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Issue #1787      July 26, 2017

Culture & Life

The State of Food and Agriculture

Over 1,000 delegates gathered in Rome July 3-8 to attend the 40th Session of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) Conference with the theme of Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. A delegation of the South Centre attended the FAO conference which is held every two years. The Conference comprises plenary meetings, committee meetings and several side events on issues of climate change, biodiversity, water scarcity and conflict and migration among others. Below is the full statement of the G77 and China, delivered by Elias Eljuri Abraham, Permanent Representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

We appreciate the Secretariat’s presentation of the reference document on this agenda item, based on the State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) 2016 report, with the theme of “Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security.”

Climate change is described as one of the greatest challenges of our time in the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development which explicitly calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. As underscored in the SOFA report, unless action is taken now to make agriculture more sustainable, productive and resilient, the impacts of climate change will seriously compromise food production in regions that are already highly food insecure. Even though climate change affects world food security and agriculture production as a whole, its impacts are more strongly felt among poor and vulnerable populations of developing countries.

Developing countries are particularly at risk of declining yields as a result of climate change, according to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Indeed, lower productivity in agriculture resulting from climate change will have serious negative implications for livelihoods and food security, especially for smallholders and family farmers in rural areas.

In the implementation of the Paris Agreement, it is crucial to consider the particularities of agriculture and food systems for their contributions to safeguarding food security and ending hunger. The Agreement is a collective achievement of all parties. It aims to bolster the implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, in particular considering the common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances. Equity, human rights and the right to development are all interconnected and shall underpin our shared goals of combating climate change and eradicate hunger and poverty.

Developing countries are already making a significant contribution to the fight against climate change, even if constrained by limited capacity building, financial and technological support. One of the major challenges (if not the main one) faced by our group of countries in implementing the Paris Agreement is essentially about means of implementation.

To effectively implement our commitments under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, developing countries will require support from developed countries, including through the fulfilment of their commitments and obligations under the Convention related to the provision of financial resources, based on their responsibilities for historical emissions. We reiterate that economic and social development, poverty eradication, and adaptation to climate change and its co-benefits are the overriding priorities of developing countries in relation with the issue of climate change, agriculture and food security.

The SOFA report rightly pointed out that adequate climate financing and agricultural investments are essential to enable the transition to sustainable agricultural practices. A huge shortfall in financing and investments still needs to be filled, particularly to enable smallholder producers in developing countries to better access credit and other financing instruments for investing in new technologies and practices.

Efforts should continue to strengthen developing countries’ capacities to develop actions towards climate change, achieve food security and improve nutrition, including through international cooperation, such as South-South and Triangular cooperation and North-South cooperation.

Adequate, predictable and sustained finance, technology and capacity building must be ensured to assist developing country parties to enhance our climate actions.

Special attention must be given to women, who make up around 43 percent of the agricultural labour force in developing countries, with fewer endowments and entitlements than men, and with even more limited access to information and services, and gender-determined household responsibilities.

While we recognise that one area with a large potential for policy realignment is the redesign of agricultural support measures to facilitate, rather than impede, the transition to sustainable agriculture, we caution that such redesign should not lead to and be used as a justification to extend more trade-distortive support measures.

We concur that trade restrictions which limit the response of global agricultural production to changes in demand and supply under climate change should be in line with the Agenda 2030, in particular to promote a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organisation, including through the conclusion of negotiations under its Doha Development Agenda.

We consider that trade distortions that lead to over-exploitation of natural resources, including those contributing to climate change, should be eliminated. The WTO 11th Ministerial Conference offers an opportunity in this regard.

The fight against climate change is an irreversible and unavoidable process that is fully compatible with economic growth and sustainable development strategies as defined at national level, according to national capacities and circumstances. To collectively respond to this common challenge, new opportunities are rising to promote innovation and sustainable development, reconciling economic prosperity, social inclusion and environmental conservation.

The Group of 77 and China remain committed to fight climate change, recognising that its Member States have been the most affected by its adverse impacts which erode our development gains and undermine and delay the achievement of the goals contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The G77 & China endorse the recommended actions by the Conference in the reference document.

Thank you.

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