GERMANY – Germany has launched a new €20m (US$22.3m) programme co-led by FAO and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) aimed at accelerating climate change action in developing countries’ agricultural and land use sectors.
The initiative will be financed by the German Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety through its International Climate Initiative.
The programme will support at least 10-12 developing countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa through accelerating and improving planning towards building climate change resilience in the regions.
The aims to assist the countries to strengthen policies, adopt innovative approaches and remove key barriers related to information gaps, governance, finance, gender mainstreaming, and integrated monitoring and reporting.
Countries will develop capacities to own and lead processes to develop agriculture and land use and meet targets set out in their Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Speaking on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid, said Svenja Schulze, Germany’s Minister for Environment said:
“Too little attention has been paid to land use and agriculture in international discussions on climate until now, despite the fact that soil is the largest carbon sink on the planet after the oceans.
“In addition, adaptation to climate change is confronting agriculture with ever greater challenges, especially in developing countries, where especially high priority is attached to food security and farming incomes.
“But agriculture is also a major greenhouse gas emission source. These are issues that we want to tackle together with our partner countries.”
Commenting on the programme FAO Director-General QU Dongyu, said: “An innovative approach to agriculture and land use is essential if we are to confront the current climate emergency and deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“This generous funding from the German government will support FAO and UNDP in their work with developing countries and help create initiatives in agriculture and land use for the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
The German-funded initiative will also help governments identify adaptation and mitigation options and prioritize solutions that will build capacity and resilience.
“This strategic programme will assist developing countries with planning and budgeting the much-needed shift to more sustainable land-use and agriculture practices — while helping vulnerable communities to better cope with the impact of climate change,” said UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner.
“And this exciting partnership with FAO will feed into UNDP’s Climate Promise which is supporting 100 countries to submit enhanced NDCs by 2020.”
Private partnerships will also be encouraged to promote action and nature-based solutions that explore business models. The aim is to build the resilience of rural communities and vulnerable populations including women.
The initiative comes as the UN and the scientific community is highlighting the need for enhanced action to address climate change as extreme weather events, from heatwaves to droughts and floods, are becoming more frequent.
FAO and UNDP will work closely together to implement the initiative, and support and serve countries based on their comparative advantage.