| 21-09-2015

Once again NO to ‘Climate Smart Agriculture’

A year after the launch of the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture, and ahead of Paris COP 21, 320 civil society organizations say “NO” to the alliance’s concept and program in a common statement.

Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) is defined by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as an approach to reorient agricultural systems to effectively and sustainably support development and food security under a changing climate. Despite harsh criticisms having been voiced by different societal actors, including the scientific community, CSA is still highly considered by policy-makers.  Endorsed by over 320 civil society groups, today’s statement is yet another call against the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA).

The statement echoes earlier sentiments that the definition of climate-smart agriculture is too broad and vague to be beneficial; especially as the definition leaves room for the inclusion of damaging practices. There is no criteria defining what is and is not ‘smart’. In this context, agribusiness corporations that promote synthetic fertilizers, industrial meat production and large-scale industrial agriculture, all of which are widely recognized as contributing to climate change and undermining the resilience of farming systems, can and do call themselves “Climate Smart”. Furthermore, the statement notes that the governance structure of the GACSA is unclear and it therefore generates serious problems of accountability.

As world leaders will be set to sign a new agreement at COP 21, the statement calls on decision makers to focus on solutions that truly address the food and climate crisis – such as agroecology, which should be the mainstream pillar of agricultural policy frameworks worldwide. On this note, civil society urges governments to refrain from endorsing Climate Smart Agriculture as well as channel any climate finance to projects and programs under such labelling. 

The newly released statement is the third issued by a growing alliance of civil society organizations that oppose GACSA. FIAN International, together with a long list of signatories, including the world’s largest peasant farmers’ movement La Via Campesina, CIDSE, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, has also signed the statement.

 “If the Alliance and its concept were to be legitimized by governments as the best way forward towards a transition to sustainable food systems, and mainstream in all international agreements and fora, this would pose a great threat to the future of food and agriculture as well as to the future of our planet.” warns Bernd Nilles, Secretary General of CIDSE.

Read the     full statement.
Click     here to read the previous CSO letters against Climate Smart Agriculture.