Agroecology & Food Systems

Photographs Courtesy of Bread for the World

Photographs Courtesy of Bread for the World


Agriculture is a complicated part of the global climate response. The Paris Agreement Preamble recognizes “the fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and ending hunger,” and strengthening the resilience of agricultural systems will be a key component of adaptation. Parties  with low historical emissions may even need to increase agriculture-sector emissions in the near-term to ensure food security. Agriculture is at present a major contributor to net global emissions, but only part of those emissions is attributable to production systems. Emissions are also embedded in the long-distance commodity supply chains that define the modern agro-industrial system, and consumption patterns that are surplus to food security needs. Diet change, particularly through reducing demand for meat or animal products  in wealthier countries, should be an essential component of the climate response.  

CLARA members have focused on shifts in the agro-industrial food system -- shifting toward agroecology, that strengthens resilience, avoids emissions and empowers smallholder farmers; and shifting away from the huge emissions footprint associated with the meat and livestock sectors. CLARA also focuses on nitrogen fertilizers’ contribution to emissions, plus food waste and inefficiencies in long-distance supply chains. 

CLARA members are also concerned about the promotion of agricultural practices that require high levels of inputs but have only modest, and potentially reversible, carbon sequestration benefits. Rural and peasant movements throughout the globe question ‘climate-smart’ agriculture approaches that just tinker around the edges of the industrial production model. CLARA members support use of a “food sovereignty” lens that prioritizes the needs and interests of small-scale food producers, who provide the majority of the world’s food. 

At UNFCCC negotiations, CLARA members closely follow developments, advise negotiators and make official submissions under the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA). Through a series of upcoming negotiations and workshops, governments will assess technical aspects as well as socio-economic considerations around a number of different topics and strategies in agriculture (for example soils, nutrient use and livestock production) and agree outcomes or recommendations based on those discussions.

CLARA member links: