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Climate change deal in Warsaw is critical for smallholders, says IFAD

Rome. November 8, 2013 – Climate change is exacting a heavy price in developing countries. Smallholder farmers in developing countries are most vulnerable to climate change, so they most need a deal on climate change in Warsaw; yet their voices are not being heard in the UNFCCC process, says International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The estimates are frightening: 49 million more people at risk of hunger by 2020 and 132 million by 2050; each one degree rise in temperature will cause a 25% increase in food prices. In Africa 75 to 250 million people will be exposed to water stress by 2020.

Climate change makes poverty reduction more expensive and left unchecked will undermine achievements made to reach the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“Half-measures are not an option with climate change. Unless urgent action is taken, much of the progress towards the MDGs will be reversed,” says IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze. “We will see a loss of soil fertility, a reduction in animal health, increased famine, migration and conflicts over scarce resources.”

“We must now assess climate risks across landscapes and value chains before making investment and policy decisions. This can no longer be ignored.”

Agriculture and forestry together are one of the main greenhouse gas contributors – 17% and 14% in the forestry and agriculture sectors respectively. There is tremendous potential for sustainable agriculture that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. This requires the right incentives to motivate, support and benefit smallholders to develop climate-friendly natural resource management.

IFAD urges climate negotiators to move beyond their differences and agree an ambitious deal in Warsaw.

A credible and equitable deal should contain temperature increases to no more than 2 degrees, help create the right incentives for sustainable and low carbon agriculture. The deal must recognize the importance of climate change adaptation for the rural poor and vulnerable groups, and provide genuinely additional finance for climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries.

“The rural poor, small and large farmers must be part of the solution,” adds Nwanze. “IFAD stands ready to do more to support an ambitious outcome from the UNFCCC in Warsaw.”

Press release no: IFAD/52/2013

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes and determine the direction of their own lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested over US$15 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries through projects empowering more than 410 million people to break out of poverty, thereby helping to create vibrant rural communities. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome – the United Nations’ food and agriculture hub. It is a unique partnership of 172 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

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