Pivotal UN Special Report Calls For More Sustainable Land Use Practices

By Nick Wynn | Contributing Writer

The United Nation’s Intergovernmantal Panel on Climate Change has issued a landmark Special Report on Climate Change and Land  (https://www.ipcc.ch/report/srccl/). Authored by the combined effort of 107 climate experts from 52 countries, the report characterizes and quantifies the impact of our global land use on climate change, including its effect on food security. Further, it explores avenues for making our land use more sustainable, and declares the use of land by humanity to be both a part of the problem and a source of solutions.

The report highlights many ways in which we can work toward more sustainable land management and poverty eradication. These include:

  • Improving access to markets and securing land tenure so that emerging and smaller farmers (especially those with aspirations for eco-responsible land use) can find success
  • Factoring environmental costs into food. For example, greenhouse gas emissions from beef production far outweigh emissions from other proteins like chicken, salmon, and cod
  • Making payments for ecosystem services, such as farmers implementing responsible practices or reforestation in exchange for financial incentives from governmental bodies, community initiatives, or NGOs
  • Enhancing local and community collective action

Juliette Majot, president of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), wrote an article for Common Dreams, in response to the IPCC special report, addressing the need to replace the massive industrialized agricultural systems found in developed countries. Majot argues these systems are run by large agribusiness corporations with far-reaching power and goals which are not conducive to sustainable land use practices. Highly problematic is the influence corporate agribusiness has “to manipulate markets, drive consumer demand, and influence everything from our food safety regulatory system to the rules laid down in international trade agreements.”(1)

Majot calls for us to “replace our current large-scale industrialized systems of agriculture and food production with those based on agroecological and regenerative practices.”  The pathway to this transformation lies in achieving “widespread public understanding of the productive, environmental, and economic legitimacy of these systems; invest heavily in them, in the farmers designing them and in the rural communities in which they prosper; and reawaken ourselves to the cultural and societal significance of our agriculture and food systems.”

(1) Landmark Un Report Emphasizes Crucial Role Of Regenerative Farming Practices To Address Climate and Food Emergencies | Juliette Majot  | August 9, 2019 | Common Dreams

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