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IICA to provide input on climate change and agriculture at next UNFCCC COP 18

March 16th, 2012

The Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres, stated that the upcoming negotiations on a legal framework to replace the Kyoto Protocol will provide the agricultural sectors of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean with the best opportunity ever to make their voices heard.

San Jose, March 7, 2012 (IICA). In response to an appeal from the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) will begin immediately to systematize the knowledge and experience it has accumulated over the years regarding the preservation of natural resources and the adaptation of agriculture to climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean.

At a technical forum organized by IICA, the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres, said that the time has come for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to get involved in the negotiations aimed at finding ways to mitigate the effects of and adapt to climate change.

At the most recent Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP17), the highest level body of the Convention, held in Durban, South Africa, in 2011, the need to include the topic of agriculture in negotiations intended to slow the release of greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere was recognized for the first time, given the fact that the sector contributes to and is heavily affected by climate change.

Victor M. Villalobos, Director General of IICA, stated that traditional agriculture must give way to more modern agriculture, in which natural resources are converted into food using more and sustainable methods, despite a growing scarcity of water and the increased occurrence of adverse climatic events.

“IICA believes that agriculture can be made more productive and competitive by introducing technological and other innovations, and by again applying techniques our producers have used for decades,” he said.

This shift to modern agriculture will also require the sustainable management of natural resources, especially agro-biodiversity, soil, water and forests; the incorporation of the rural-area based approach into the development strategies of nations; and the creation of value chains and markets that operate more fairly and will make it possible to increase the contribution of agriculture to food security around the globe.

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