Is green the color of gold?
International seminar on the assets of forestry for smallholder farmers in developing countries
How to bridge financing gap for the farmers driven climate change agenda in developing countries?
A joint international seminar will be organised in the European Parliament on 17 March 2020, meeting room JAN 6Q1, hosted by MEP Petri Sarvamaa with MTK, FFD, AgriCord and FAO’s Forest and Farm Facility.
The goal of the seminar is to sensitize the international community i) to urgently set up climate fund for strengthening farmers’ organisations in climate action, ii) to increase support for farmers and forest producers in sustainable forest management (SFM), and iii) to foment exchange between farmers’ organizations from Africa, Latin America and Asia, policymakers, researchers, international donors and private sector actors.
The seminar will be in English with translation in French.
Timing: 17st March 2020, 15:00-17:00, meeting room JAN 6Q1
European Parliament members, particularly members of AGRI, DEVE, ENVI and BUDG
European Commission forestry and agriculture experts from DG AGRI, DEVCO, CLIMA and ENV
Permanent representations of EU member states and other countries
COPA members and other farmers’ and forest owners’ organisations’ representatives, FOs from Africa, Latin America, Asia, WFO
UN: IFAD, FAO, FFF, UNFFFC, Green Climate Fund
International development actors and forestry organisations
Private sector representatives, like ECOSA, remote sensing companies, solar energy
International Day of Forests
Every 21 March the United Nations raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests. This year the International Day of Forests promotes education to Learn to Love Forests. It underscores the importance of education at all levels in achieving sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation. Healthy forests mean healthy, resilient communities and prosperous economies.
Forests cover one third of the Earth's land mass, performing vital functions around the world. Around 1.6 billion people - including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures - depend on forests for their livelihoods, medicines, fuel, food and shelter. Also, 2.4 billion people use wood or charcoal for their daily domestic energy needs. Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate - 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually. Deforestation accounts for 12 to 20 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
EU commitment to forestry
The EU commitment and ambitions on sustainable forest management (SFM) extends beyond EU borders through institutionalized mechanisms such as development partnerships, Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT), Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) and the sustainability criteria under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II). Strengthened sustainability demands by the EU require targeted and smallholder relevant support for forest and farm producers in developing countries. Inclusive processes, incentives, innovation, and investments are required to secure sustainable livelihoods and resilient forest development pathways.
On 23 July 2019, the European Commission adopted an EU Communication on Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests, which lays out the priorities and key actions on protecting and improving the health of existing forests, especially primary forests, and significantly increasing sustainable, biodiverse forest coverage worldwide.
The Communication has the objective of protecting and improving the health of existing forests, especially primary forests, and significantly increasing sustainable, biodiverse forest coverage worldwide. It sets out five priorities:
Reduce the footprint of EU consumption on land and encourage the consumption of products from deforestation-free supply chains in the EU;
Work in partnership with producer countries to reduce pressures on forests and to “deforest-proof” EU development cooperation;
Strengthen international cooperation to halt deforestation and forest degradation, and encourage forest restoration;
Redirect finance to support more sustainable land-use practices;
Support the availability and quality of information on forests and commodity supply chains, the access to that information, and support research and innovation.
The Communication calls for action under the Priority 2 to “Develop and implement incentive mechanisms for smallholder farmers to maintain and enhance ecosystem services and products provided by sustainable forest management and agriculture”. However, the important role of forest and farm producers should gain wider recognition under several priority areas stated.
Smallholder farmers are key actors
Smallholder are among the key actors and main stakeholders when tackling deforestation and forest degradation. Smallholder production is the world’s largest private sector. In 2017 The gross annual value of smallholder crop, fuelwood and charcoal, timber and non-wood forest products production is between US$ 869 billion and US$ 1.29 trillion. According to the UN REDD framework, half of deforestation in tropical areas is caused by livelihood activities such as shifting cultivation by resource poor communities and smallholders.
When developing incentive and compensation mechanisms, including the European Parliament’s 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework, more focus is need on the interests and dynamics of smallholders and small forest owners and users to enable inclusive and long-lasting impacts on our forest landscapes. Synergies with relevant EU policy processes such as Green Deal and EU-Africa Partnership should be strengthened.
Protecting and restoring forests should not equal making farmers poorer. With the right compensation and incentive mechanisms; farmers are our best allies in protecting the global green gold - in enhancing forest ecosystems and driving a sustainable forestry sector.
Urgent need to engage farmers’ organisations to the climate agenda
Ensuring smallholders’ access to climate funding must be high on the climate agenda. Needs related to adaptation are enormous and making emerging carbon markets accessible for smallholders both in agriculture and forestry remains a challenge. Land-use related measures create significant mitigation potential according to IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land (2019), and forest and farm producers have a centric role in fulfilling this potential. Smallholders are an important stakeholder in the global climate agenda, and farmers’ organisations should be included in the decision making in the national climate action and climate funding bodies.
Until now, the role of farmers’ organisations has been underestimated by international climate policy makers, national governments and the private sector. As a result, very little resources have been dedicated to strengthening the FOs role in building resilience for their members. According to a study carried out by AgriCord, indicated that in 2018 only about 3-5% of all public climate funding reached farmers. More resources are needed from the international community whereby the funding modalities are adapted to increase accessibility for farmers’ organisations.
Welcome and opening remarks: the new forestry strategy of the EU (10 min)
MEP Petri Sarvamaa
Keynote speech: Engaging smallholders and their organizations to manage and protect forests – Financing climate action through farmers’ organizations
Tiina Huvio, Programme Director FFD, lead AgriCord Climate strategy, Chair of the steering group of FAO’s Forest Farmers Facility
Formal reactions from key policy makers and the farmers
Discussion in plenary with reactions asked from farmers’ organisations, research, private sector and other stakeholders
Seminar moderated by: Jeffrey Campbell, Manager FAO’s Forest Farmers Facility
Conclusions: Hannelore Beerlandt, CEO AgriCord (10min)