Knowledge for better food systems

Study exposes gap in global climate policy as countries commit to action on agriculture

This brief from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) shows that a third of countries involved in COP21 and who have submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) have included targets for mitigating emissions from farming in their plans, but for developing countries such plans are conditional on receiving international financial support.

Developing countries express interest in accessing technical assistance and climate finance for adaptation and mitigation strategies related to agriculture. The brief describes how this highlights a major disconnect between national-level planning and global-level policymaking since agriculture as a sector remains absent from the main draft text of the official United Nations climate negotiations.

The brief shows that of the 160 Parties involved in COP21 that have submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs):

  • 80% have included agriculture in climate change mitigation targets or actions
  • 64% have noted agriculture’s importance in climate adaptation strategies
  • 36% refer to gender equality as an important goal of climate change action and policy
  • 30% include mitigation targets in agriculture that are conditional on international financial support

The message from the researchers is that developing countries can boost food production while reducing  greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, given the right technologies and financial support to put them into practice. But this requires wealthy governments and other donors to invest more to reduce emissions stemming from agriculture.

The report’s conclusions are as follows:

“Based on the INDCs submitted by 15 November 2015, agriculture and land use appear to be key strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation in a majority of countries. Agriculture is particularly important in the contributions of non-Annex 1 countries, which are counting on international assistance to meet their targets. To help these Parties meet their targets, climate finance will need to include agriculture as a key sector for support, and work with countries to develop the capacities, such as better data collection and MRV systems, that are needed to access climate funds.”


Richards, M., Gregersen, L., Kuntze, V., Madsen, S., Oldvig, M., Campbell, B., Vasileiou, I., (2015) Info Note: Agriculture's prominence in the INDCs - Analysis of agriculture in countries’ climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, CCAFS

Read the full brief here and see a summary by CCAFS with author interviews here, further coverage can be found here.

See more resources we have highlighted by CCAFS, and other categories on climate policy, climate change mitigation, governance and policy, COP21.

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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