COP20 Day Five - A warm day to talk about climate change adaptation and urban growth

Written by Juan De Dios Mattos

It is warm in Lima, warmer than I thought it would be. But the weather seems to be helping to get people in groups to talk about climate change and adaptation. Friday was very good in terms of meetings and engaging participants to discuss with them on IFAD and its Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme. Several people stopped at the IFAD booth to request information about what we do and how we do it. Because it gets a bit hot inside building G (where IFAD’s booth is), most meetings are done outside. Getting a chair or a table is sometimes challenging.

One of the topics we discussed today is how food consumption is related to climate change, and specifically, to climate change adaptation. It seems that food consumption, which is viewed mostly as an urban issue is somehow disconnected from the discussion of adaptation of smallholder farmers. As urban areas grow, demand for food will change. Food production and storage will need also to adapt to this new scenario. Will small farmers need to change what they produce or how they do it to adapt to this change? How will climate change influence food demand? IFAD will need to evaluate these future scenarios to provide the funding and technical assistance to governments and producers in a consistent and efficient way. 

The UNFCCC’s COP20 in Lima, and of course, the side events, help people to be in the same place to talk about the same thing. But at the same time, when attending the side events or the discussions in general, it feels like we are talking about everything and trying to discuss all possible angles and possible alternatives. Although discussing those issues is important, there is the risk of losing focus and momentum. Luckily, it seems that small farmers and agriculture in general is gaining space in the discussion.