Archive for the ‘Adaptation’ Category

Forests are not just about trees, they are about people. Forestry includes social issues, policies and institutions, production of goods and services and the livelihoods linked to forests and trees outside forests.

Considering the sometimes forgotten human dimension of forestry, “You are the key” was the title selected for the 20th Session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO). It will be held at FAO headquarters in Rome on 4 – 8 October 2010. COFO is one of the FAO governing bodies and its biennial sessions bring together forestry senior government officials to identify emerging issues and advise FAO on appropriate actions.

This year, discussions will be centred on the new challenges faced by forestry as a result of a changing climate, in particular:

  • The balance needed between forests for people, climate change and conservation of biological diversity.
  • The issue of forest fires and the linkages to climate change.
  • The impact of climate change on water flows from forests.
  • Emerging sources of finance for forests and options for sharing benefits of forests widely and equitably.

In addition, World Forest Week 2 (WFW) will take place simultaneously  and will offer a series of events, including a panel of scientists and Heads of Forestry on Reducing Emissions for Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) and an international conference on “Emerging Economic Mechanisms: Implications for Forest-Related Policies and Sector Governance” (5-7 October). An information event on “The current status of REDD+: national and international developments” will also be organised on 5 October, by the UN-REDD Programme to provide an update of new developments in the REDD+ arena, including lessons learnt from the implementation of activities and plans for future national strategies.

The schedule of COFO 2010 (including WFW events) is available at http://www.fao.org/forestry/cofo/en/. For more information on FAO governing bodies, see http://www.fao.org/unfao/govbodies/index_en.htm.

You can also follow the web coverage of COFO 2010 to be carried-out by IISD reporting services here.

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FAO’s side event, together with Denmark and IFAD, drew a large audience. People were literally stopped at the door because there was no room.

All panelists in the event highlighted that agriculture MUST be part of the solution.

But Agriculture remains sidelined in the negotiations…

Read the Earth Negotiations Bulletin on the Side report on the event here.

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Dryland options?

Photo: UNCCD

The UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) organized a side event on the role of drylands under the new climate change policy framework. Caterina Batello, Senior Agriculture officer from FAO was there and reports that the link between climate change, desertification and biodiversity loss was discussed. These links are considered evident and everybody agrees that many drylands lose fertility, plant and soil biodiversity and thereby limit the adaptation capacity of the people depending on it. Unfortunately, according to Caterina, no presentation gave good and extensive data on the subject. This is problematic both from an evidence base point of view – how do we quantify and address the problem? as well as from a management perspective – what do different options and scenarios mean for farmers?

Clearly, investments in more information and knowledge are needed to guide policies.

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Cary Fowler, Executive Director of The Global Crop Diversity Trust, hosted by FAO, told about his analysis of the current negotiation text, that agricultural adaptation to climate change seems partially overlooked. Even a 2° increase in temperature will pose a significant challenge for crops, decreasing yields dramatically unless adaptation efforts are strengthened. This, in turn, would put at risk many other mitigation and adaptation initiatives.

The analysis point at Annex I: “Activities to plan and prepare for the implementation of adaptation actions” associated with para 8 of Non-Paper 31 (Document FCCC/AWGLCA/2009/14).

The identified gap is about conservation and use of genetic resources, which would be a prerequisite for agricultural adaptation, and for achieving food and livelihood security. It is a stretch that “strengthening of environmental and natural resource management” fully includes the genetic resources aspects.

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Photo: David Boerma/FAO-NRLW

This Land and Water Discussion Paper highlights the significant untapped potential for climate change mitigation and  adaptation associated with improved management of grazing lands in pastoral systems and rangelands. Grasslands and rangelands deserve greater attention, not only for their large extent, widespread degradation and limited resilience to drought and desertification, but also for their potential capacity to sequester and store carbon in soils. Degradation of the land base negatively affects the accumulation of carbon in the soils. Thus, reversing land degradation in extensive dryland areas through improved pasture and rangeland management would contribute to restoring the soil carbon sink while also improving livelihoods of pastoral and agropastoral peoples. The review also highlights the multiple benefits of enhancing ecosystem services and processes for improving livelihoods while contributing to adaptation to climate change impacts. Realizing this potential will require increased awareness and coordinated global efforts alongside interventions that address associated socio-political and economic barriers, such as land tenure constraints and inadequate services for, and political marginalization of, pastoral and agropastoral communities. The opportunity to support climate change mitigation in drylands that will simultaneously contribute to climate change adaptation and reduced vulnerability of pastoral societies should be a key area of focus in post-Kyoto mechanisms.   Click here for the full report.

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