the genetically modified (GM) seeds that its member corporations also produce. A large proportion of these seeds, however, are engineered to be used in conjunction with proprietary chemical herbicides. These GM seeds are thus primarily a mechanism to boost associated chemical sales, and ensure continued profit from pesticides such as glyphosate and now (in response to glyphosate resistance in weeds) the highly drift-prone herbicides 2,4-D, dicamba and glufosinate. These technologies lock farmers into ever escalating use of pesticides, particularly when resistance develops.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>An alliance with CropLife also undercuts your agency’s critical — and urgently needed — support for agroecology, an ecologically-based approach to farming which FAO itself notes “can support food production and food security and nutrition while restoring the ecosystem services and biodiversity that are essential for sustainable agriculture.”</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>In contrast, CropLife’s purpose is to advocate for use of its members’ products. These antiquated chemical solutions to pest control run directly counter to the urgently needed transition to innovative, knowledge-intensive ecological approaches that FAO has been supporting in recent years.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Agroecological systems have proven to be economically viable across the globe, promote rather than harm human health, and are more “resilient and robust so they can withstand increasing volatility and climate shocks, deliver affordable and sustainable healthy diets for all, and decent livelihoods for food system workers” — the exact goals your agency recently highlighted on World Food Day. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>We strongly urge you to reconsider and discontinue this deeply inappropriate alliance with CropLife.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Sincerely,</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Million Belay, General Coordinator</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA)</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>David Azoulay, Environmental Health Program Director</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Ana Maria Suarez Franco, Executive Coordination Team</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>FIAN International</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Kirtana Chandrasekaran and Martin Drago, Food Sovereignty Program Coordinators</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Friends of the Earth International</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Sophia Murphy, Executive Director</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Andrea Carmen, Executive Director</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>International Indian Treaty Council (IITC)</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Pam Miller and Tadesse Amera, Co-Chairs</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN)</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Sue Longley, General Secretary</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF)</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Kristin Schafer, Coordinator</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Laurent Gaberell, Agriculture and Food Expert</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Public Eye</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Chee Yoke Ling, Executive Director</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Third World Network</span></span></span></p> <hr /> <p><a href=""><span><span><span>Upload a PFD of the letter.</span></span></span></a></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/agriculture2" hreflang="en">Agriculture</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 16:11:51 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44407 at After Trump’s payouts are gone, what happens to farmers? <span>After Trump’s payouts are gone, what happens to farmers?</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/34897" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Cecelia Heffron</span></span> <span>Fri, 11/13/2020 - 17:17</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span>A farm economy awash in an unprecedented infusion of public dollars directed by the Trump administration could face a reckoning soon. Close to $40 billion in agriculture-related payments this year mask structural problems in a badly broken market that doesn’t pay most farmers enough to continue farming. New leadership in the White House and congressional agriculture committees should act to fix a policy framework that has greatly benefited global grain and meat companies at the expense of farmers before these ad hoc Trump payments disappear. </span></span></span></p></div> Fri, 13 Nov 2020 23:17:36 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44401 at Agricultural revolution: "The Gates Foundation is leading Africa to failure" <span>Agricultural revolution: &quot;The Gates Foundation is leading Africa to failure&quot;</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/34897" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Cecelia Heffron</span></span> <span>Wed, 10/28/2020 - 10:01</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>An interview with <a href="">Timothy A. Wise</a> originally published in French on <a href="">Tchak</a>! To read the original article in French, please see the article on <a href="">Tchak's website</a>. </em></p></div> Wed, 28 Oct 2020 15:01:31 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44392 at World Food Day drives home need for change in the US <span>World Food Day drives home need for change in the US</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/34897" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Cecelia Heffron</span></span> <span>Fri, 10/16/2020 - 09:10</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span>This World Food Day, as the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) celebrates its 75th anniversary, it is sobering to remember the several billions of our fellow human beings who suffer from some form of food insecurity.</span></span></span></p></div> Fri, 16 Oct 2020 14:10:08 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44382 at