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 29 nov 2018 11:50 

Small-scale farmers must be supported in the fight against climate change

The International Fair Trade Movement today called on the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to introduce transparent, fair and binding mechanisms for trade justice in order to achieve climate justice in their negotiations at COP24.

More than 500 million small-scale farms provide over 80 per cent of the food consumed in the Global South. They, along with rural workers, are among the groups most affected by the devastating impacts of climate change, but their voices are not being heard in climate change negotiations.

The International Fair Trade Movement strongly urges the Parties of the UNFCCC at COP24 to recognize fair trading policies and practices as an important component of climate mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Their joint Policy Paper, “Trade Justice: A key component of building smallholder farmers’ climate resilience”, outlines five concrete steps needed to urgently transform the global economic system so that it works for people and planet: transparency & binding regulation; financial support; farmer-focused training and technical expertise; investment into agronomical research; and tax justice.

Smallholder farmers are on the front line of climate change. They contribute to global food security and to their national economies, yet they are among the most vulnerable to climate change impacts. There is, therefore, an urgent need for large-scale action to support these farmers to confront the challenges of climate change” said Lannette Chiti, Senior Climate Change Advisor, Fairtrade International.

Erinch Sahan, Chief Executive of the World Fair Trade Organization, said: “The poorest are hit hardest by climate change, a problem they did not cause. Now they suffer through increasing crop failures, water shortages and natural disasters. As a community of enterprises that exist to serve these people, the WFTO calls on world leaders to embrace bold climate action. We, as 330 enterprises across 70 countries, remain steadfastly committed to our communities and we invite world leader to join us."

The environmental, economic and social impacts of climate change are jeopardizing the future of agricultural and artisanal supply chains. Smallholder producers in conventional world trade suffer from the volatility of prices and unfair trading practices. The Fair Trade movement promotes a fairer model of trade, which encourages sustainable production and consumption. A recent study on coffee and climate change by Le BASIC has shown that fair trading practices improve producers’ livelihoods by ensuring they receive a higher share of the value created in the supply chain, helping to significantly mitigate environmental and societal costs borne by producer communities in the Global South. Trade justice is, therefore, a vital step towards achieving climate justice; prioritizing the needs of small-scale farmers and taking into account their increased vulnerabilities.

However, Fair Trade alone cannot meet the scale of the challenges posed by climate change and the inequality in value chains; the current global economic system urgently needs to be transformed.

The sustainability of agricultural supply chains is seriously at risk. Fair Trade alone is not sufficient to fight climate change, but fair trading practices and sustainable prices for farmers are must-have conditions to enable farmers’ resilience to climate change” said Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office.

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