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Jonathan Verschuuren

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Jonathan Verschuuren

This chapter critically assesses the current and potential role of the UNFCCC and related documents, most importantly the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, in addressing the combined challenges for the agricultural sector of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the changing climate while increasing productivity. To date, agriculture has only played a marginal role in the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, and there are not many signs that things will be drastically different under the Paris Agreement. These international instruments certainly do not provide a powerful stimulus to adopt and implement policies aimed at converting agricultural practices to become climate smart. Under the UNFCCC, there is little attention to reducing emissions from agriculture. Most attention focuses on adaptation to climate change in rural areas in developing countries, particularly through the various instruments that finance adaptation projects in developing countries. Yet even in that area progress is painfully slow. Much more concrete action is needed to facilitate the transfer of adaptation technologies and adaptation know-how as well as funds to finance adaptation measures in agriculture to developing countries. For the developed countries, the UNFCCC does not make much of a contribution to addressing climate change and food security issues. Because emissions from agriculture have been rising on a yearly basis since 1990 and because the increase in demand for agricultural products (both for food and for biofuels) will cause emissions to rise further, agriculture can no longer be ignored in the international negotiations. Key Words: climate smart agriculture, technology transfer, food security, adaptation, mitigation, developing countries

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Jonathan Verschuuren

Climate change impacts on agriculture are diverse and potentially disastrous for global food security. This chapter analyzes the main issues law and policymakers at the international and the domestic level should focus on when developing a legal framework that is sufficiently equipped to deal with climate disasters affecting agriculture. Three stages are distinguished: disaster mitigation, in which focus should be on adoption and implementation of climate-smart practices and technologies; disaster response, mainly aimed at food supply; compensation and rebuilding, aimed at creating a more resilient agricultural sector that is better suited to deal with the next climate disaster.

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Jonathan Verschuuren

There has been considerable debate about the legal nature of the principle of sustainable development as well as its meaning. Is it really a legal principle? These debates are related because the rather vague and ambiguous terminology makes a straightforward legal implementation or application of the principle of sustainable development in legal practice difficult. Legal scholars have labelled ‘sustainable development’ a concept, a goal, a policy objective, a guideline, an ideal, a meta-principle, a weak norm of international law, a concept or principle of customary law, or a legal principle. Since its rise in international environmental law in 1992, sustainable development has been increasingly referred to by drafters of environmental and other treaties as well as by international and domestic courts. Increased reference to sustainable development – sometimes as a principle but more often as an objective or a concept – has led to its stronger normative power and its stronger legal status. The integration of environmental concerns into decision-making processes has been broadly accepted and it can authoritatively be seen as a firm legal duty. Although many commentators probably think that this process has not gone fast enough, it is the view of the author of this chapter that an extrapolation of the use of the principle of sustainable development will see a further increase of its impact upon judicial reasoning and upon how legal texts will be drafted in the near future.
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Jonathan Verschuuren

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Edited by Jonathan Verschuuren

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Jonathan Verschuuren

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Jonathan Verschuuren