The submission to global climate negotiators of recommendations aimed at improving nutrient use and manure management is just the latest chapter in a volume being written by the North America Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance (NACSAA) to promote sustainable and resilient agricultural systems around the world.
The recommendations submitted this week make up the latest of four submissions NACSAA has offered over the past 18 months in support of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA), a policy breakthrough adopted by delegates in 2017 that officially acknowledges the significant role the global agriculture sector can play in adapting to and mitigating climate change.
The latest submission will be considered along with those from other interests around the world during December’s UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP 25) in Santiago, Chile.
Critical to the NACSAA’s approach to all of the recommendations submitted in support of agriculture’s role in dealing with a changing climate is that they are built around guiding principles developed by the alliance for the KJWA. The guidelines call for sustainably managed working lands, which are critically important pathways for combating climate change and achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
NACSAA principles also assert that science-based decision making should be the foundation for climate smart policies; that there is no “silver bullet” solution for achieving climate-smart agricultural; and perhaps most importantly, that farmers must be at the center of all discussions and decisions.
Among the recommendations on nutrient management, the NACSAA submission cites scientifically affirmed crop management strategies to reduce emissions – the selection of crop varieties/species that are adapted to hotter temperatures, or changes in requirements for fertilizer rates, timing and placement to match plant requirements (known as 4R Nutrient Stewardship). Adaptation strategies cited in the recommendations include changes in crop rotation, cover crops and irrigation management.
Recommendations for using the management of animal manure to help mitigate the effects of climate change include the use of animal waste to generate renewable energy, particularly through anaerobic digestion that can recover methane and convert it into electricity.
The recommendations underscore the importance of all animal agriculture in making an integral contribution to the mitigation of climate change, as well as contributing to food security, water quality and other SDGs.
The latest recommendations follow the strong contributions NACSAA has previously made to the global climate negotiations. In March of last year, the alliance called for a wide range of areas deserving critical focus, including soil health, water resource management, bioenergy, agroforestry, and the two issues addressed by this week’s submission, livestock systems and nutrient management. The alliance also urged the participation of the best experts available in the subject areas being covered in the agriculture talks.
In October, 2018, NACSAA called on negotiators to directly involve the input of recognized technical agricultural experts outside of the direct KJWA process, to ensure the best information that farmer organizations, academia, industry, and international and regional organizations have to offer is available throughout the agriculture negotiations.
This past May, NACSAA’s submission laid out guiding principles and recommended methods and strategies for assessing vulnerability, adapting to changing climatic conditions and improving soil health.
Solutions from the Land commends the members of NACSAA for the proactive leadership they are providing in advancing agricultural solutions to climate and other sustainable development goals. SfL stands ready to help them address these mega-challenges in our times in ways that produce win-win outcomes – for both those who work the land and those who benefit from their stewardship of the natural resources that sustain life on our planet.