Agriculture not priority at Paris climate change talks

An international anti-hunger organisation, Slow Food, has expressed concern that the ongoing global conference on climate change in Paris, France, is not paying due attention to agriculture.

It claims that the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), which began on November 30 and ends on December 11, is focussing more on energy, heavy industry and transport, keeping the relationship between food and climate change on the margins of the discussion.

“Yet food production represents one of the main causes—and victims—of climate change, and could also become one of the solutions,” says the ‘Appeal’ document released by Slow Food on November 20. The deliberations are important since they are expected to end in a legally binding universal agreement on climate.

“In the 54 pages of the text of the negotiations, the term ‘agriculture’ does not appear once, though there are multiple mentions of food security,” says Slow Food. “The absence of this word means relegating to the margins of the discussion an issue that is in fact of central importance: the relationship between food and climate.”

Slow Food calls for inclusion of environment-friendly farming practices as the best approach to feeding an expected global population of nine billion in the next few decades. It calls for reduction in use of oil derivatives like fertilisers, pesticides and fuel for agricultural machinery, which leads to food overproduction and wastage.

It discourages indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources such as soil, water and forests. It says the commonly practiced industrial model of food production is based on an idea of infinite growth when, in fact, our planet’s resources are finite.

Slow Food calls for inclusion in the Paris conference a kind of agriculture that is sustainable and respectful of the environment by prioritising local management practices that protect biodiversity and ecosystems. It supports agriculture, which preserves natural equilibriums and integrates traditional knowledge with technical innovation. It encourages communities to preserve their food crops, animal breeds, and methods of production.

E-mail: ssalimichaelj@gmail.com

SOURCE: DAILY MONITOR

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