Post-Conference Highlights from COP24

The 24th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in Katowice, Poland from 2-14 December 2018. IFOAM – Organics International organized and attended several events to speak out on behalf of the organic food and farming community and to raise awareness about the urgent need to make organic agriculture part of a climate change solution.

HIGH EXPECTATIONS

COP24

was preceded by the publication of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, released on 8 October 2018 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The publication sent an unwavering message: limiting global warming to 1.5°C is feasible if we implement radical emissions cuts and protect or restore natural ecosystems. The report added that staying below the 1.5°C increase is absolutely vital to contain the impacts of climate change as well as the associated risks to humans and ecosystems. The report also issued a clear call for emission cuts: global greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by around 45% by 2030 (compared to 2010 levels), and reach zero by around 2050.

AT THE NEGOTIATIONS

The conference began inauspiciously. Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, declared that his country could not reasonably be expected to give up its 200 years’ of coal reserves and newly elected Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, withdrew the offer to host COP25. Despite this, COP24 achieved its primary objective: complete the “Paris Rulebook” - now branded the Katowice Climate Package - the manual designed to operationalize the Policy Agreement by 2020. The agreement was reached in COP24's final hours, preventing a breakdown in the negotiations and proving that multilateralism and the Paris Agreement survive.

Countries are now equipped with guidelines to plan, implement, and review their actions to halt climate change. However, the rule book is not yet complete and decisions related to market and non-market mechanisms (Article 6) have been postponed. This is a very important and technical aspect of the text, and negotiations struggled to move forward during the summit, with parties ultimately acknowledging their failure to agree and deferring its finalization to COP25.

These setbacks coupled with the lack of political will to raise the ambitions of national contributions together and the modest progress in securing long-term climate finance, led several NGOs to declare that this COP was lacking and did not meet their expectations.

OUTSIDE THE NEGOTIATIONS

In addition to the negotiations of the Paris Agreement Working Program, other promising decisions were made in Poland:

  • The High Ambition Coalition (HAC) of countries, which played a key role in ratifying the Paris Agreement, re-established itself at COP 24 and issued a statement on Stepping Up Climate Ambition, which outlines their determination to increase commitment by 2020.
  • Through the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform, COP parties introduced a ‘Facilitative Working Group’, which will effectively grant indigenous peoples an equal number of seats as parties at COP25. This decision addresses a request initially raised in 1992.

OUR PRESENCE AT COP24

IFOAM - Organics International at COP24

IFOAM – Organics International actively contributed to the joint interventions made during the negotiations by the Farmers’ Constituency, of which we are a member. Our inputs were based mainly on the report “Missing Pathways to 1.5°C: The Role of the Land Sector in Ambitious Climate Action” released one week after the IPCC report by the Climate, Land, Ambition & Rights Alliance (CLARA). IFOAM - Organics International is also a member of CLARA. The report shows how greater ambition to secure land rights, restore forest ecosystems, and move toward truly sustainable food systems, such as organic farming and agroecology, can help to limit global warming to 1.5°C by reducing global emissions by 23 gigatons of CO2 per year by 2050, eliminating the need for geoengineering technologies.

Together with Biovision, Shumei International and Regeneration International, we organized a COP24 side event entitled Speed Up the Cool Down: Scaling Up Regenerative Solutions to Climate Change. An international panel provided several examples of concrete, “shovel-ready” solutions and frameworks to accelerate carbon sequestration, food sovereignty, and biodiversity preservation in different regions of the world. The session was moderated by Precious Phiri, Founding Director of Earth Wisdom Consulting Co., Zimbabwe, and the speakers included: Shamika Mone, Managing Committee member of Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI) and chair of the INOFO group; Mercedes López Martinez, Director of Via Organica, Mexico; Andre Léu, International Director of Regeneration International, Australia and Hans Herren, President of Biovision, Switzerland.

IFOAM - Organics International and several organic farmers from our member organizations also contributed to the side-event ‘Farmers' Voices from Small Island Development States: Organic Agriculture a Solution Grown from Tradition’, co-organized by POETCom, UNDP, IFAD and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Australian Government.

As scientific evidence has shown, organic agriculture contributes to the carbon sequestration of soils. IFOAM - Organics International is a consortium member of the 4per1000 Initiative. Our Vice President Jennifer Chang delivered a speech during the high level section of its annual meeting.

WHAT COMES NEXT

COP25 is in the works and will be held from 11-12 November 2019 in Chile. Throughout 2019, there will be several occasions to continue work on integrating agriculture and land use issues into climate change discussions. Two such occasions are the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture workshops. The finalization of the “Paris Rulebook” and Article 6 is considered to be one of the main outcomes of the next COP summit.

TAKE AWAY MESSAGE

Our organization represents millions of farmers worldwide. Agricultural producers have already begun to suffer the adverse impacts of climate change. For many of them, achieving the 1.5C target is a question of survival. We can only achieve the necessary agriculutral transformations when food security, biodiversity protection, and decreased demand for resources are prioritized and we are willing to adapt our lifestyles and consumption patterns to match.

GOING DEEPER

To gain more insight on COP24 negotiations and outcomes, read the following reports:

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The above article is a follow up of our 5 December 2018 news article entitled 'Join Us at the Climate Conference COP24'. To see IFOAM - Organics International's original, pre-conference news article, please continue reading below. 

Join Us at the Climate Conference COP24

IFOAM – Organics International is organising and attending several events at the COP24 and beyond to speak out on behalf of the organic food and farming community and to raise awareness of the urgent need to make organic agriculture part of a climate change solution.

 How is it possible to limit global warming to 1.5°C

In its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, released on 8 October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), sends us an unwavering message:  limiting temperature increase to 1.5°C is feasible if radical emissions cuts, transformative pathways and the protection and restoration of natural ecosystems are implemented.  But they also add that 1.5°C is absolutely vital in order to contain the impacts of climate change and the risks for humans and ecosystems that are associated with it. The report issues a clear call for radical emission cuts: global greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by around 45 percent by 2030 (compared to 2010 levels), and reach zero by around 2050.

Missing Pathways to 1.5°C: The role of the land sector in ambitious climate action” released one week after the IPCC report by the Climate, Land, Ambition & Rights Alliance (CLARA) - of which IFOAM - Organics International is member - shows how greater ambition to secure land rights, restore forest ecosystems, and move toward truly sustainable food systems such as organic farming and agroeoclogy, can help to limit global warming to 1.5°C by reducing global emissions by 23 gigatonnes of CO2- equivalent per year by 2050, eliminating the need for geoengineering technologies.

WHAT will HAPPEN AT THE NEGOTIATIONS:

The Paris Agreement was agreed in 2015 and parties committed on a three-year work program to be finished this year, at COP 24 in Katowice. While the Agreement states basic obligations for all countries – a milestone of climate negotiations – it also introduces new procedures called “Paris Agreement implementation guidelines” or “Paris Rulebook”, which will be decided over the next two weeks. 

Beside the finalization of the Paris Rulebook, the Talanoa Dialogue will also come to a conclusion and its results should be endorsed by a official position. The dialogue allows countries, as well as non-Party stakeholders, to share stories and showcase best practices in order to urgently raise ambition – including pre-2020 action – in nationally determined contributions (NDCs). 

There will also be discussions on the implementation of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture, a landmark decision adopted at COP23 recognising the vital role of food and farming in climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Thus, COP24 is expected to be the most pivotal moment  in the international climate effort since the Paris summit in 2015.

JOIN US AT COP24

  • 12 December -  we will co-organise an official side event titled: "Speed Up the Cool Down: Scaling up Regenerative Solutions to Climate Change", where we will showcase concrete solutions and frameworks to accelerate carbon sequestration, food sovereignty and biodiversity preservation. Meeting Room Narew, 11:30-13:30.
  • 12 December -  meet some organic farmers from Small Island States at the event: "The farmer's voice - organic agriculture, a solution grown from tradition".  The event is co-organised by IFOAM - Organics International at the Pacific and Koronivia Pavilion, 14:00 -15:00.
  • 13 December - our Vice President Jennifer Chang will participate in the High Level Segment of the 4per1000 inititative of which IFOAM - Organics International is member.

 


If you are also travelling to COP24 and would like to meet with us or invite us to an event, please contact Gábor Figeczky, Head of Global Policy, advocacy [at] ifoam.bio

 

Learn more about how organic farming can counter climate change here

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