“Action in the Land Sector: treading carefully”


Briefing from the Climate, Land, Ambition and Rights Alliance (CLARA), called “Action in the Land Sector: treading carefully”.

CLARA members closely follow UNFCCC negotiations in the areas of agriculture, forest and land issues. We have developed a joint position on how these issues should be addressed in the UNFCCC, so as to promote ambitious and positive action in the land sector.

Action in the land sector is critical and necessary for achieving the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting planetary warming to 1.5°C or well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Good practice is essential to limit GHG releases, and to protect and increase the carbon storage capacity of the land sector.

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Parties must remember, however, that land serves multiple functions – providing food, homes, habitats, water, livelihoods and much more. The principles in the preamble to the Paris Agreement, including safeguarding food security and respecting human rights, must therefore be operationalised and fully integrated into all policies relating to land.

The Paris Agreement further emphasises building adaptation and resilience to anticipated climate change. Nowhere is this more important than agriculture, which is particularly susceptible to climate impacts.

Land use must therefore be considered carefully as countries come together to agree the rules and methods that will be used to turn the Paris Agreement into effective, achievable action.

CLARA calls on parties to tread carefully as they consider strategies for climate action in the land sector. We argue that they must:

– Food security and human rights;
– Free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and full and effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities at all stages – including from the project planning and design phase;
– Halting of deforestation and degradation, and protection and restoration of degraded forests and ecosystems;
– Security of land rights, including collective land rights;
– Counting of the emissions from the burning of biomass;
– Reduction of non-CO2 emissions from industrialised agriculture systems, such as methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O);
– Agro-ecological approaches for agricultural adaptation strategies;
– A scaling-up of climate finance and addressing the particularly large gap in adaptation finance.

– Attempts to use terrestrial carbon sinks to offset fossil carbon emissions;
– Unreliable accounting for soil carbon removals;
– Harmful geo-engineering experiments or large-scale land use for Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS);
– Strategies that increase the risk of forced land acquisitions form indigenous peoples and local communities;
– Counterproductive “Climate Smart Agriculture” approaches.

This policy brief explains how and why post-Paris climate negotiations can and should build effective climate action, without threatening human rights and natural ecosystems.

This briefing has been endorsed by the following organisations:
ActionAid International, Action Contre la Faim, Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development, Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad Colombia, Biofuelwatch, Brot für die Welt, Carbon Market Watch, CCFD-Terre Solidaire, Center for International Environmental Law, Climate Justice Programme, Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, Fern, Forests of the World, Friends of the Siberian Forests, Global Forest Coalition, Greenpeace, Groupe de Travail Climat Redd Rénové, Heinrich Böll Foundation, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Komunitas Sonservasi Indonesia WARSI, Oxfam, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, Pivot Point, Pro Natura – Friends of the Earth Switzerland, Rainforest Foundation Norway, SONIA, Yayasan Madani Kerkelanjutan – Indonesia, International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, Development and Peace – Caritas Canada, Secours Catholique – Caritas France.