More To Learn, More To Do, and More to Deliver for Small-scale Food Producers
By Tonya Rawe, Global Policy Lead for Food and Nutrition Security, CARE and Vitu Chinoko, Partnerships and Advocacy Coordination, CARE Southern Africa
When 795 million people are chronically hungry; 161 million children under five are stunted; and climate change threatens to negatively impact all aspects of food security – when we’re faced with the challenge of “safeguarding food security and ending hunger,” as the Paris Agreement recognizes, more must be done. Small-scale food producers on the front lines of climate change know: there’s more to learn, there’s more to do, and it’s about more than food production.
While producing more food is important, underlying causes of food insecurity must also be addressed. Inequality determines different people’s access to food and the resources to grow and buy it. Inequality further determines who can or cannot adapt to adverse impacts of climate change. Hunger and poverty are not accidents—they are the result of social and economic injustice and inequality at all levels. The reality of inequality is no truer than for women, who make up half the world’s population, but have far less than their fair share of the world’s resources.
So what must Parties at COP22 do to support small-scale food producers? At COP22, Parties must decide next steps in the Agriculture negotiations under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and ground those next steps in sustainability and social justice. Parties should establish a joint SBSTA/SBI Work Programme on Agriculture and Food Security. Agriculture cuts across several areas of negotiations, and numerous negotiation and technical support bodies under the Convention can support action in agriculture. This requires coherence, coordination, and a sustained space to discuss emerging issues and challenges, including discussion of issues beyond food production.
A Work Programme will give Parties the opportunity to consider all aspects of food security, examine how climate change will impact different food producer groups and generate discussion on the social aspects of food and nutrition security, such as human rights, gender equality, land rights, and environmental aspects, including preservation of bio-diversity and genetic diversity. In a balanced consideration of adaptation and mitigation, a work programme can provide space for learning and discussion of opportunities to reduce emissions all along the value chain and to permanently reduce non-CO2 agriculture emissions. Recognizing linkages with the Sustainable Development Goals, Parties can also leverage a work programme on agriculture and food security to explore the meaning of sustainable production and consumption.
A Work Programme can facilitate sharing of knowledge and identification of best practices; identify gaps in knowledge, support, and action and encourage efforts to fill these gaps; and provide guidance for regional, national, and subnational level action. A work programme can, thereby, ensure climate actions advance – and do not undermine – the principles of the Paris Agreement, particularly the priority of safeguarding food security, ending hunger, and protecting human rights. It can enhance action to build adaptive capacity and resilience in agriculture, particularly in developing countries. And a work programme can inform and enhance mitigation action to contribute to the objectives of the Paris Agreement, while ensuring that mitigation action does not threaten food security, gender equality, or human rights.
Ending hunger in the face of climate change will require action by all. The Work Programme on Climate Change and Food Security must, therefore, ensure robust engagement and participation by civil society, including small-scale food producers, social movements, NGOs, and women’s groups.