COP26 – A chance to tap into the agriculture and forestry potential

Copa and Cogeca welcome the opening of the COP26 in Glasgow, a global meeting centered around the commitments taken under the Paris Agreement at COP21. Having been an active participant in and supporter of the Agreement, Copa and Cogeca are glad to join this meeting to continue the work. Since the agriculture and forestry sectors are key for reaching the ambitious climate change goals set out in the Paris Agreement; Copa and Cogeca wish there would have been a greater focus on these essential sectors at COP26. 

European farmers and Agri-cooperatives have already been working to limit and counter the effects of climate change, however, further tools and supports are necessary to untap their true potential in mitigation and emissions reduction. We hope that the presence of global farming and forestry representatives in Glasgow will enhance further discussions on how to best tap into this potential.

For Christiane Lambert, Copa President, "European farmers, forest owners and their cooperatives are the first to feel the impact of climate change and therefore the European farming community takes this topic very seriously. We are committed to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and its goals, otherwise unachievable without the full involvement of agriculture and forestry sectors. No other sectors in Europe will be able to remove emissions from the atmosphere naturally. To deliver our full potential we need both consistent policies and general public support."

The EU farming model, based on diverse, local, and family farm structures, is among the most efficient farming systems in the world, with an overall productivity increase of 25% since 1990 whilst still reducing its GHG emissions by 20% over this same time period, and effectively decoupling climate impact from production growth. Nonetheless, EU farming organisations acknowledge the fact that further efforts must be deployed to enhance adaption and foster mitigation in our sectors.

According to Copa and Cogeca, the best way to achieve further reductions in agricultural emissions, without putting downward pressure on production and food security, is to incentivise mitigation practices at national, regional, and global level. While the EU agricultural and forestry sectors have been implementing their best efforts to combat climate change, their ability to maintain their competitiveness and reputation in the international arena must be preserved. Copa and Cogeca welcome international action to mitigate and adapt to climate change through fair, balanced, and sustainable trade.

If a fair transition is to be achieved, any restrictions of land-use and essential agricultural inputs must have genuine alternatives and compensation resources in place. Agriculture and forestry cannot and will not be changed by the elimination of subsides or restriction of inputs, but by the encouragement of farmers and agricultural communities through genuine solutions and higher valorisation of their work.

Copa and Cogeca hope to see that the discussions at COP26 launch further and wider developments on the role of agriculture and forestry in reaching sustainability goals and fighting climate change.

 

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