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UNFCCC efforts to improve agriculture get Caribbean backing

Wednesday, November 06, 2013    

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SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (CMC) — Two Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries are among 17 nations in the Americas that are supporting efforts to establish a working group on agriculture under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) said Dominica and Haiti have joined countries mainly in Latin and Central America that believe that a priority of the group should be to improve technology transfer, to enable small-scale producers to adapt to climate change.

In a report prepared by IICA to promote dialogue on agriculture and climate change among its member countries, the organisation explains that the question of the creation of the working group will move closer to resolution at the next session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 19) to be held in Poland from November 11 to 22.

The IICA said that the existence of such a group would make it easier for the countries to reach science-based decisions related to adaptation policies and measures.

The document summarises the concrete tasks on which 17 countries in the Americas believe that the working group should focus, operating under the aegis of the Framework Convention's Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA).

The states sent their submissions on the subject to the UNFCCC between June and October of this year. In addition to boosting the capabilities for transferring technology to small-scale producers, they suggested that the potential impact of climate change on agriculture in the Americas needed to be assessed even more carefully, research strengthened to determine different degrees of vulnerability, and better climate information systems developed.

Apart from Dominica and Haiti, the other countries to have sent in submissions are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, the United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.

These nations argued that the creation of the working group was justified because production systems must be able to feed the world's growing population.

"It must be remembered that agriculture and food security are very closely linked, so the adaptation of the agricultural sector to climate change also has to include actions that will guarantee humankind access to sufficient food," said IICA Director General, Víctor M Villalobos.

The technical report suggests that the adaptation measures should include small-scale producers and the most vulnerable populations, especially in the developing countries, where most of the population depends on subsistence farming and the sector is of key socio-economic importance.

It also underscores the need to promote more sustainable agricultural practices that will contribute to the conservation of natural resources.

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