Xavier Remongin / agriculture.gouv.fr

The 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has taken place in Katowice, Poland this month. Besides its participation as part of the French Delegation in the negotiations themselves (on the themes of agriculture and soils sector) France has taken the opportunity to host several side events at the French Pavilion highlighting the role of agriculture in fighting climate change and in developing an agricultural model that is more sustainable.

The first parallel event hosted at the French Pavilion is titled: “The forest is burning: Why? What’s the answer to it?” The year 2018 will have set a sad record in the numbers of forest acres going up in smoke, having cost the lives of more than 200 people. In the United States, the recent Camp Fire in California cost of lives of more than 60 people. In the European Union, by the end of July 2018, 450 fires had been declared, an increase of nearly 40%. Why are our forests burning? How do we measure the consequences? And, most importantly, what preventive measures can be implemented and what tools can we use to fight them? A panel was brought together for this event and attempted to better understand this phenomenon and to do an overview of existing measures at the regional and global levels on the question of defending against forest fires.

Another side event on agriculture was concentrated on how to scale up the use of agro-ecology. Its goal was to explain the concepts, different visions, and the performance of agro-ecology. During this occasion, a roundtable was presented, with representatives of civil society and the private sector present. This was accompanied by a more general side event focused on agro-ecology, with the goal of presenting the concept to the international audience. This included a roundtable on how to encourage the spread of agro-ecological concepts globally, bringing together experts from around the world.

The final parallel event related to agriculture in which France was involved was the annual meeting of the Forum and the Consortium of the 4 per 1000 Initiative. This French-launched initiative, which has since gone international, aims to increase the amount of carbon stored in agricultural soils, rendering agriculture a tool in the fight against climate change. This annual meeting served as an opportunity to bring together all partners of the initiative in order to review the advances of the organization, to mobilize actors and to encourage collaborative action on common projects for 2019 and beyond.