Sweden signs sustainable agriculture and forestry initiatives at climate conference in Paris

Forests and agriculture were in the spotlight on 1 December at the COP21 climate conference. The Government has chosen to support two initiatives. The first aims to reduce deforestation, restore degraded forests and secure communities’ rights to sustainably use the forests they live and work in. The second initiative aims to improve the potential of agricultural land to contribute to food production and climate change efforts.

Within the framework of the 'Lima-Paris Action Agenda', Sweden signed two initiatives on 1 December on forestry and agriculture: the 'New York Forest Declaration' and the '4/1000 Initiative: Soils for Food Security and Climate'.HM King Carl XVI Gustaf is in Paris taking part in the high-level discussions.

The New York Forest Declaration has three priorities:

  • reducing global deforestation (which is also a target within the global sustainability goals);
  • restoring degraded forests and deforested areas; and
  • ensuring good management of the world's forests and allocating resources to support land rights.

Our ability to produce food in the future largely depends on how we are able to curb climate change and adapt to a changed climate. Agriculture and forestry play a key role in today's global society and are essential to welfare and development. Seventy per cent of the world's poor live in rural areas and the majority of these people are dependent on agriculture and forestry for their survival.

  • The '4/1000 Initiative: Soils for Food Security and Climate' focuses on increasing soil carbon storage in agricultural land by:
  • developing and stimulating practical measures that can be implemented at local level and that benefit the work of farmers and livestock keepers;
  • and encouraging cooperation, and knowledge and experience exchange, between various actors.

As the population rises around the world, Sweden needs strong and competitive agriculture and forestry sectors that can provide us with food and biomass produced using climate-smart and sustainable practices. Agriculture and forestry play a key role in our own transition to a bio-based economy and will make it possible to achieve the Government's vision of a fossil-free society. Minister for Rural Affairs Sven-Erik Bucht is very pleased that Sweden is supporting the two initiatives presented in Paris:

"It is very positive and relevant that agriculture and forests are in the spotlight at the climate change conference in Paris. A new global climate agreement is important for charting our long-term course and advancing climate adaptation around the world. Sweden is demonstrating leadership through action. Our forests are very beneficial for the climate and will lead us toward a fossil-free society and a growing bioeconomy."

Seventy per cent of Sweden is covered by forest. Forests are very beneficial for the climate by enabling us to replace fossil energy sources and energy-demanding materials, while also preserving high levels of carbon storage and safeguard biodiversity in the forest landscape.

"Globally, we are facing a difficult challenge to increase productivity, resource efficiency and resource use to feed and provide for a growing population. The pressure on our natural resources is rising, yet at the same time we must quickly change our agricultural and forestry practices and adapt to a new climate. To manage this, it is important to invest in research, capacity-building, efficiency measures and international cooperation in both agriculture and forestry," says Mr Bucht.

Sida is now supporting the creation of a new global fund aimed at ensuring community rights to land and natural resources among indigenous peoples and other population groups living in proximity to forests. The new fund is called the International Land and Forest Tenure Facility.