COP21: new 4/1000 climate change initiative has private backing

The private and public-funded initiatives will tackle soil quality and help smallholder farmers in developing countries arm themselves against the challenges of climate change.

A new soil improvement initative aims to combine the efforts of private funders, governments and farmers to improve the quality of the land by a 4/1000 growth rate of soil carbon stock a year.

The programme, which is titled the 4/1000 Initiative and aims to improve crop yield and climate change resiliance, was launched at the climate change summit in Paris. It will focus funds from 100 partners, including private foundations, on increasing the amount of carbon in the soil.

“Restoring degraded agricultural lands and increasing the soil carbon rate play an important role in addressing the three-fold challenge of food security, adaptation of food systems and people to climate change, and mitigation of human-induced emissions,” the programme said.

It encouraged non-state actors such as private businesses, professional organisations and foundations to register their commitments , including a specific target, resources dedicated and a timeline.

The announcement follows a report by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation last month, which said that 33 percent of  land is moderately to highly degraded, and that the world’s soils are being eroded at an alarming rate.