COP28: A Farmer-Driven Approach Is Needed to Course-Correct Climate Action

21 November 2023

COP28: A Farmer-Driven Approach Is Needed to Course-Correct Climate Action

The UNFCCC Farmers’ Constituency represents farmers of all sizes, geographies and demographics, in all their diversity striving to produce food, fibre and energy for all, contributing their unique experiences and solutions to the global effort to tackle climate change whilst ensuring food security (1). Farmers are on the frontline of climate change and an integral part of the global climate solution. Their participation in the UNFCCC process is instrumental in raising global climate ambition and realising the potential of agriculture including livestock systems for mitigation and adaptation.

At COP28 we wish to see a full recognition of the important role of farmers in addressing and responding to climate change (2) and a greater consideration of our priorities in all decisions that impact us. The Farmers’ Constituency is ready to work with Parties and other stakeholders to pursue the following objectives:


A clear roadmap for the Sharm el-Sheikh Joint Work on Implementation of Climate Action on Agriculture and Food Security.

We reaffirm our support for the four-year initiative, with the expectation that it will progress from negotiations to delivery. We emphasize the need for Parties to finalise and implement the roadmap in a timely manner so efforts can shift to practically helping farmers adapt, improve resilience, reduce GHG emissions and maintain and sequester additional carbon at scale. Farmers' know-how and traditional techniques as well as context-relevant research and innovation and tailor-made capacity building are key elements in the conception and implementation of programs for adaptation and mitigation. To justify the establishment of a permanent body for agriculture, we believe we must see the current, and previous, joint work deliver outcomes.

Agriculture and farmer-driven solutions enabled through the Global Stock Take (GST).

The GST must provide clear guidance to Parties on raising credible ambition and action for agriculture through active engagement of farmers in the definition of goals and objectives, including NDCs and NAPs. Government commitments must be achievable and quantifiable with clear pathways to meet the targets. They must take into account the wider needs and contributions of agriculture, protection of farmers' rights, particularly of women and youth, the well-being of rural communities, the unique biological nature of farms and the fundamental priority of food production. Bottom-up, science-based and outcomes-focused solutions already exist and can deliver multiple co-benefits; scale-up and uptake should be accelerated globally.

Climate Finance empowering farmers and the agricultural sector.

According to the most recent data, agrifood systems receive only a small fraction (4.3% in 2019/2020 (3)) of global climate finance, with an even smaller fraction going to agricultural production (less than 2.5%, with 1.7% reaching smallholder farmers (4). Furthermore, with the large majority of public climate finance coming as loans (72%), the risk of overindebtetness increases, especially in a context where climate  change affects productivity (5). This is unjust. Climate finance must deliver for all farmers by involving them directly in designing climate programmes and targeting them and their organized structures, such as farmers organisations and cooperatives, as direct recipients of funds where appropriate. Securing adequate climate finance for farmers, ensuring it is accessible to everyone and especially women and youth, is crucial to achieve a just transition towards more resilient, equitable and inclusive agrifood systems and create an environment where youth see agriculture as an attractive career path. We are ready to contribute to the establishment of a new goal on climate finance addressing the need to unlock new and inclusive resources, including doubling adaptation finance, and envisaging transparent report mechanisms on pledges.

Farmers prioritised in the allocation of Loss & Damage (L&D) finance.

Farmers around the world experience losses and damages due to climate change, especially in low and lower-middle income countries, where the agricultural sectors accounted for 26% of total L&D in 2008-2018, with agriculture absorbing 82% of drought-related L&D. Considering the limited availability of data, especially in rural areas in developing countries and the negative impact of slow on set processes, this is probably an underestimation and losses and damages are due to increase. The Transitional Committee should ensure that support packages and contingency plans reflect the needs of and include direct access for farmers and their organized structures. It is crucial to ensure alignment between discussions at COP28 with international processes such as the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction.

Global carbon markets working with, and not against, farm systems.

To maximise opportunities and avoid risks, it is critical that carbon markets, including those developed through Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, put the needs of farmers and rural communities at the heart of policy design, strengthening, rather than weakening, their position within the value chain.

Climate adaptation and mitigation policies integrated in the agriculture sector.

A holistic policy approach should ensure that as farmers reduce agricultural emissions, the climate resilience of their farms also increases. Policies designed to support long-term emissions reduction objectives should take care to minimize any short-term negative impacts for farmers, for example, enabling farmers to benefit from renewable energy opportunities whilst minimizing the impacts of energy infrastructure on productive land. All climate policies must enhance farmers’ ability to face the threats of climate change, while also sustainably and profitably feeding a growing global population. Farms do not operate in silos, and any policies that impact farmers should, therefore also not take a silo-based approach.

Greater transparency and better understanding of the agriculture sector’s climate impact and potential solutions it can provide.

Farmers cannot adequately manage what we cannot measure and need access to accurate data. Farms are complex biological systems that do not fit into many models. Emissions inventories designed to account for long-lived industrial emissions often fail to accurately estimate the climate impact of farms with short and long-lived biogenic emissions and numerous carbon sinks. Much of the hard work currently being undertaken by farmers is not being accounted for in models and inventories. A fair compensation for farmers and full transparency on the use and ownership of the data is essential to build trust among stakeholders and speed up the data collection process.


1 - The Farmers’ Constituency represents crop and livestock farmers, horticultural growers, pastoralists, foresters, ranchers, aqua-culturists, farmers organisations and co-operatives, farm workers, family farmers and businesses, women farmers, young farmers, indigenous farmers, landowners, and tenants, in all their diversity producing food, fibre and energy, from smallholder farmers to those managing large areas of land and including agricultural and other NGOs supporting farmers on the ground.
2 - The COP26 and COP27 Cover Notes recognized the role of “indigenous peoples, local communities, [cities, added last year] and civil society, including youth and children” but significantly omitted a reference to farmers.
3 - CPI 2023. Landscape of Climate Finance for Agrifood Systems. Climate Policy Initiative.
4 - CPI, 2020. Examining the Climate Finance Gap for Small-Scale Agriculture. Climate Policy Initiative

5 - ActionAid. 2023. The Vicious Cycle: Connection Between the Debt Crisis and Climate Crisis.

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