Farmers, Fairtrade and NGO unite to bring attention to small producers at COP17

Fairtrade makes its voice heard at COP17

Fairtrade International Chief Executive
Rob Cameron

Carlos Vargas producer representative from
COOPETRABASUR in Costa Rica

02 December 2011

Fairtrade International and Fairtrade farmers joined forces with ICCO, the Dutch Inter Church Development Organisation, to host a side event on day twoof the COP17 climate talks in Durban to examine how climate finance could and should work for the poorest farmers in developing countries.

These small scale producers are among those most affected by the adverse results of climate change.  Yet they are the least likely to benefit from adaptation finance and the carbon market, which could help them adapt to climate change and mitigate its impact.. 

Fairtrade can play an important role in tackling this injustice.  The movement has the power to shape the world’s developing carbon markets and other forms of climate finance because it touches the lives of millions of food producers around the globe and can bring their voice directly to the debate, Rob Cameron told delegates in his keynote address.

“Fairtrade is a system that brings many parties together to work on climate change issues, such as how small farmers can adapt to changing climate and benefit from the carbon market” he continued.

Fairtrade is collaborating with ICCO on their innovative Fair Climate Programme to make sure carbon markets work for the sustainable development of the poor. Wim Hartl of ICCO explained how the programme helps set up climate projects that ensure that poor families get a fair price for trading their CO2 rights. The income received from CO2 credit sales is re-invested to encourage sustainable farming practices and develop new energy sources for poor producers.

Carlos Vargas, producer representative from COOPETRABASUR, Costa Rica, stressed the importance of fairness in the carbon market when it comes to the small scale producer. “Small scale farmers want to get involved in the carbon trade market but at this point it is just an illusion to them.  I would say 98 percent of them have no idea how to access it.”    

Fairtrade holds a unique position to act as a bridge on these issues advocating for pro-poor climate change policies, opening up access to financial and technical support, and providing practical help for adaptation and mitigation.  Fairtrade reaches nearly 1.2 million individual producers, and has demonstrated that organized small scale farmers can improve livelihoods and address environmental impact in their communities. 

Fairtrade is conducting feasibility studies with ICCO and other partners to develop mechanisms that make climate finance and the carbon market work for the poor. Investment opportunities are also being explored to support farmers as they adapt to a changing climate and to ensure the sustainability of supply chains.

Ensuring that the most disadvantaged farmers and workers can adapt and survive in the face of our greatest global challenge is in the interest of the entire world.  Through the presentations, debates and discussions at Fairtrade’s event, it is clear that many opportunities exist for a win-win response to climate change that can protect producers, suppliers and consumers into the future.

 
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