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Minister Coveney Welcomes UN Agreement on Agriculture and Climate Change

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today welcomed the agreement reached on agriculture at the UN climate conference in Durban.

"Since becoming Minister I have consistently highlighted the need for climate policies to take account of the important issue of food security particularly in the context of increasing demand for food and the negative impacts of climate change in many important food producing regions. Climate change is a worldwide issue and solutions must be sought in a worldwide context", said the Minister.

Continuing, Minister Coveney said "We must ensure that efficient grass-based agriculture systems, such as the multi-functional Irish model, are able to make a contribution to food security ambitions as well as climate efforts. I look forward to further progress in developing work and thinking on agriculture and food under the climate change programme". The Minister emphasised that his officials will continue to work closely with Teagasc to contribute to this work.

The outcome from Durban is seen as a major step forward in improving understanding of how agriculture can contribute to meeting climate change ambitions at the same time as meeting the increased demand for food. The Minister complimented his colleague Phil Hogan, who led the Irish delegation at the negotiations and the work of officials of the Department of Environment and Heritage and Local Government, his own Department and other Government Departments and agencies including the Department of An Taoiseach, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The outcome of the Conference meets an important objective for Ireland and the European Union in terms of launching work on agriculture under the climate change convention. The conference also agreed to develop a new Protocol with legal force that will be applicable to all Parties to the UN Climate Convention. This process will raise ambition levels in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Concluding, the Minister said "It is very important that substantial work starts on agriculture with a view to improving the understanding of how the sector can contribute both to mitigation of emissions and increasing food output by adapting agriculture systems to changed climatic conditions. This is particularly relevant in the Least Developed Countries where food security is a major issue".

Date Released: 14 December 2011