Integrating Soil Organic Carbon into the Nationally Determined Contributions
Policy Roundtable: Integrating Soil Organic Carbon into the Nationally Determined Contributions
At a recent virtual roundtable discussion organised by Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA), policy experts involved in the development of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) met to share key opportunities and barriers for integrating soil health into national climate change adaptation and mitigation plans.
AICCRA works across six focus countries in Africa (Senegal, Mali, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zambia), driven by their mission to “make climate information services and climate-smart agriculture more accessible to millions of smallholder farmers across Africa.”
CSA not only steers agricultural production towards farm practices that will remain sustainable and resilient under changing climatic conditions, it is also designed to be locally relevant and contribute to carbon sequestration and mitigation wherever possible.
Soil plays an integral part in carbon storage, accounting for about a third of Global stocks, but soil organic carbon (SOC) is being released at an alarming rate under widespread land degradation. CA4SH co-lead Dr Leigh Winowiecki cited figures from the Global Land Outlook Second Edition (2022) that 20-40% of Earth’s surface is degraded which impacts 3.2 billion people. Most of these are the rural poor.
Current global climate plans are not strong enough to mitigate the climate crisis, and SOC is a promising opportunity for contributing to national-level sequestration. To do this, targeted investments are needed to reverse and prevent land and soil degradation, enhance global food and nutrition security, contribute to carbon sequestration goals, realise the sustainable development goals and reach ecosystem restoration targets, including preserving and enhancing global biodiversity.
This session, which convened on 21 October 2022, collated ideas for policy design, governance systems, and land restoration through key insights from engagement with NDCs.