The French government recently made some important announcements about the 4 per 1000 Initiative for Food Security and Climate, which aims to reduce climate change by increasing carbon sequestration in soils.

Just to remember the objective of the 4 per 1000 Initiative: According to scientists, if the annual amount of carbon stored in soils was increased by 0.4 percent, the effects of human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide could be mitigated. The initiative plans to achieve this by encouraging the use of innovative agricultural techniques to store more carbon in the ground, turning agriculture into a potentially powerful tool in the fight against climate change. The Initiative has been signed by 168 organizations, including 33 countries from around the world, several important international organizations like the World Bank, and dozens of universities and research institutes.

During the climate conference in Meknes, Morocco, in late April, the French government proposed the creation of an international consortium that will help build the initiative and organize research projects at a global level among signatories of the Initiative. This consortium would be the initiative’s primary driver and decision-making body, backed by a forum, a scientific committee and a secretariat to provide coordination among the various members.

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The forum would bring together all partners of the initiative to encourage exchanges of information and stronger collaborative relationships between all of the signatories. It would compose five “colleges” for each category of signatory. France also announced the possibility of making the forum digitally based to ease communication among all of the global partners.

The second part of the news was the announcement of a planned roadmap for 4 per 1000 Initiative-related activities for 2016. The roadmap lays out goals and deadlines for the activities for the year, culminating in the organization of the COP22 in Morocco in late fall of this year, when Morocco will take over leadership of the COP (Conference of Parties, the main United Nations global conference on climate change) from France, which led it during the climate conference in Paris last year which culminated in the groundbreaking international agreement to limit climate change through global action.