The 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP 23) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) takes place in Bonn, Germany, from Nov. 6 to 17. This is an important event for France, which is committed to integrating agriculture and forests into the fight against climate change.

This COP 23 is part of the sequence of the working program of Paris, started by the signature of the Paris Agreement during the COP 21 in December 2015, and which will be finalized by the approval by consensus of applying the implementation decisions of the Katowice (Poland) Agreement during the COP24 in 2018. As of now, of the 197 parties of the convention, 169 have ratified the Paris Agreement.

Agriculture and forest are some of the sectors the most affected by climate change and that need measures to be taken to help them adapt. They are also part of the solution for the climate, notably through:

  • The reduction of sources of greenhouse gas emissions,
  • Increasing terrestrial carbon sinks, including in soils (the 4 per 1000 Initiative, for example).

Agriculture and forests present numerous specific features, starting with their crucial role in food security.

In 2015, the Paris Agreement renewed the importance of food security and introduced new tools for the soil sector, including forests. As pointed out by the FAO, 90% of nationally determined contributions of the parties (NDC) in the framework of this Agreement include agriculture or the soil sector in the decrease objectives. Of the 70% of NDCs including an adaptive component, practically all mention agriculture or the soil sector as priorities. An important characteristic of absorptions by the soil sector is its non-permanence. The accumulation of carbon stocks can be annihilated almost instantaneously by a natural catastrophe or human action.

Within the European Union, but also in other developed countries, France has committed to integrating agriculture and forests in the fight against climate change. For the Ministry of Agriculture, that means:

  • Promoting the multiple functionalities of agriculture, of agro-ecology and of agro-forestry
  • Promoting the 4 per 1000 Initiative: Soils for food security and climate, which will have its annual meeting Nov. 16
  • Promoting sustainable forest management, optimizing its carbon footprint and the link between mitigating and adapting to climate change.