As humanity and the Earth are facing major environmental challenges, the role of research is crucial to produce and shed light on new scientific knowledge, solutions and provide support to public policies at a global scale. As a world leader in research on agriculture, food and environment, INRAE has a responsibility to tackle these issues, while fostering international cooperation with its partners to design agricultural, food, health and environmental systems that are sustainable, efficient and fair.
Born of a merger between INRA and IRSTEA in 2020, INRAE has long been contributing to the Global Environmental Governance and is collaborating with its partners, from everywhere, to solve our century’s pressing challenges. We offer you a look into our contributions.
The history of global environmental governance started in 1972 with the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, in Stockholm, the first UN Summit that marked the entry of environmental issues into the international agenda. While the Stockholm Conference in 1972 led to the creation of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), the 1992 Rio Conference saw the preparation and finalisation of the Rio conventions on climate change, biodiversity and desertification.
These conventions were set-up as independent entities with their own governance bodies and processes. Since then, the conventions - the climate convention came first, followed later by biodiversity and desertification -, hold negotiations processes culminating every year in UN Conferences of the Parties (COP) to each Convention, with their own goals and agenda.
2010s: a turning point for the land sector in climate COP discussions
INRA’s contributions to the Global environmental governance date back as early as the eighties, with our experts involvement following the 1979 Convention on long transboundary pollution framework.
However, a decisive moment for the land sector was made in the early 2010s, regarding the convention on climate change. Agriculture, which was not previously discussed at climate COPs, officially entered discussions in 2013.
With that, INRA’s contributions intensified and culminated at the COP21 in Paris. As, for the first time, all countries were announcing their initial national contributions to reduce GEG emissions, non-state actors initiatives were now included thanks to the Action Plan Lima-Paris. This led to the launch of the 4 per 1,000 initiative, by then French Minister of Agriculture, Stéphane Le Foll at COP21. With it, the land sector was no longer viewed only as an emitter. INRA, which gained an observer status at COP21, was involved in the organization of 2 international scientific conferences ahead of the the COP, contributing to foster links and collaborations between agricultural and climate research.
Agriculture’s unique potential to combat climate change was officially recognized with the launch of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA) in 2017 at COP23 in Bonn. INRA initiated and coordinated several collective submissions to the KJWA between 2018 and 2020. The Koronivia programme is now expected to lead to a decision at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh.
Fifty years after the first Environmental Conference in Stockholm, the state of biodiversity and the effects of climate change are alarming and continuously informed by science. Building on the previous achievements and ahead of COP27 on climate change and COP15 on biodiversity, research is calling upon policy makers for urgent action, with evidence and solutions based on science, to guide the political agenda on environmental challenges. INRAE has been collaborating with partners to bring key messages to the table and foster a dialogue that involves all stakeholders.
Taking place from December 7-19, 2022, in Montreal, COP15 should lead to the adoption of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. INRAE is an observer member of the Convention for the first time.
4 per 1,000 initiative
The Initiative, launched at the COP21 on climate change in Paris in 2015, promotes science-based policies, actions and practices to increase carbon storage and sequestration in soils to fight food insecurity and tackle climate change. INRAE is a founding member and Jean-François Soussana, INRAE's Vice-President of International Policy, is a member of the Scientific and Technical Committee.
The potential in France for storing 4 per 1,000 carbon in soils
Using a novel methodology, a study evaluated the potential in France by estimating the implementation cost, region by region, in terms of the 4 ‰ goal. More on the study
The methodology is now extended to 24 European countries through the Horizon 2020 European joint program on soil, coordinated by Claire Chenu at INRAE.
INRAE will participate and share, along its partners, key messages from research to the land sector, to foster dialogue with all stakeholders and call for urgent and ambitious action.
The Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) on Agriculture, Food Security, and Climate Change (FACCE)
Coordinated by INRAE, the JPI FACCE promotes the integration and alignment of national research resources in Europe under a common research strategy, to address the diverse challenges in agriculture, food security and climate change.
Jean-François Soussana, expert for the IPCC and INRAE Vice President
Jean-François Soussana explains his work as a lead author for IPCC Assessment Reports since 1998 and challenges for climate change and land.3:05
Climate change and risks
Climate change is causing heat waves, droughts and extreme precipitation events, heightened in frequency and intensity. As a result, there has been a rise of natural, health and socio-economics risks, threatening food systems, the availability of natural resources, the livelihood of populations, infrastructures, human health and ecosystem health. INRAE is carrying out interdisciplinary research on the causes and consequences of climate change, using experiments, modelling and long-term observational data. We are working with our partners and stakeholders to design and implement sustainable solutions to the necessary systemic transitions. Our aim: mitigate and adapt to climate change, find the right adaptation solutions to new conditions, and both prevent and manage climate risks.
Biodiversity is declining without precedent in our modern era, due to habitat modifications, depletion of resources, the introduction of invasive species, pollution, climate change… Anthropogenic activities, like agriculture, have major impacts on biodiversity. Therefore, a transition towards sustainable systems is necessary to preserve and restore it. INRAE is carrying research to know better, preserve and restore biodiversity, in its multiple forms: genes, species and ecosystems. It involves exploring flows and interactions of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems with stakeholders at landscapes levels, and using agroecology as a tool for better managing natural resources, identifying natural solutions for restoring biodiversity, and handling risks. The Institute strives to create value from the natural wealth found in ecosystems and ecosystem services, notably via the bioeconomy.