COP28: Smallholder farmers demand climate justice

Basilia Isack Urassa. Photo: George Kamau

Today, 30 percent of the world's food is grown by smallholder farmers. A prosperous, secure, and sustainable planet is crucial for them to continue growing food for themselves and others. Unfortunately, we are now seeing increasingly how their conditions deteriorate due to climate change, shrinking biodiversity, and more frequent and severe natural disasters.

The agricultural sector accounts for approximately 22 percent of the world’s total emissions. It is the large conventional farms that contribute to the majority of these emissions. At the same time, many of the agricultural methods used by smallholder farmers, such as agroecological farming and organic farming, can contribute greatly to both the climate and biodiversity according to the IPCC’s sixth report from 2023.

– Agriculture can transition from being a major part of the climate problem to becoming a solution, but we must invest in farming methods that work in harmony with nature, as many smallholder farmers already do, says Sara Törnros, climate advisor at We Effect.

Overall, efforts for climate adaptation are underfunded and would need to increase by 5-10 times the current levels. Despite the proven benefits that smallholder farmers provide and the enormous potential they have to contribute to climate and environmental benefits, only 1.7 percent of climate adaptation financing has been allocated to smallholder farmers in low-income countries. That is far too little. Therefore, We Effect will demand the following before and during the upcoming COP28 climate summit:

  • Integrate the right to food into the global goal on climate adaptation.
  • Significantly increase financing for climate adaptation.
  • Wealthier countries to increase their contributions to climate financing and low-income countries plans for how the funds will be used.
  • Countries to seek common solutions for climate and food security.
  • Place greater emphasis on strengthening resilience and reducing risks from climate and natural hazard induced disasters.

Download our position paper and read.

Position paper

Smallholder Farmers Demand Climate Justice at the UN Climate Change Conference COP28