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Agroforestry to propel achievement of Nationally Determined Contributions

A programme on how agroforestry can be part of the solution to climate change has been published in a policy brief by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).

Elsa Galarza
Elsa Galarza, Peru’s Minister of Environment

The programme, launched at a side event at COP23 in Bonn on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 highlights how Agroforestry projects can propel achievement of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of different countries.

Organised by the government of Peru and the World Agroforestry Centre, the event focused on the Peru’s experience in multi-sectoral process to the NDC implementation.

The Peru government is leading a multi-stakeholder process through a multi-sectorial working group, comprising 13 ministries and the Centre of Strategic Planning to meet NDC and sustainable development objectives. Agroforestry is a potential action being explored, says Elsa Galarza, Peru’s Minister of Environment.

“Agroforestry has the potential to help governments better achieve their NDCs like the case of Peru,” Galarza said.

Officials of the World Agroforestry Centre, says the new policy brief, draw from Peru’s experience, seeking to explore the degree to which agroforestry is represented in current NDCs ambitions, how its application is envisaged and contribution enhanced in other countries.

“The programme is geared at better promoting coordinated climate action and helping governments to promote institutional arrangements for implementation of NDCs via Agroforestry projects,” notes Dr Peter Minang, Leader, Landscapes Governance Theme, World Agroforestry Centre.

According to the policy brief, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) have emerged as the main tool for defining, communicating and potentially reporting party contributions to the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“Agroforestry has been identified as a key part of most developing country NDCs, hence it is a potentially important contributor to global climate objectives,” the brief stated.

The NDCs  align accordingly with relevant national policies as equal priority is given to balancing environmental integrity and development goals in order to ensure implementation of commitments, while transitioning to low emissions and to building climate resilience.

Parity is then sought between adaptation and mitigation objectives.

It also represents a process of prioritisation in which countries consider options and possible scope for contributing to global climate mitigation objectives and increasingly, adaptation objectives beyond 2020.

NDCs cover most of the possible emission reduction pathways and sectors from energy, transport, industry, through land use and land use changes including agriculture and forestry among others.

Depending on the circumstances, mainly the sources of emissions and opportunities for emission reduction and resources, countries choose and prioritize different sectors Dr Minang says.

The policy brief by ICRAF highlights that, “agroforestry is one of the land uses with most potential to fulfill commitments set out in NDCs and reduce emissions from agriculture”.

Estimates of its potential to sequester vary widely, between 1.1–34.2 Pg C1 globally. Over 85% of the 22 NDCs assessed mentioned agroforestry as a strategy for achieving unconditional NDCs commitments.

Data from the brief shows that by converting 25% of deforested areas to agroforestry, about 80% of the non-annex I countries could achieve their unconditional commitments.

The widespread use of agroforestry (about one billion hectares) and the familiarity of smallholder farmers and local practitioners makes it a potential low-hanging fruit for achieving NDCs commitments, emission reduction in agriculture and resilience.

The policy report however cautions that challenges to the smooth contribution of Agroforestry need to be addressed well in advance.

“However, there are financial, policy and technology challenges that should be addressed including land and tree tenure and carbon rights in some countries, potential impacts of climate change on the growing niches of tree species, and limited sources of quality germplasm,” the report noted.

Courtesy: PAMACC News Agency

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