On 3 December 2014, the Gold Standard launched an ambitious Agriculture Programme to address the world’s third largest sector for greenhouse gas emissions. The ‘Agriculture Standard’ was developed by the Gold Standard with support from Hivos to benefit the voluntary carbon markets. The launch took place in Lima, Peru, during an official side event at the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP20) Climate Negotiations.
The Standard acts as a certification for efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the agricultural sector, while helping local communities develop in a sustainable manner. Hivos, Solidaridad and the Cool Farm Alliance all work together with the Gold Standard to evaluate the positive effects of projects on soils, emissions, sustainable development and the surrounding forests. The aim is to make the Gold Standard’s Agriculture Programme a useful tool for implementing zero-net deforestation commitments.
According to the Gold Standard, “The Agriculture Standard has an ambitious dual mandate: to achieve scale toward climate mitigation in one of the world’s most intensive greenhouse gas emitting sectors, and to empower smallholder farmers in adapting to climate change”.
Hivos has involved a range of its partners in developing the standard, such as agricultural producer organisations, civil society and knowledge institutes, to make it of practical use to smallholder farmers. Three pilot projects are being designed: in Nicaragua to certify emission reductions and development impact in coffee cooperatives; in Peru for the conversion of degraded rice fields into agroforestry systems (bananas, cocoa and timber trees); and in Indonesia and Kenya to certify the application of bio-slurry by small farmers.
Hivos and the Gold Standard presented the Agriculture Programme and how to put it into practice at a well-attended side event called “Landscapes, ecosystem services, and smallholders: putting crosscutting concepts into practice”.
Hivos is also co-hosting a seminar with IFOAM called “Making the case for organic farming and for a low external input: sustainable agriculture as climate-smart landscape solutions”. This will take place on 6 December at the Global Landscapes Forum, a side event outside of the COP that brings together thousands of negotiators, world leaders, researchers, civil society leaders, business leaders, practitioners and policymakers in agriculture, forestry and development, funding organisations and the media.