United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization FAO

In the area of climate change, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) contributes to the debate by assessing the available scientific evidence, participating in observing and monitoring systems, collecting unique global datasets, promoting adaptation and mitigation practices, and by providing a neutral forum for negotiations and technical discussions on climate change and agriculture. (FAO, 2008)

Around 30 per cent of the current contribution to greenhouse gas emissions comes from the forestry and agriculture sector. Forest degradation and deforestation account for around 17.4 per cent of GHGs, and agriculture about 13.6 per cent.

As population increases, emissions from these two sources are also likely to increase. The FAO can play an important role in providing better information on how to reduce the contributions to climate change from both agriculture and forestry. In 2008 we saw how the move to biofuels by a number of countries increased food prices. Biofuels is a complicated and interwoven problem that needs careful discussion and a commitment to sustainable development criteria before moving forward. The FAO can play a leading role here.

The REDD initiative, managed by the UNDP and UNEP, is an interesting initiative that utilizes the UN country teams and the unique roles and capacities of the partners. It hopes to build a knowledge base of what is happening on the ground. This requires an agreement on the development and testing of standards, methods and guidelines, accounting, reporting and verification.

The FAO has also been mainstreaming integrated climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies within agriculture, fisheries and national food security plans and programmes.

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