COP27: FAO stressed the importance of transforming agri-food systems as part of the solution to the climate crisis

November 29 2022, Rome: The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) took place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, at the end of a year in which extreme climate events once again demonstrated the urgency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A UN climate change report shows that while emissions are falling, they are not falling fast enough to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, in line with the goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement. And if the world cannot achieve this, the worst effects of climate change, such as severe drought, heat waves and floods, will become worse and more frequent. This in a context where extreme weather events, together with geopolitical tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic, have led to greater food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty.

Global demand for food, feed, fuel and fiber is increasing, with the world estimated to need 50% more food by 2050 to feed the growing global population. Currently, approximately 828 million people face hunger and one third of the world’s population – 2.3 billion people – does not have access to adequate food.

While agri-food systems contribute to and are affected by the impacts of the climate crisis, ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss, they are also part of the solutions. At COP27, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) sought to use its expertise and experience to lead discussions on how agri-food systems could be transformed through innovative solutions and thus play a crucial role in mitigating change climatic.

Following the conclusion of COP27, I spoke with Zitouni Ould-Dada, Deputy Director of FAO’s Climate and Environment Division, to understand the agency’s role at the climate summit and what he believes has been achieved.

What are some of the key initiatives FAO was part of at COP27?

FAO was actively involved and highly visible at COP27. The agency was part of four initiatives launched by the Egyptian presidency at COP27. The first – Food and Agriculture Sustainable Transformation (FAST) aimed to support climate action in agri-food systems by:

  • access to finance and investment;
  • knowledge and capacity building; and
  • political support and dialogue.

The second, developed in partnership with the World Health Organization and other UN agencies and partners such as GAIN, is called the Initiative on Climate Action and Nutrition (I-CAN). This program aims to support Member States in implementing policies that aim to improve access to nutritious and healthy diets from sustainable food systems.

The third initiative entitled AWARE addresses better water management for climate adaptation and resilience. AWARE’s mission is to reduce water loss, improve water supply and support adaptation policies and actions to do so, as effective water management is a key aspect of climate action to achieve the 2030 Agenda, in particular SDG 6. The fourth initiative concerns waste management. in Africa to treat and recycle at least 50% of the solid waste produced in Africa by 2050.

How closely linked are agri-food systems and climate change?

They are highly interconnected and affect each other. According to the latest IPCC report, more than 3.3 billion people, half of the world’s population, especially people living in Africa, Asia and small island developing states, are considered “highly vulnerable” to the impacts of the climate crisis. The report warns that even a temporary breach of 1.5 Celsius would be fatal for millions. Five hundred million small farms that depend on functioning ecosystems for their livelihoods produce more than 80 percent of the food consumed in much of the developing world.

The worsening climate crisis coupled with the challenge of feeding and nourishing a growing global population in times of conflict and uncertainty is expected to lead to reduced production and nutrition and limited food accessibility, especially for the most vulnerable and poor. To address these challenges, FAO is working to collect data, information and develop tools on the impacts of climate change on agri-food systems and to inform countries, farmers and others about best practices and innovative solutions.

What is the most pressing need in agriculture and climate change?

To meet the goal of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs, the level of ambition should be increased for all sectors, especially for agri-food systems. We need to transform agri-food systems to make them more efficient, inclusive, sustainable and resilient. We must harness the power of innovation and digitization to help achieve this and benefit countries, rural communities and farmers. We need to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions while building adaptive capacity and resilience. We need to invest more in adaptation and nature, including ecosystem conservation and restoration. FAO’s new climate change strategies contain an ambitious vision to help transform agri-food systems through an action plan to facilitate climate action around three main pillars:

  • global and regional advocacy;
  • support for countries at the national level; and
  • scaling up climate action on the ground with local communities and farmers.

What do you think FAO achieved at COP27?

FAO has achieved much at this COP in highlighting innovative solutions to transform agri-food systems to make them more efficient, inclusive, sustainable and resilient to contribute to the achievement of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs. Food and agriculture issues were high on the international agenda. FAO was well engaged in supporting the Egyptian COP27 presidency, providing technical support to the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture, spaces for expert dialogues and unveiling new initiatives at the climate summit. As a result, FAO is a recognized strategic partner of the COP27 Presidency. Together we have launched four key global initiatives, covering sustainable transformation in agriculture, adaptation in the water sector, green nutrition and food waste. FAO also hosted the first Food and Agriculture Pavilion, in collaboration with CGIAR and the Rockefeller Foundation, where a wide range of events and dialogues were held on all aspects of the innovative climate solutions that agri-food systems can implement. We also presented the new FAO Climate Change Strategy 2022-2031 to inform the global community about FAO’s vision to ensure global food security during the climate crisis.

When it comes to climate finance, do you think agriculture gets its fair share, and if not, what needs to be done about it?

While global financing to address the impacts of climate change has increased over the past two decades, the proportion of climate finance in the agriculture and land use sectors has declined. Current international public climate finance flows do not match the priorities that developing countries have specified in their NDCs. Agricultural sectors continue to receive only a modest share of international climate finance, which has declined proportionately over the past two decades.

Funding flows must reflect the importance developing countries place on climate adaptation and agriculture. Between 2000 and 2018, the share of global climate finance in the agriculture and land-use sector declined, from an average of 45 percent of total flows at the turn of the millennium to 24 percent in 2013, where it has since remained stable. . Total contributions to the agriculture and land use sector between 2000 and 2018 amounted to $122 billion, accounting for 26% of global climate finance flows to all sectors. We need to invest more in technological innovation and digitization to accelerate the transformation of agri-food systems to achieve better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life, leaving no one behind.

Also Read: Best Agrolife launches two locally manufactured CTPR products

(For latest agriculture news and updates follow Krishak Jagat on Google News)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *