On 8th August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented the first major climate change report on the world’s terrestrial ecosystems. The results are alarming – and, from a climate research perspective, they clearly endorse the demands that Biovision has been making for years regarding food security and the preservation of our natural resources. Agriculture needs to change course, and this challenge is now more urgent than ever.
In its special report on land use, for the first time the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlights the key role of food production in the battle against climate change – the very area in which Biovision has worked for over 20 years. The IPCC also warns that climate change will threaten the existence of farmers around the Mediterranean and in Africa. If we fail to tackle our food systems swiftly, we will be too late to limit warming to 1.5 °C above that of the pre-industrial level. One key solution put forward by the IPCC is to disseminate the existing knowledge of sustainable farming methods within developing countries as quickly as possible. The report refers to the approach followed by Biovision for over 20 years in its science-based, practical cooperative development work in East Africa (link to EP).
Business as usual is not an option
Biovision’s Co-Founder and Foundation President, Hans Rudolf Herren, said “We welcome this report from the IPCC – even though it’s arriving a little late!”. The UN’s World Agriculture Report (IAASTD), co-chaired by Hans R. Herren, concluded as far back as 2008 that radical change was required in the agricultural sector in order to safeguard food security and preserve natural resources. The IPCC is not empowered to make recommendations but, reading between the lines, the call for the global food system to be converted to agroecology without further delay is clear. The media has interpreted it the same way, from the British Guardian to Le Matin in French-speaking Switzerland and the Tages-Anzeiger in Zurich. Hans R. Herren is quoted in the Tages-Anzeiger as follows: “We need to distance ourselves from an industrialised system that damages the climate and is based on very high inputs of chemical fertilisers, hybrid seeds, synthetic pesticides, etc., and move towards holistic, ecological agriculture”.
Consumers need to change their behaviour
As long as consumers also play their part (by reducing their consumption of meat, for example) the world’s population can be fed sustainably through agroecology. This was recently confirmed in a study carried out by the independent French IDDRI research institution. According to Hans R. Herren, winner of the “alternative Nobel prize” and a leading global expert on sustainable farming: “We have the solutions already; we just need to put them into practice … and we need to get on with it right now”.