On Wednesday, December 12th, 2018, Shumei International co-hosted an official side event, Speed Up the Cool Down: Scaling Up Regenerative Solutions to Climate Change, at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland in partnership with Biovision, International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), and Regeneration International. The event put a spotlight on the potential to reverse climate change and cool the planet by drawing down CO2 from the atmosphere into the soil through natural and regenerative agriculture. The panel provided several examples of concrete, “shovel-ready” solutions and frameworks to accelerate carbon sequestration, food sovereignty and biodiversity preservation in different regions of the world.
The session was moderated by Precious Phiri, Founding Director of Earth Wisdom Consulting Co., Zimbabwe, and the speakers included: Shamika Mone, Treasurer and Managing Committee member of Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI); Mercedes López Martinez, Director of Via Organica, Mexico; Andre Léu, International Director of Regeneration International, Australia and Hans Herren, President of Biovision, Switzerland.
Shumei International representative Barbara Hachipuka Banda, Founder and Director of the Natural Agriculture Development in Zambia, spoke on behalf of the African farmer. “The reason I want to focus on the African farmer is because we are overlooked,” she said. “However, in this Natural Agriculture Development Program, the community is the project and the project is the community.”
Barbara noted the effectiveness of the cooperative model in helping thousands of rural smallholder farmers to accumulate their produce as a group, and to then process, package and sell their produce to supermarkets. This also supported their transition to zero-input natural agriculture that allowed them to save their seeds, increase yields, eliminate reliance on costly inputs and improve their soil health and resilience. She noted that what they need now to scale up are partnerships to help train more farmers and educate them about carbon markets and how to utilize data and science in the African rural context so that they can join in the fight against climate change.
She closed by saying, “The most important thing is to have the partnerships and the infrastructure to grow this project to the larger numbers, because Africa has tremendous potential in landmass and population and if you can get more and more communities practicing this type of agriculture, you can make a dent in carbon sequestration to reverse climate change.”
The soil is our second largest carbon sink. COP 24 Katowice was the first UN Climate Change Conference where such a strong emphasis was placed on the potential of the soil and sustainable agriculture as a key factor in mitigation. Through the UNFCCC Koronivia process for joint work on Agriculture, climate change experts and policymakers are now exploring efforts to improve soil carbon to create more sustainable and resilient agricultural systems to fight climate change. This is the solution under our feet. Shumei is committed to working with partner organizations to scale up activities to accelerate the potential of healthy soil so that we can feed the world without increasing land use, protect biodiversity and save the planet at the same time.
Watch the UNFCCC Webcast of the side event here
Read the IISD recap of the entire session here
Join the conversation by following #speedupthecooldown on Twitter
Learn more in Visions of the Living Soil