Final Statement: Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Summit 16 January 2010
Agriculture and Climate Change – New Concept Proposals from Policymakers and Industry
The agriculture ministers that have assembled for the Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Summit 2010 note the following regarding the impact of climate change and the possibilities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture and regarding the adaptation of agriculture to the consequences of climate change:
- Farmers are affected particularly severely by the negative consequences of climate change, as production takes place both in nature and with nature. Desertification, water shortages, the loss of genetic resources, and the rise in extreme weather events such as droughts, storms and floods, lead to high harvesting losses, threaten the livelihood of millions of people – in particular small-scale farmers in developing countries – and threaten the achievement of the millennium goal of halving the proportion of the world population suffering from hunger by 2015.
- Sustainable production of food to secure an adequate supply of food throughout the world remains the central task in agriculture. Today, every seventh person suffers from hunger and poverty - one billion people do not have enough to eat. According to estimates by the UN, the global population will grow to over 9 billion people by 2050. Food output must therefore increase by at least 70 percent by the year 2050. Feeding people is the primary goal of agricultural production. The increase in production will cover all areas, not just staple foods such as bread wheat, rice, maize and potatoes. As prosperity increases, so will demand for dairy and meat products.
- Due to the depletion of fossil energy sources and to the rising prices being charged for this kind of energy, and in order to protect the climate, the agricultural sector is called upon to further increase the supply of sustainable resources.
- Our natural resources such as soil and water are finite. Due to urbanisation and the development of infrastructure, large areas of land are no longer available for agricultural use, and this is a trend that will continue. It is also feared that global warming will mean that the amount of productive agricultural land lost in dry regions, due to the land turning into steppe or desert, proves to be greater than the amount of new farming land that can be gained in cold regions.
- Agricultural production inevitably results in greenhouse gas emissions. An expansion of agricultural production will, therefore, also lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, stemming above all from animal production.
Outcome of the Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Summit 2010 in Berlin on 16 January 2010
The agriculture ministers are aware of their responsibility to ensure that there is an adequate food supply for a growing global population, and want to contribute towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to adapting agriculture to the consequences of climate change:
I. Sustainability through climate-efficient farming!
Confronting climate change, and achieving the necessary increase in production, will only be possible through sustainable development. The agricultural sector is facing the daunting challenge of having to considerably increase high-quality production on available land and at the same time limit greenhouse gas emissions.
Production must therefore be optimised so that fewer greenhouse gases are emitted, and less water is used, per unit produced (e.g. per tonne of grain, kilogramme of meat, litre of milk). Farmers must therefore be provided with corresponding training and counselling, and with modern technology and production methods, to enable them to apply the necessary exemplary farm management on all agricultural land.
Technical progress in breeding and agricultural engineering, in particular regarding energy consumption, fertilisation, water management and access to site-specific seed and planting materials, must be made available globally. Losses due to plant and animal diseases are to be minimised, as are post-harvest food losses and food waste. The cascade use of biomass, e.g. via material use and subsequent energy use, must be pressed ahead with. Genetic resources must also be protected throughout the world. The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture conducts important work in this regard. Low-input agriculture, using inputs from local resources, makes a contribution to global food security and to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
II. Support renewable energies and carbon storage in soil!
By providing renewable resources and storing organically bound carbon in soils, the agricultural sector can make an effective contribution towards protecting the climate and towards providing sustainable energy. What is needed in this regard is the site-specific application and support of Good Agricultural Practice as part of sustainable land management. Innovative projects for enriching and storing carbon in soils should be targeted for support. This would provide an opportunity for developing and using climate-efficient technologies in land management.
III. Expand research, extension services and technology transfer!
Considerable effort, in particular increased support and international networking in agricultural research, will still be required to make the necessary adaptations to climate change and to disseminate practices to limit greenhouse gases generated by agriculture. Relevant results must be implemented quickly and made available to the general public. Education, Training and advising farmers must be intensified as must national and international exchanges of experience, technology transfer, and the dissemination of know-how and systems that provide early warning of extreme weather events.
IV. Support farming – feed the world!
Ensuring an adequate food supply, limiting greenhouse gas emissions via climate-efficient and sustainable agricultural production on all available land, and adapting farming to climate change are fundamental goals which are in the interest of all of mankind. The resources required to achieve this must be used in a targeted and coordinated manner so that these goals can be attained quickly and the right to adequate food, a right which was endorsed by the Global Food Summit 2009, can be invoked by the entire global population. As part of the Global Partnership for Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition, the FAO Committee on World Food Security should be called upon to address in the near future the issue of how agriculture can contribute to ensuring food security and at the same time to combating climate change. The High-Level Panel for Experts for the Committee for Food Security should be commissioned this year to carry out a study on this subject.
It is recommended to the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that a Programme of Work on Agriculture should be drawn up in order to improve the climate efficiency of production in this sector and the adaptation to climate change without neglecting global food security.
The Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Summit 2010 brought together ministers from:
The Republic of Azerbaijan, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, the Republic of Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, the People’s Republic of China, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Finland, the French Republic, the Republic of Iraq, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of the Congo, Kosovo*, the Republic of Croatia, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, the Republic of Malawi, Mali, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the United Mexican States, the Republic of Moldova, Mongolia, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the Kingdom of Norway, the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Poland, the Portuguese Republic, Romania, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Zambia, the Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia, the Kingdom of Sweden, the Swiss Confederation, the Republic of Serbia, the Republic of Slovenia, the Slovak Republic, the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Swaziland, the United Republic of Tanzania, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Tunisia, Ukraine, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Uzbekistan and representatives of the FAO.
* (under Resolution 1244(1999) of the UN Security Council). Recognized by Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Fomer Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Norway, Poland , Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey as Republic of Kosovo.