No climate solutions without small-scale food producers

Small-scale food producers and rural communities are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis, yet their voices have been largely absent at COP 28 climate talks in Dubai. Real climate solutions must place them at the forefront and support their positive contributions — as stewards of land, forests, coastal areas and oceans – to address climate change, and a radical transformation of food systems.

The industrial food system, dominated by corporations, is a major driver of the climate emergency and eco-destruction, in terms of emissions and the destruction of carbon sinks, including forests and other forms of vegetation. Relying heavily on chemicals primarily derived from fossil fuels, it accounts for about a third of global greenhouse gas emissions.

While the 28th Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties 28 (COP 28), meeting in Dubai since November 30, has had strong focus on tackling emissions from food systems and agriculture, small-scale food producers were massively overshadowed by agribusiness interests.

“Instead of radically transforming the system, which has led to the climate catastrophe, once again profit-seeking “false solutions” were promoted as legitimate climate action,” says FIAN International’s environmental and climate destruction policy officer Sabine Pabst.

False solutions

These false solutions include New Technologies intended for Climate Protection (NTCPs), “climate-smart,” “precision” and “regenerative” agriculture using agrotoxics, exploitative use of digital technology, gene-edited and genetically modified seeds, so-called nature-based solutions, carbon farming and green bonds. These simply perpetuate the climate crisis by failing to address its root causes. And they are fueling land and resource grabbing and endangering rights recognized in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP), including the realization of the right to adequate food.

People’s COP

The African continent is one of the most affected by the climate crisis despite contributing very little historically to global warming. A Conference of the Parties (COP) of communities was organized prior to COP 28 in Kouroukan Fouga, Mali by the Global Convergence of Struggles for Land, Water and Peasant Seeds - West Africa to “contribute to strengthening the fight against climate change through raising awareness and promoting peasant agroecology as an alternative to false solutions.”

This People’s COP voiced the specific demands of rural peoples, including the need to replace fossil-fueled food systems with people-led agroecology, and to stop land and resource grabs in the name of false climate solutions.

Real climate solutions must put these people and solutions to the forefront, not profit-driven resource grabs by global agribusiness corporations. Agroecology practiced by peasant and Indigenous communities has huge potential for helping to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change as a strengthening respect for the right to adequate food and nutrition.

For more information or media interviews please contact Tom Sullivan