80 countries underline importance ‘The Hague Roadmap for Action’

Ministers from 80 countries underlined the importance of the "The Hague Roadmap for Action" at It’s Down 2 Earth, the international conference on agriculture, food security and climate change. This plan is a roadmap towards climate smart agriculture. The Netherlands has vowed to make sure that the actions in this roadmap will stay on the international agenda. Minister Bleker for Agriculture and Foreign Trade is very pleased with the results. "This is not just an intention. This is a task the ministers have put upon themselves."

How are we going to feed 9 billion people in 2050? How are we going to make sure that agriculture becomes a carbon sink instead of a carbon emitter? How are we going to make agriculture climate change resiliant? These were some of the questions financial institutions, scientists and ministers of agriculture spoke about at the conference. But also high profile guests like HRH Prince Willem-Alexander, HRH Princess Maxima, The Prince of Wales, Kofi Anan and Andrew Steer (World Bank) gave their vision on these matters. The outcome of these talks is the The Hague Roadmap for Action.

At this unique gathering, this roadmap started to achieve the ‘triple win’ of improving agricultural productivity and food security, helping to address climate change, and improving the lives an livelihoods of rural populations that live in poverty. The roadmap is a living process and document. It contains a list of actions that countries and organizations should take to stimulate this new and climate smart agriculture so more people can be fed and less carbon is emitted. The countries have given their commitment towards these actions. The conference is only the starting point. Other stakeholders can sign in to initiatives in the list or broaden the activity.

The Netherlands has vowed to make sure these actions stay on the international agenda. Minister Bleker: “I will make sure that climate smart agriculture that can feed more people and is better for the environment will stay on the agenda. I will present the ‘The Hague Action Plan’ myself at the climate conference in Cancun, Mexico."

Agriculture has not been on the political agenda for decades in many organisations or countries as a vital part of the economy or as a base for food security. Only recent it is known that agriculture offers a chance to help reduce the emissions of greenhouse gasses. Worldwide there are about 2,2 billion farmers. They will have to feed 9 billion people in 2050. The lack of attention for agriculture has lead to lower yields, lack of knowledge and fewer investments. Poverty is common for smallholder farms in many developing countries.

To keep up with a growing global population in order to feed the growing amounts of people in a climate smart way, the 80 countries, financials like the World Bank, Civil Society Organisations and scientists have come up with a range of solutions. To finance these solutions many possibilities have been looked at. The market in carbon credits is also promising. This way, farmers can have extra income by making their land actual carbon sinks while having higher yields at the same time. During the conference the World Bank, the Rockefeller Foundation and the ministry of Economic Affairs of The Netherlands have signed commitments towards existing projects for a total amount of 2 million euro. And this is just the beginning. Many contacts were made to start a large amount of climate smart projects all over the world.

After The Hague, agriculture, food security and climate change will be back on the political agenda in many countries.