IPCC Synthesis Report Launch - A harrowing account of what is to come

By: Jess Morgan

The IPCC's (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) fifth assessment report is drawing to a close and with it concern is mounting for small scale agriculture and the family farming communities who depend on it.

The forthcoming synthesis report is expected to  put a strong  emphasis on the people most affected by climate change such as smallholder farmers who toil on marginal or rain fed lands. The WGs have previously addressed the position of such people:

“The IPCC report shows climate change as a reality  that’s not going to go away for poor small farmers in developing countries; they are often the hardest hit with the least capacity to adapt,” says Elwyn Grainger Jones, Director of Environment and Climate Change at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The 5th assessment report comprises  3 working group reports (WGs) which were launched in 2013-14. These previous instalments  have highlighted the struggles of 2 billion rural people to cope with a more variable climate and more frequent disasters . The synthesis report (SYR), aims  to integrate and synthesise all data within the WGs to form a comprehensive view of the causes, predictions,  and potential crises of climate change.

Jones went on to say that “As small farmers in developing countries are among the most affected by climate change the time to adapt cannot be delayed. IFAD’s new Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Program (ASAP) is now the largest global initiative dedicated to supporting smallholder farmers make the investments needed to protect cultivated lands from the impacts of climate change.”
The SYR will not only increase awareness of emerging threats but hopefully influence practicable action in addressing such issues.  The models outlined in the report are the most detailed analyses that exist on the status of climate change; and its authors express overwhelming consensus  that something needs to be done now rather than at a future date.

What: Synthesis report opening ceremony

When: 31 October 2014

IPCC Website: http://www.ipcc.ch/