MUN Academy attended CFS 44 side event: Tackling the challenges of climate change and food security: the role of farmers as stewards of the environment

Organizers: World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), Global Research Alliance (GRA), International Fertilisers Industry Association (IFA), Government of Canada and Government of New Zealand.

Marco Marzano, Secretary General of the WFO opened the debate by saying that the role of farmers in the context of climate change is critical because they are the ones who face the immediate challenges related to this issue, especially small-scale farmers.

After having given the floor to Ambassador Patrick, Marco Marzano recognized that farmers have a key role in tackling climate change. Agriculture, he explained, is the backbone of New Zealand economy, therefore in 2009 the nation formed the GRA: a good platform to discuss possible solutions to fight climate change.  A big challenge that has to be overcome is the necessity to combine the reduction of emissions with an improvement in agriculture productivity. However it is clear that solutions are never simple and they can be costly and hard to implement.

Later on, the President of WFO, Dr. Mager, declared that farmers have to be considered as plan-makers because they face new challenges every day, and, moreover, no one is as vulnerable to climate change as them. For example, in case of severe weather events, there are no facilities where farmers can go. There should be more protection for their livelihood and crop insurance must be ensured. Their inclusion and participation in the global world have to be obtained because they, more than others, know what the climate change’s implications are.  Moreover, there is the need to create a partnership with researchers, academics and all the other parts of the value chain.

Supporting the same vision for farmers’ inclusion in decision-making processes,  Ha Nguyen, from the government of Canada, believes in the empowerment of farmers and affirmed their involvement in order to increase awareness and knowledge. Farmers are the biggest investors, therefore they must be provided with the tools to manage risk in an efficient manner, eventually showing that they are good performers.

‘’Climate change does not involve boundaries, so we all fight against it’’, the discussion continued with these words from Marco Marzano de Marinis, WFO Secretary-General, which concluded by reasserting the need to reduce CO2 emissions and to increase soil quality in order to make improvements in agriculture.

Furthermore,  the remaining speakers outlined the importance of bridging the gap between discussions and debates of this level and what it actually happens on the ground through the creation of strong partnerships in order to bring scientists and farmers together to achieve successful cooperative actions.

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