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Increasing the importance of agriculture in Guatemala’s NDC update


Guatemala, 18 June 2020 - While Guatemala is currently revising its climate commitments through a more enhanced NDC submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by November 2020, the country is giving the agriculture sectors more prominence this time around. Implementing and improving the monitoring system of the sector and identifying key adaptation measures is essential for developing a more ambitious NDC.

The year 2020 represents a key milestone for global climate action. For the first time since 2015, countries are submitting enhanced nationally determined contributions (NDCs) aiming to go beyond current national climate action goals. Increasing ambition and updating targets bring the country closer to achieving the Paris Agreement objectives of de-carbonizing economies and improving resilience.

Considering the climate change impacts that the country has faced over the last couple of years, especially within the agriculture sector, it is even more important for Guatemala to scale up efforts that reshape the agriculture sector. Incorporating more explicit targets for the agriculture sector in the updated NDC represents a chance to gain increased visibility for the “Agricultural, Livestock and Food Security” sector of Guatemala in its national climate change policies.

The NDC Enhancement Facility, through joint FAO-UNDP collaboration, is encouraging this process in Guatemala. Funded by IKI, this Facility is in continuity of the NAP-Ag (Integrating Agriculture in National Adaptation Plans) programme (2015-2020). This initiative is conceived to support nine countries, Guatemala being one of the three countries in the Latin American and Caribbean region, between March and June 2020, to update and enhance their NDCs within this sector.

The NAP-Ag Programme represents important groundwork laid over the past five years, as it contributed, amongst others, to the implementation of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (Plan de Acción Nacional de Cambio Climático, PANCC), in particular chapters on Agriculture, Livestock and Food Security, and Integrated Water Resource Management. As a continuum of this groundwork, the NDC Enhancement Facility supports the Ministry of Environment (MARN) and the Ministry of Agriculture (MAGA) in enhancing general adaptation strategies of the agriculture sector that specifically contribute to the country’s NDC.

Although the programme’s activities had to be redesigned due to current COVID-19 pandemic circumstances, they are being accomplished with the same amount of emphasis. For instance, a virtual monitoring and evaluation (M&E) capacity training is taking place with various groups of institutional actors at three different levels: (a) the field operating level, with information generators and/or providers (extensionists of the national rural extension system, SNER); (b) the intermediate operational level, with information processors for the reports (extension chiefs, delegates and sub-national chiefs); and (c) at the program management level, with information interpreters and report generators (chiefs and directors at the central level, MAGA and MARN).

This activity supports the ministries’ overall goal to consolidate a monitoring, evaluation and reporting (MER) system for adaptation in the agricultural sector, to be included as an information platform in the national monitoring system SIPSE (Sistema de Planificación, Seguimiento y Evaluación), managed by Guatemala’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food (MAGA). The final purpose is to link this system with the National Climate Change Information System (SNICC), hosted by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN).

Another key activity encompasses the identification and prioritization of adaptation strategies and practices for Guatemala’s agricultural sector. Main stakeholders and policymakers have been mapped and adaptation strategies thematically identified during participatory workshops held before the confinement. These measures are now being prioritized in online focal groups of different sectors linked to decision-making. Amongst them reside the Guatemalan System of Climate Change Sciences and the Adaptation Roundtable.

Although Guatemala’s current NDC includes the agriculture sector in some way, the coming submission of its enhanced NDC provides the opportunity to increase communication on how to achieve climate action goals through the agricultural sector and the promotion of sustainable food systems. It also fosters the support needed for reinforced adaptation measures in this sector, which is essential to improve resilience and livelihoods of farmers, their communities and their territories.

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  • SDG 13