The Global Research Alliance
July 26th, 2011
More than 30 countries (including South Africa, Ghana, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK) have officially signed up to the New Zealand-led Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases at a Ministerial Summit in Rome last Friday (24 June). The Alliance – launched by New Zealand 18 months ago – brings together countries with a mutual interest in researching ways to produce more food while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The inaugural ministerial meeting was held to approve formally the “Charter”, or working methods, of the Alliance. Agriculture Minister David Carter led the New Zealand delegation while Tim Groser, International Climate Change Negotiations Minister chaired the meeting.
Mr Groser said member countries have responded to the Alliance as an important approach to some pressing global challenges: “Agriculture plays a vital role in food security, poverty reduction and> sustainable development. But the sector is especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change, as well as facing the challenge of increasing global food demand while reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. The reality is that globally, not enough research has been focused on reducing agricultural greenhouse gases, compared to other sectors such as energy and transport. The Alliance changes this. I am pleased that since New Zealand and 20 other countries launched the Alliance in Copenhagen, at least another dozen countries have joined our commitment to accelerate the international research effort.”
Mr Carter said the initial work of the Alliance’s Research Groups had already led to abetter understanding of agricultural mitigation research efforts in member countries, and to an increase in international co-operation: “We now have a good understanding of the emissions mitigation research priorities for livestock, cropping and paddy rice production systems – and clear work programmes to support these. It is exciting that New Zealand researchers are now connected to a network of scientists from over 30 countries, all focused on finding practical, on-farm solutions that will reduce agricultural emissions.”
Mr Carter also emphasized New Zealand’s significant investment in the Alliance, both through hosting of the Alliance secretariat and co-leadership of the Alliance’s Livestock Research Group, and through funding of emissions-mitigation research, particularly for pastoral livestock production systems.
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