Conference on Strengthening Climate Justice Initiatives:
Livelihood Challenges at Local Level with a Focus on Farmers

On 8th to 9th November, 2014
At NIRMA University, Institute of LAW, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

Justice means:

1)      Fairness. 2) Moral rightness. 3) a scheme or system of law in which every person receives his/her/its due from the system, including all rights, both natural and legal. The attorneys, judges, and legislatures and public administration systems often get caught up more in procedure than in achieving justice for all. Example: the adage “justice delayed is justice denied,” applies to the burdensome procedures, lack of sufficient courts, clogging the system with meritless cases, and the use of the courts to settle matters which could be resolved by negotiation or quick administration decisions. The imbalance by Courts or Decision Workers to privileges obtained by attorneys for the wealthy clients and for poor farmers is main cause of grievance of poors that they are not getting justice at all.

Sustainable Livelihood means:

  • To provide enough to one to live
  • That it should not become less
  • But it should gradually increase despite natural adversities

Climate Change:

Climate change is the most difficult challenge in new millennium, one to its un-predictability, increasing frequency and intensity of its impact on habitat particularly on livelihood. This gets magnified for rural areas where majority depend on agriculture as direct or indirect source of income:

  • Climate change has become most important threat to livelihood of farmers. It adversely affects entire sustainable development process.
  • Impacts due to climate change are becoming increasingly evident especially through unpredictable weather, monsoon and productivity constraints. These in turn have a significant impact on farming with changes in the physical chemical and biological profiles of soils, waters and biological parameters affects productivity fails crops or yields from livestock.
  • The most tangible impacts are on the quality of life because of reduction in income and loss of productive assets.
  • Devastating cyclone – Tsunami Torrendo and floods affect entire habitat with destruction houses infrastructure level apart farmers and livestock.
  • Industry and urban township are mostly implicated in the creating the externality through the release of pollutants and other emissions. They have to be made responsible for the challenges caused and sustain support to overcome challenges in the longer term too.
  • These are locally felt challenges of a global phenomenon and can be seen as externalities that the farmers are not responsible for. The stakeholders responsible for creating these challenges have cannot be determined as there is no direct cause and effect relationship.
  • But it is equally important to deliver justice to the affected communities in a timely manner. These should include technical, technological and financial inputs & safety net so that the farmers can tackle climate related challenges immediately and sustain such transitions in the future too.
  • The larger questions pertaining to the aspects stated above have addressed through the climate justice perspective. The larger questions accordingly are:
    • What are the legal and administrative framework / provisions that the farmers can invoke so that their quality of life becomes the basis for redressal?
    • What can be the mechanism for ensuring responsibility from the industry and Urban Townships infrastructure projects like Ports Mining  that generates these externalities?
    • What are the challenges to the existing rules and regulations and administrative practices which do not meet quick redressal and how they can be modified e.g.
    • What existing safety net provisions and how they can reach out to individual affected families.
    • What are existing Government Support Schemes which endvour to meet these challenge as now they are most often gets delayed in delivery at grassroot level
    • What are existing Laws/Acts
    • What inequities are faced by farmers viza a viz Urban development eg.:

For example

  1. I.     Crop Insurance
Average settlement period (1 to 2 years)While requirement is immidate for resowing Car Insurance and Medical Insurance Normally Insurance company makes direct payment-Cashless provisions

 

  1. II.   Inputs Seeds
No action if no germination takes place i.e. Seeds fails germinate any crop or less germination in relation to quantity of seeds Consuble and non-consuble goods Immidiate exchange /  replacement within stipulated period in case product fails to meet standards depicted 
III. Sale of Agriculture produces Gets banned for exports if there is internal (within country) shortage & price rise and farmers looses higher value from its sale if exports  Industrial products There is no such ban
IV.Tenancy Law If farmers retains- hires a workers

 

Under certain conditions the workers can become owner – under Tenancy Act Farmers is under constant threat of local Talati who maintain land records. Urban developer rents out house But his Tenant can not become owner
  1. V.  Sale of Agriculture produce
Compulsory in local Agriculture Produce Market Yard where traders run action system and make cartel. This under APMC Act. Sale of Industrial Produce Industries can sell products wherever they want
VI.International assistance. Carbon Credit Small farmer cannot fill up a form. Leave apart understand its complexities This is devised only to help polluters with difficult format which can be filled only by consultant

International/National perspective in measuring GHG emission.

Agriculture treated as net emitter due to use of fertiliser, cow dung etc.

But in reality agriculture, vegetation is through photosynthesis process absorbs Co2 from atmosphere and releases Oxygen. While calculating net emission no set off is given for actual absorbs of Co2 by Agriculture.

 Industry is net polluter but it has double impact

a)      It is net emitter of GHG grasses some of which are hazardous

b)     Industry replaces by non-agriculture use of land, agriculture hence absorption Co2 and release of Oxygen which use to happen to stops. This adds to total emission by Industry but in calculation of its overall emission not taken into account and instead of forcing it make good looses of absorption Co2. It is given Carbon Credit.

Other related aspects:

The world is passing through unpredictable changes weather it is cyclone or heavy rain or drought or extraordinary snowfall. All these have already affected livelihood means of farmers who are at receiving end. There is main threat to food security and food for hungry millions.  Strategies are needed how can overcome this challenge through strategic changes in developmental framework, policies and modern advanced technology with backup a legal framework which provides redressal if existing programme and rule framework either fail or do not reach out to them within time limit prescribed. This not includes safety net provisions by way of insurance for crops, livestock, fisheries and community employment but also timely weather forecast, agro-advisory and delivery needed fresh supply inputs for frames and feeds for livestock. It further envisages similar framework in case total devastation due to Tsunami by way restoration. And enforcement of all these in timely manner.

Climate justice is to view climate change as an ethical issue (causes and effects relate to concepts of social and environmental justice) linking equality, individual human rights and collective rights. This is also viewed from a historical responsibility. This creates the context for multiple legal and administrative systems to converge. These is increased in suicide by farmers and precisely if, farmers risks/opportunities are not covered in time nobody would do farming everybody would like migration to Urban centres or wed Naxalism and obtain Justice through brutality, Naxalism occurs because Public Governance and Judicial System fails to protect rights and way to sustain livelihood of poors. The educated youth do not like this and they tend to take Law/System in their hand. This has already spread in 1/3 districts of our country.

NCCSD and NIRMA University proposes to raise concern of farmers in context of food security of hungry millions:

        I.            Give voice to farmers, understand their options and empower them to act.

      II.            Suggest inclusive sustainable legal and administrative process with the involvement of all stakeholders to reduce inequality through appropriate redresal system and with protective assistance to get it.

    III.            Strengthen governance through local level public leadership for better accountability.

   IV.            Improvement in existing legal framework and tools to suggest ensuring preventive and remedial action to reduce vulnerability through transparent credible, long – lasting and effective but quick enforcement of climate and related policies.

     V.            It will examine existing provisions-its limitation and suggest needed charges included a new framework.

   VI.            Develop international perspective for UNFCCC- Climate related negotiation to focus on need of farmers and give agriculture weightage as mitigation tool.

 VII.            The recent Loss and damage” framework entails claims by the developing world from developed countries to provide compensation for the “losses and irreversible damage, including non-economic losses associated with climate change. This is based on the Tort Law extending to such tangible aspects as mass migration, rather than money alone. In cases of civil negligence, courts have long established that where a proximate cause to a loss can be established, whether the action was intentional or not, the perpetrator will bear the liability.

  1. VIII.            In the context of Climate Change and its adverse impact, farming is becoming increasing risky and debt ridden profession. As per NSSO 60% of farmers do not like farming.

Outcomes:

  1. I.            To suggest policy and programme and initiatives a definite legal and regularly system which provides timely redressal to affected families and empower individuals, communities and nation to develop effective response to climate related challenges
  2. II.            To come out with a Declaration Climate Justice & Booklet on over all perspective
  3. III.            To suggest to add this as a subject relevant in educational curriculums
  4. IV.            To suggest effective framework of programmes, policies rules and regulation for achieving Climate Justice at local level for individual families and communications
  5. V.            To give voice to concern of farmers and rural poors and sharing their difficulties and facing same collectively at community level through leadership initiatives by sharing knowledge, technologies and provides needed financial support by way of direct assistance at local level.
  6. VI.            To design and develop sustainable development with built in legal framework to ensure effective implementation and accountability of those in public and private Governance System who are responsible to provide it.
  7. VII.            To lead a smooth transition process through which income does not become less, but it grows gradually like that of other non-farm sector despite adverse impacts.
  8. VIII.            To prepare future generation of farmers and leaders to convert these adversities in to opportunity.

The propose Conference will focus following on International context:

In the current discussion & policy framework in UNFCCC deliberation agriculture is addressed from point of view of food security, food to hungry millions and sustainable livelihood but role of agriculture and of farmers for mitigation is not prioritised. Agriculture vegetation due to its unique photosynthesis process is only known technology which naturally absorbs Co2 from atmosphere and release oxygen. This unique function is not given due importance.

Conversely agriculture is treated on par with industry which release (a) GHG-directly by its operations (b) reduced is absorption of Co2 by agriculture as the land its occupies in generally under agriculture cover. Hence its impact on global warming is double

While calculation GHG for agriculture deduction of Co2 absorbed by it from atmosphere is not given due credit. Further policy framework for carbon credit is industry  oriented, no farmer or their organisation can fill up such complicated forms.

Conference will debate on how agriculture could be prioritised negotiations of Conference of Parties in UNFCCC up-coming meets and come out with a declaration in that regard.