UNEP and ICRAF Call for Green Agricultural Practices

© UNEP24 July 2009: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), a research center of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), are calling for the widespread uptake of “green agricultural practices” that have the potential to combat climate change, contribute to poverty eradication, boost food production, and provide sustainable sources of timber.

According to UNEP, agriculture, deforestation and other forms of land use account for nearly one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, and agricultural and environmental experts agree that all forms of land use should be included in a post-Kyoto climate regime.

According to Dennis Garrity, Director General, ICRAF, if agroforestry is implemented over the next 50 years, it “could result in 50 billion tons of carbon dioxide being removed from the atmosphere, about a third of the world's total carbon reduction challenge.” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that a billion hectares of developing country farmland is suitable for conversion to carbon agroforestry projects.

ICRAF and UNEP are partnering in a project to provide the basis for widespread adoption of agroforestry and other sustainable forms of agriculture. The Carbon Benefits Project, launched in May 2009, is developing a standard and reliable method for accurately measuring, monitoring, reporting and projecting how much carbon each kind of land use is storing. This global project makes use of the latest remote sensing technology and analysis, soil carbon modelling, ground-based measurements and statistical analysis. Garrity noted that, if nations agree to a scheme for reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD) in Copenhagen, the work of the Carbon Benefits Project will provide a more credible basis for smallholders to receive payments for conserving forests, practicing conservation agriculture and increasing tree cover on their farms that sequesters carbon. [UNEP Press Release]