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IFOAM: organic agriculture to combat climate change

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Climate Change

Climate change concentrates many coherences. (Photo © Pixabay)

At the moment, presided over by the Government of Fiji, the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the headquarters of the UNFCCC Secretariat in Bonn, Germany, is still ongoing. With reference to the event, IFOAM – Organics International calls upon the participating parties to concentrate on mitigating the consequences of climate change faced by people who actually contributed least to the problems. Recent extreme weather events have underlined, how vulnerable the Pacific islands are when it comes to catastrophes caused by climate change. As not only peoples’ lives and land are threatened, but also their food as well as nutrition security, it’s about time to adapt to climate change in order to make farms more resilient.

Securing the future by going organic

Taking a step ahead, Cicia, a Fijian island, wants to secure its citizens’ future by going organic. By organic farming, greenhouse gases can effectively being reduced. In contrast to industrial farming, organic farming methods can retain 28% more carbon in the soil and further, they sequester carbon in the soil quickly, effectively and affordably. We are able to stop the yearly increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, if we increase the quantity of carbon stored in soils by only 0.4%. With practices enhancing soil-carbon sequestration such as composting, cover cropping as well as crop rotation, organic farming can actively help achieving this aim. Further important advantages of organic agriculture are the reduction of poverty and improved food security, as water is used efficiently, agricultural areas are made resilient to extreme weather and therefore, the risk of complete crop failures is lowered.

Besides Cicia, many other Pacific region communities have took a step forward to protect the health and safety of their population. In the Philippines, a coalition of 100 mayors have founded the League of Organic Agriculture Muncipalities and Cities to prohibit GMOS and toxic chemicals used in farming.

An appeal to all countries

IFOAM – Organics International strongly believes that the placement of sustainable agriculture in the focus of all climate change negotiations is essential and highly necessary. The organization recommends the responsible parties to establish a work program on agriculture and food security in order to find solutions to and proceed with issues like the constant reduction of non-CO2 emissions (i.e. methane and nitrous oxide - CH4 and N2O) in agriculture and the protection of land rights and food security. Additionally, IFOAM – Organics International calls on countries to commit to realize the potential of soil as a climate change solution by signing up for and delivering on the 4p1000 Initiative in order to keep up the 1.5°C target.

“We, at IFOAM – Organics International hope that countries will be able to turn COP23 into a ‘visionary summit’ as addressed by the Fijian Presidency by reaffirming ‘global commitment to te action’. We call on world leaders to show that President Trump’s decision to turn his back on the Paris Agreement leads to a more strengthened, not weakened, global alliance to tackle climate change. Follow the example shown by the Fijian island of Cicia. Go organic.“

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