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Reducing emissions through African agriculture

This policy brief, published by the World Agroforestry Centre, calls on the international climate community and African negotiators to consider Africa's potential to contribute to reducing emissions from land-use change.

Presenting views from the Africa Biocarbon Initiative (ABI), the authors emphasise the high potential for agriculture, forestry and other land uses to help mitigate climate change while providing co-benefits to Africans. They say that more than a third of greenhouse gas emissions come from land-use and forestry sectors, with 10–12 per cent of these from agriculture.

Agriculture and deforestation are inextricably linked, especially in Africa, and about 70 per cent of agricultural emissions could be mitigated through activities in developing countries — but only forestry has featured in global mitigation strategies so far.

The ABI calls on the international community to incorporate agriculture and other land uses into any post 2012 climate change agreement by including reducing emissions from deforestation, forest degradation, forest conservation and afforestation (REDD+). Among other calls to action, it also asks that countries be supported in building capacity for mitigation activities, highlighting the need for technology transfer, and research and development.

The authors list issues that need further consideration by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, including monitoring, reporting and verification methods; permanence and leakage; accounting; specific mechanisms to include agriculture; and technological and institutional capacity.

To prepare Africa for climate negotiations in Copenhagen later this year, the authors call on African environment ministers to adopt a common position and develop a media campaign to build awareness. They also urge pan-African bodies to establish a framework for strengthening African negotiators' skills and scientific understanding.

Link to full policy brief from the World Agroforestry Centre[478kB]

This policy brief is also available in French[391kB]

This policy brief was prepared by researchers at the World Agroforestry Centre and the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins.