Nearly one thousand people from 72 countries, including French Minister of Agriculture, Stéphane Le Foll, attended the third global scientific conference on Climate-Smart Agriculture in Montpellier, France from March 16-18, 2015.
For those who may not know, climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an approach that prioritizes agricultural development in relation to climate change while including additional developmental priorities. It involves supporting the countries and other parties committed to implementing public policies and the financial and technical conditions necessary to:
- Sustainably increase agricultural productivity and farmers’ revenue in order to reach the national objectives for food security and development.
- Increase the resilience and the capacity to adapt food and agricultural systems to climate change
- Research possibilities to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and to increase carbon sequestration.
These three conditions – food security, adaptation and mitigation – form the three pillars of climate-smart agriculture.
The goal behind these conferences was to deal simultaneously with important topics on agriculture, food security and climate change. This initiative took off, providing the structure for two separate but parallel avenues for progress: the scientific principles behind climate-smart agriculture and the public policies that will implement them. The two previous scientific conferences took place at the University of Wageningen (Netherlands) and at the University of California Davis (USA) in 2011 and 2013 respectively.
This year in Montpellier, the emphasis was on the role of agricultural research. Laurence Tubiana, the French Ambassador for Paris Climate 2015, participated in the conference via videoconference and appealed to all the researchers in attendance, reminding that scientific research will have a direct and important impact on the direction of the climate negotiations to take place in Paris in December of 2015. Up until now, agricultural representatives and research have not played a role in the climate negotiations.
Stéphane Le Foll made a personal appearance on the last day of the conference to announce the implementation of the international research program called “4 per 1000.” This program aims to discover viable ways to increase the level of organic matter in soil by a magnitude of 0.4% per year which, if achieved on a global scale, would compensate for the entirety of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions. He thus concluded by reminding that carbon sequestration constitutes a promising strategy worth researching through which agriculture and forestry can contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Visit the Climate-Smart Agricultural Conference’s official website to learn more about the topics covered this past March.