Starting Point

Does the proposed NDC commit to support farmers, prevent deforestation, and restore damaged ecosystems? What kinds of programs are proposed? Has the climate impact of public expenditures and subsidies for agriculture been evaluated? How about the consequences of current diet patterns? CLARA members suggest key areas for climate action in land use sectors.

Agriculture & Food Systems | Forest Protection & Restoration |
Coastal/Marine/Peatlands | Bioenergy | What to Ask For

Agriculture & Food Systems

Changing how food is produced and consumed is a key component of addressing the climate crisis. For simplicity’s sake we group production-oriented actions as ‘Agroecology’, while suggesting demand-side opportunities to reduce the climate and biodiversity impacts of national food systems.


Agroecology strengthens the resilience of small farmers by diversifying production and improving ecosystem integrity. Agroecology provides joint mitigation and adaptation gains by reducing reliance on synthetic fertilizers and increasing carbon capture in soils.

But few governments have oriented their agriculture policies to favor agroecological approaches. The NDC process provides opportunities for national agrarian movements to present a coherent menu for change.

Diet Change

A disproportionate amount of agriculture-sector emissions come from industrial livestock (meat and dairy) production. Rich countries must find ways to reduce high per capita consumption of animal-agriculture products – with both health and climate benefits. Export-oriented livestock production is a big cause of deforestation, whether for pasture or to expand croplands for animal feeds – and here too subsidies should be addressed. Use the NDC process (as applicable) to address overconsumption of meat and dairy, synthetic fertilizer use, and reducing deforestation associated with commodity agriculture.

Many NDCs call for ‘climate-smart agriculture’ actions. Unfortunately this term can cause confusion, because of its strong orientation toward carbon markets and continued dependence on industrial agriculture. Agroecological movements say, ‘Our Land is Worth More Than Carbon!’

Forest Protection and Restoration

Protecting and restoring forests are among the most important actions that countries can take to reduce climate impacts.

For countries still experiencing deforestation, the inclusion in the NDC of a date certain by which deforestation ends should be seen as a test of its seriousness.

For countries already at ‘zero deforestation’, a next step is analyzing whether national consumption patterns and policies drive deforestation in other parts of the world.

There are many international initiatives to halt deforestation and increase restoration. Your country may be a member of these initiatives. Make sure these commitments – and plans for achieving them — are also included in the NDC.


Protecting coastal ecosystems like mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrasses is very important for resilience and protection against hurricanes and other extreme weather events. Reconnecting coastal wetlands to the sea also reduces emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas methane. Peatlands are some of the most carbon-rich ecosystems on the planet; they must be protected and restored. Some countries have in place a moratorium on the conversion of peatlands – is this cited in the NDC, and are there plans for improving implementation of ‘no-land-conversion’ policies?


CLARA members are concerned about the number of NDCs proposing expansion of biomass burning for energy production. Some countries are proposing to convert coal-fired power plants to burn forest biomass. This is not a climate solution – in fact, from a ‘net emissions’ point of view, conversion to biomass almost certainly increases emission of CO2. It is important to review critically any climate action plans that include bioenergy.

What to Ask For
  • Support to small farmers, especially via women’s groups, for transitions to agroecology
  • Review of national agriculture budget expenditures from a climate change perspective, including more support for agroecological research
  • Commitment to reducing per capita meat consumption (for most countries)
  • Review of connection between export-oriented agriculture and national deforestation rates
  • Commitment to end deforestation by ‘date certain’
  • Commitment to restore forests using rights-based approaches
  • Commitment to protect and restore all peatlands and mangrove forests
  • Review of any NDC plans that call for an expansion of bioenergy production
  • No replacing natural forest areas with plantations

Summary of Land Sector Resources

A summary of the links to pages and PDFs listed on this page.

Agriculture & Food Systems

  • Agroecology Scaling Out
  • Agroecology Confronts Climate Change
  • The Principles Of Agroecology CIDSE 2018
  • Emissions Impossible
  • Perverse Incentives Deforestation For Livestock

Forest Protection & Restoration

  • Return Of The Trees 162
  • Land Wars!
  • RF Point Of No Return
  • Tackling The Global De-Forestation Crisis, The Urgent Need for EU Regulation Of Supply Trains (2057)
  • NGO Statement On Tackling Deforestation (pdf)
  • New York Declaration on Forests
  • Bonn Challenge


  • Biomass Energy Has Big Climate Impact Even Under Best Case Scenario
  • Biomass Delusion Statement