23 December 2014

When it comes to equity, climate-smart agriculture needs to wise up

By Javi Ros Rodriguez, originally published at GAEA blog

I always liked arid landscapes – perhaps a childhood lived in Spain and Morocco has something to do with it –, so I really enjoyed my trip to Lima, and the over 30 hours on a bus that traversed the bald and endless desert that is the Peruvian coast. After a while, I started thinking that there’s nothing inherently wrong or unsustainable with these landscapes, and, actually, if you don’t look at them consciously you run the risk of missing their startling beauty. What is unsustainable is to perpetuate in appropriate and unadapted human activities in environments that cannot sustain the scale or the demands, and therefore keeps people in a constant struggle against nature, without water. It’s always about water you know. Engulfed in these thoughts I arrived to Lima, that desert macro-city surrounded by sand and more sand. Among the most populated cities in the world, probably the most threatened by climate change.

In December 2014 Lima hosted the 20th UN Conferences of the Parties, and one of the side events was the Global Landscapes Forum, which took place on the 6th and 7th of December. What was this about? Basically the GLF offered a unique opportunity to exchange ideas and meet people from all around the world involved in environmental, sustainability, and social justice issues, a space full of interesting and diverse perspectives about climate change and landscape approaches. But for me, it was also a perfect moment to know more about one of the star topics of the GLF together with the UN Program for Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+): Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA). Anyone interested in the impact of agriculture and deforestation on climate change should to be aware of the discourses behind these global programs, which have major impacts in political, economic, social and environmental terms through the activities and plans that they develop.

However, I didn’t expect that learning about these programs would raise more doubts than clarifications in me. Read more