Voices on Land Use at Climate Conference

By Oliver Mundy
The UN systems side event "Climate action for food security: harvesting adaptation and mitigation benefits in the land sector" was jointly organized by IFAD, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UNESCO, UN Women, WFP and FAO. 
Martin Frick from United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) moderated the panel discussion and underlined that agriculture is always amongst the sectors that are the most effected by climate change. 
The Political Perspective:
Climate-resilient agriculture is a topic Mr. Tekini Nakidakida from the Fijian Ministry of Agriculture wants to see discussed at the climate summit in Bonn. Fiji's agriculture is especially hard hit by cyclones and dry spells. Climate-resilient agriculture is needed to restore marginal lands, fight erosion and prevent pests and diseases. 
The Youth Perspective: 
"Young people are very innovative", stated Mr. Divine Ntiokam from the Climate-Smart Agriculture Youth Network. He sees youth as an integral part of sustainable development. They offer solutions, but need to be involved in decision making at all levels. Divine is one of six youth representatives from the network IFAD partnered with to participate at UNFCCC COP23. 
The Indigenous Peoples' Perspective:
"Land and forests are our supermarkets," said Ms. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, an indigenous leader from Chad. She sees land rights as crucial to overcome climate change. Communities that have secure land rights have more sovereignty. This encourages them to invest more in their land leading to greater food security. She urges UN agencies to work together on land, agriculture and climate change and pointed to FAO's voluntary guidelines on land tenure. 
The Women's Perspective:
Ms. Katia Araujo of the Landesa Rural Development Institute highlighted the importance of land rights for rural women. By strengthening these women can play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation in the agricultural sector. International policies and frameworks on land tenure have to take gender into account. 
The Finance Perspective:
Mr. Juan Chang from the Green Climate Fund looked optimistically towards current investments from the fund in land with regards to mitigation and adaptation measures. Currently, the Green Climate Fund has approved US$2.6 billion in projects of which US$1 billon is directly related to the land sector. Yet, results on the ground have to be seen because the release of funds only started two years ago. 
The Research Perspective:
Dr. A.K.M. Saiful Islam, Professor at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology presented some insights of their climate and crop models for Bangladesh. He described the country as more vulnerable to floods and increased salinity due to sea level rise. Yields for some of the main rice varieties grown in Bangladesh will decrease. He urged for urgent action to be taken to reach the 2 °C warming target.