A side event at the Pacific and Koronivia Pavilion sponsored by France at Tuesday’s installment of COP24 focused on the development of agroecology and scaling-up its performance and potential. The meat of the session focused on research and development around shifting agricultural norms toward using more local inputs, supporting holistic ecosystem approaches such as integrated pest management, and pursuing a landscape approach that builds habitat for animals while also supporting agriculture. The session ultimately concluded that ecosystem services are sound, healthy investments for future generations that simultaneously address both mitigation and adaptation needs.
As a part of its wider agroecology project, France distributed its plan for development from 2015-2020 of its agroforestry systems. The publication pairs trees and agricultural production in the same fields, bringing back age-old farming practices that combined mixed crops and livestock that gave us hedgerows and their associated economic and ecological roles. Some of these roles include shelter for animals, erosion prevention, water regulation, and carbon sequestration.
France’s plan breaks down into 5 main “Axes” and 23 Actions. Axis 5 deals with “International Advocacy and Spread of Agroforestry,” because France believes that agroecology is a strong solution for farming in France and around the world to meet significant challenges like food security and biodiversity enhancement using pragmatic methods. Sharing knowledge and receiving feedback on experiences in other countries will enhance the French vision, and help with future preparations by developing partnerships that will lead to higher performance.
In accordance with Decision 4/CP.23, the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA) was initiated this year. After initial meetings, Parties agreed on a “Road Map” for how the KJWA will play out in future joint sessions. SBI and SBSTA 49 accepted comments leading up to COP24 on Topic 2(a), “modalities for implementation of the outcomes of the five in-session workshops on issues related to agriculture and other future topics that may arise from this work.” At the end of the first week of COP24, the subsidiary bodies adopted a draft text, and submissions are being accepted on topics 2(b) and 2(c) of the KJWA “Road Map” that will help move agriculture forward on the SBI/SBSTA 50 agenda next year.
Topic 2(b), “Methods and approaches for assessing adaptation, adaptation co-benefits and resilience,” and to a greater degree Topic 2(c), “Improved soil carbon, soil health and soil fertility under grassland and cropland as well as integrated systems,” offer France the opportunity to significantly contribute to the KJWA. Although official evaluation of their agroforestry plan will not be conducted until 2020, ongoing monitoring combined with international dialogue has the potential to help transfer ideas and build land use capacities, both within the Convention and in our fields.