Virtual chat held on how to increase the impact of the agri-food sector on climate change public policies

Various countries, 9 September 2021 - The focus on inter-institutional articulation, the inclusion of vulnerable groups and a strategic approach are key. The Chat on successful Experiences:

How to increase the impact of the agri-food sector on public policies for climate change brought together 52 key actors from the agricultural sector together with three panellists who presented successful experiences in promoting the importance of the agricultural sector in the Nationally Determined Contributions in Panama, Guatemala and Bolivia. The discussion is part of the EUROCLIMA+ programme's actions in the agricultural sector and the panellists represent best practices of the projects funded in the sector. 

In Latin America, the agricultural sector contributes to food security, poverty eradication, job creation and other socio-economic variables that define the well-being and livelihoods of countries. However, changes in distribution and the adverse effects of extreme weather events, such as crop failures, loss of employment in value chains, lack of food security and health problems, threaten this balance. In turn, in the region, the agricultural sector is contributing to global warming with 25% of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Without a doubt, a resilient and low-carbon emissions agriculture sector is more important than ever. To a large extent, this depends on the successful development and implementation of climate change policies that facilitate the achievement of the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. The ultimate goal is to support the necessary transformation of the sector. In this scenario, the discussion on Successful experiences: How to increase the impact of the agri-food sector on public policies for climate change has aimed to share the experience of the cases of three key actors of the EUROCLIMA+ programme in the agricultural sector in Panama, Guatemala and Bolivia, who managed to promote the importance of the sector in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of their countries. 

Focus on inter-institutional articulation in Panama

Manuel Pitre, national specialist in Technology and Innovation and Rural Development at the office of the representation of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in Panama, presented the case of the National Climate Change Plan for the Agricultural Sector of Panama 2018-2030 (PNCCSA). The design of this plan was a participatory process carried out jointly by multiple public and private stakeholders over four years. The PNCCSA document is now recognised by the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment. A direct result of the plan is that its targets were included in the 2020 updates of Panama's NDC to the Paris Agreement. With the first funding derived from the plan, the public sector has been able to invest the resources to start implementing the PNCCSA strategies through its plans and projects. 

Capacity building of public institutions to implement the National Climate Change Plan in the sector is part of the actions of the project "Support to the Formulation of Appropriat Mitigation Actions in Central American Agriculture" and was presented as a EUROCLIMA + Green Solution at the Regional Meeting EUROCLIMA+ Green Solutions for Latin America in May 2021.


    Panama proceso IICA                                                           

                                                                                         Cooperation process of Panama


Focus on the inclusion of vulnerable groups in Guatemala 

Public policies should benefit the community as a whole and be oriented above all towards the most vulnerable sectors. In this regard, Juan Cusanero Elías, agroecology and environment specialist from the Sotz'il Association of Guatemala, shared the experience of the participation of indigenous peoples in the updating of Guatemala's NDC. 

The Sotz'il Association, which implements the project "Strengthening indigenous systems for sustainable food production as resilient measures to climate change in Central America", achieved a process of analysis and discussion with indigenous organisations on the contributions and ancestral knowledge in the sectors of adaptation and mitigation that can contribute to the country’s NDC. 

In this way, indigenous leaders received an orientation on concepts, approaches and strategies of indigenous negotiators, and indigenous agro-food models are aligned to the NDCs. 

Cusanero also explained the challenges in continuing this process of inclusion and empowerment of indigenous organisations on NDCs, which include: maintaining training, institutionalising indigenous contributions in NDCs, formulating indigenous adaptation and mitigation indicators for NDCs, and giving visibility to the contribution of indigenous peoples in official reports.


    Paisaje Guatemala                                                           

                                                                             Landscape in Guatemala, presentation of Juan Cusanero, Sotz'il

Focus on a strategic approach in Bolivia

Martin Morales is coordinator of the project "Promoting the Heritage of Our Ancestors: Resilient Production, Marketing and Consumption of Cañahua and Tarwi" for Swisscontact in Bolivia. During his intervention, he recapitulated the lessons learned in the process of influencing regulations and public policies that, in Bolivia, have given value to traditional foods such as cañahua, tarwi, and amaranth, which are now known as "superfoods" due to their high nutritional value. 

Among the lessons learned, he highlighted the need for a systemic strategy to position the idea in order to optimise time, ensure interaction between public and private actors to consolidate public policy proposals, achieve their approval and, above all, make them operational, while setting aside political interests. On the other hand, international cooperation and national support agencies can provide adequate advice on the construction, presentation, and implementation of policies. On the other hand, raising awareness of the importance of food production can ensure its sustainability in the future. Finally, Morales pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic has repositioned the importance of the production of foods with high nutritional value, the "superfoods", which has favoured the focus on prioritised ancestral crops.

Based on the inputs per country, panellists and participants gathered around three working tables to reflect on the enabling conditions to be considered and specific cross-cutting actions to strengthen the impact of the agri-food sector on public policies in Latin America. 

Among the final recommendations, the following stand out:

  • Develop long-term planned state public policies, with measurable, relevant, and achievable goals and impacts.
  • Monitor these long-term policies from the operational, financial, and technical points of view, with indicators grounded in the context of the different beneficiaries of the sector. 
  • At the same time, manage the funds and resources needed to implement the policies in the short term. 
  • Design public policies in a participatory and inclusive manner, reflecting the reality of the sector, from small and medium-sized producers to large agribusiness, overcoming the challenge that different actors have opposing and even conflicting interests.
  • In this regard, prior mapping of the actors is indispensable for deciding on the scope of the necessary policy or policies. 
  • Ensure the acceptance of public policies through the development of communication strategies starting from the formulation phase and accompanying them throughout the implementation cycle.
    Swisscontact presentacion                                                           

                                                                Presentation poster from Martin Morales Navia, Swisscontact

About the virtual chat series

This virtual chat was the third in a series of four events of the EUROCLIMA+ programme in the agricultural sector, which aims to promote dialogue between public and private actors, academia, trade unions and civil society. The topics focus on climate governance from four perspectives: gender equity in climate action; monitoring, reporting and transparency of NDC ambition; the impact of the agricultural sector on public policies on climate change; and financing climate action. The chats are aimed at implementers of subsidised projects in the sector and National or Sectoral Focal Points assigned to the programme, and they aim to promote the exchange of experiences in participatory formats and the systematization of lessons learned.

You can download the concept note of the EUROCLIMA+ RFP 2021 Chats Programme

Related Information 

Vídeo summary of the chat:

Case of Panama. Presentation of Manuel Pitre

Case of Guatemala. Presentation of Juan Cusanero 

Case of Bolivia. Presentation of Martín Morales

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