Countdown to COP17: Seeking A Fair Climate Deal for Fairtrade Farmers
The countdown to Durban has begun as Fairtrade farmers prepare to participate at the upcoming 17th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP17). Despite the devastating impacts climate change is having on their farms, the voice of Fairtrade farmers and workers has not been heard within the climate change negotiations. Fairtrade International and the regional producer networks are working hard to ensure active representation of Fairtrade producer needs in the climate change policy process.
Fairtrade farmers are clearly feeling the effects of climate change. Yvette Konstadopoulos is a wine farmer in Western Cape South Africa, an area that receives less than 20mm of rain each year and is heavily reliant on the Orange River for their table grape crop. “Two floods came down river at different times that put 15 rows of grapes underwater. If that had occurred in the middle of the harvest we would have lost a lot of produce, and this would have had a very harsh financial impact on us. The destruction of a full crop can put you out of business, and that would put a lot of people out of work in the community.”
Fairtrade seeks to work towards a fair playing field in the area of trade for farmers in developing countries. However, climate change threatens to erode the gains that have been made, especially as small scale farmers’ lack the knowledge and financial mechanisms needed to respond to changes in the climate. Producers need much more financial and political support to adapt to these challenges.
Fairtrade International and Fairtrade Africa are participating at the upcoming COP17 to raise the voice of Fairtrade producers. We urge policymakers to consider the needs and plight of Fairtrade producers in the face of climate change.
To learn more about Fairtrade’s work on climate change, please read our position paper, “Climate Change and Fairtrade: Why Is It Time to Make the Links?” (PDF)