Act-alliance Report Exposes Failure of Industry-led "Climate Smart Agriculture”

A new report by Act Alliance - a coalition of 146 churches and faith-based organisations working together in over 100 countries - shows that "Climate Smart Agriculture” (CSA) is driven by agribusiness interests not small-scale family farmers, ignores agroecological solutions, and fails to tackle the industrial food system’s reliance on fossil fuels and massive contribution to the causes of climate change. You can download it here. 

Their analysis shows that the climate-smart agriculture framework initially developed by FAO and now promoted mainly by the Global Alliance on Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA), has failed to address the root causes of climate vulnerability and agriculture-based greenhouse gas emissions.

There are three major reasons for this failure:

  • First, the GACSA-initiative is mainly driven by agri-business interests instead of those of small-scale and family farmers.
  • Second, and partly explained by the dominance of agribusiness interests, the Alliance does not give primary consideration to agro-ecological solutions to climate resilience, despite the growing body of evidence showing the potential of these approaches to build climate resilience.
  • Thirdly, the Alliance has failed to tackle the structural causes that underlie both the vulnerability of the world’s smallholder food producers to climate change as well as the contribution of the industrial agricultural sector to climate change. Also, GACSA does not attempt to wean the current food system off its dependence on fossil energy.

Based on the analysis in this report, ACT EU Alliance believes that the climate-smart agriculture brand and GACSA, its main promoter, do not provide the guidance and leadership required for the radical transformation needed to fix a broken food system and implement the right to food for all while also mitigating and adapting to climate change. Instead, the principles promoted by the food sovereignty and agroecological movements, which are holistic, ecologically sound, and socially just are the way forward to build climate resilience and transform the agricultural system, both of which are fundamental to achieving the global sustainable development goals outlined in Agenda 2030.

The agricultural production models promoted under the concepts of agroecology and food sovereignty are optimal for both climate change mitigation and adaptation given that they are locally adapted, diverse, use resources sustainably, offer decent livelihoods to smallholders and have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a far greater extent than conventional models. Therefore, these principles and models should be supported by climate funds.

The authors  recommend that:

  • Any bilateral and multi-lateral climate finance flows should support bottom up, communitydriven climate adaptation solutions.
  • Climate funds should not support technologies and approaches that increase the dependence of family and small-scale farmers on costly inputs.
  • The funds should prioritise support projects in line with principles of agroecology and food sovereignty.
  • Climate change mitigation initiatives in the agriculture sector should focus primarily on transforming and phasing-out the industrial agriculture system.
  • National mitigation and adaptation should respect a list of criteria to support transformational change towards agroecology, ensuring food security and sovereignty, restoring ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as defending human rights.

Read more here. 

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