Enhancing NDC ambitions with mitigation in the agriculture sector

Partner Funded

Many countries have started developing enhanced national climate plans and revising their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. Countries are requested to submit the next round of NDCs (new NDCs or updated NDCs) by 2020 and every five years thereafter (e.g. by 2020, 2025, 2030). The development of these enhanced NDCs, and the international process that lays the groundwork for them, present a valuable opportunity to highlight the critical role agriculture plays in reducing emissions, and where it can strengthen action while ensuring food security. Countries are also invited to communicate mid-century “long-term low GHG emission development strategies” by 2020; these strategies help set the context for countries’ NDC enhancement. 

NDCs are an important lever to foster productive, resilient, and inclusive farming practices, to keep the global temperature rise to 1.5°C. They can help increase support for adaptation, build the resilience of small-scale and vulnerable farmers, reduce emissions in the agriculture sector, integrate climate with other sustainable development objectives, and attract investment and support. 

The CCAC Agriculture Initiative works with countries to identify increasingly ambitious actions, policies and targets across the food system. By prioritizing enhanced food security and livelihoods, we demonstrate solutions to reduce short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) that deliver quick results and multiple benefits for farmers, the climate and air quality. 

Why this work is important

Climate change is already directly and indirectly impacting food production in many parts of the world, causing crop losses, disrupting growing cycles and dwindling employment opportunities. These impacts are likely to become increasingly severe by 2030 and beyond, placing global food security and the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people at risk. 

Agricultural SLCP emissions are expected to rise fastest in developing countries due to increased agricultural productivity to meet food demand and reduce hunger and poverty. However, there is a clear need to balance emissions reductions with agriculture productivity and food security as close to 800 million people in rural areas – or 78 percent of the world’s poorest and most food insecure people – rely on agriculture for their lives and livelihoods. Smallholder and women farmers often lack voice and power within global agricultural value chains, meaning the implementation of measures to reduce SLCP emissions from agricultural production must consider these broader inequalities, and be a priority for governments and businesses. Agricultural SLCP reduction measures must also be coupled with efforts to tackle demand-side SLCP emissions driven by diets and consumption, and food waste, loss and disposal. 

Although more than 90 percent of current NDCs mention agriculture in some way, the 2020 and future rounds of NDC revisions and updates presents an opportunity to fully seize the opportunities available in the agriculture sector. This means countries need to be more explicit about the actions and investments they intend to make, what it will take to achieve those changes, and, if applicable, what support is needed.