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Climate change is already directly and indirectly impacting food production in many regions of the world, including in the form of lost crops and dwindling employment opportunities. These impacts are likely to become increasingly severe by 2030 and beyond, placing global food security and the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people at risk.
West Africa is the focus of this workshop where agriculture is important to livelihoods, employing approximately 290 million people who live in the region. The latest figures from the World Resources Institute CAIT Climate Data Explorer show that West Africa’s total regional greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2014 were 994.70 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e), totaling 2.03 percent of global GHG emissions. In West Africa, 31.5 percent of GHG emissions came from the land-use change and forestry sector, followed by the energy, agriculture, waste and the industrial processes sector which contributed 27.1 percent, 22.7, 10.9 percent and 7.9 percent respectively to GHG emissions.
Now is the time to act and scale up efforts to reshape the agriculture sector in ways that support farmers, improve the productivity of farms, build resilience, and reduce emissions. Indeed, the goals of the Paris Agreement cannot be met without transformative changes in the agriculture sector. Incorporating more ambitious, explicit, and directed actions in the agriculture sector in enhanced nationally determined contributions (NDCs) can play an important role in making this necessary transition. Actions to reduce short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), including methane and black carbon, can go a long way to help achieve this. They have the potential to prevent over 50 million tonnes of annual crop losses for the staples corn, rice, soy, and wheat from ozone damage alone by 2030, leading to total economic gains of US$4-33 billion. Other agriculture sub-sectors have equally as much potential for reducing agriculture SLCPs, together with development co-benefits.
Agriculture-related SLCP emissions are expected to rise fastest in developing countries due to increased agricultural productivity to meet food demand and a reduction in hunger and poverty. However, there is a clear need to balance emissions reductions with agriculture productivity and food security as close to 800 million people – or 78 percent of the world’s poorest and most food insecure people – live in rural areas in developing countries, where they rely on agriculture for their lives and livelihoods. Smallholder and women farmers, in particular, often lack voice and power within global agricultural value chains, meaning the implementation of measures to reduce SLCP emissions from agricultural production must consider these broader inequalities, as well as be a priority for country governments and agricultural businesses. In addition, SLCP reduction measures for agricultural production must be coupled with efforts to tackle demand-side SLCP emissions driven by diet/consumption and food waste/loss and disposal.
The first part of the event will feature the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) that promotes ambitious and directed inclusion of agriculture and food systems in enhanced NDCs, and a policy paper produced by WRI and Oxfam. The paper aims to help countries think through the process of enhancing their NDCs to include strengthened actions in the agriculture sector, including short-lived climate pollutant commitments. The paper underscores the need for a tailor-made approach to NDC enhancement that is suited to a country’s unique set of circumstances. A broad range of actions are identified that can benefit adaptation and mitigation imperatives in the agriculture sector, if the right enabling environment is in place. It offers practical examples for how these actions may be included in an enhanced NDC.
The second part of the event will showcase examples from West African countries demonstrating how more ambitious action across agriculture and food systems can help achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals for addressing climate change in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty. Nigeria will share details of its National Action Plan on SLCPs, and how this will be implemented to reduce emissions and contribute to an enhanced NDC as a regional example. Ivory Coast will share progress in the implementation of agricultural SLCP measures. Senegal will share its experience transitioning to low carbon agriculture.
The third part of the event will feature presentations from projects and initiatives to show actions that can support country efforts to enhance agricultural climate action.
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