By Smart farmer writer
In a historic move, 134 world leaders including 35 African countries have signed up to the ‘COP28 UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action.
The announcement, made during a special session of the World Climate Action Summit, signifies a pivotal moment in addressing global emissions and protecting the livelihoods of farmers facing the impacts of climate change.
Also announced was the mobilisation of more than USD$2.5 billion in funding to support food security while combatting climate change and a new partnership between the UAE and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for food systems innovation in the face of climate change.
During the session, key figures such as Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia, Giorgia Meloni, Prime Minister of Italy, Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa, Prime Minister of Samoa, and Anthony J. Blinken, Secretary of State for the United States, emphasised the important role of food systems and agriculture in achieving the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement.
“There is no path to achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and keeping 1.5C within reach that does not urgently address the interactions between food systems, agriculture, and climate,” said H.E Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE minister of Climate Change and Environment and COP28 Food Systems Lead, stressing the urgency of integrating food systems and agriculture into global climate ambitions.
The commitment from 134 countries, representing over 5.7 billion people and 500 million farmers responsible for producing 70 per cent of the world’s food, is seen as a significant stride towards building a resilient global food system. The declaration acknowledges the responsibility of these nations for 76 per cent of emissions from global food systems, highlighting the need for collective action to combat climate change and protect vulnerable communities.
“Today signals a turning point, embedding sustainable agriculture and food systems as critical components in both dealing with climate change and building food systems fit for the future,” H.E. Almheiri, added, expressing optimism about the impact of the declaration.
The session also witnessed key announcements, including a transformative partnership between the UAE and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The $200 million initiative for Food Systems, Agriculture Innovation, and Climate Action aims to focus on agricultural research, scale innovations, and provide technical assistance to implement the COP28 Declaration.
In addition, the UAE is set to join the CGIAR, a global partnership focusing on research related to food security, resilience, and climate adaptation. COP28 and its partners have pledged over $200 million for the Technical Cooperation Collaborative, stressing the importance of coordinated efforts to achieve the declaration’s objectives.
COP28, in collaboration with the World Business Council on Sustainable Development and the Boston Consulting Group, introduced the Action Agenda on Regenerative Landscapes. This initiative aims to unite leading food and agriculture organizations to scale regenerative agriculture, transitioning 160 million hectares by 2030, accompanied by a $2.2 billion investment and engaging 3.6 million farmers globally.
High-Level Champions, in partnership with various non-governmental actors, launched a Call to Action for Transforming Food Systems for People, Nature, and Climate. This collective effort underscores the urgent need for action on food systems by all stakeholders.
COP28’s Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda focuses on four pillars: national leadership, non-state actors, scaling up innovation, and finance. The conference actively engages representatives from every stage of the food system and agriculture value chain to accelerate the transition to regenerative agriculture.
COP is a United Nations (UN) annual climate change conference, which brings together world leaders, ministers, and negotiators to agree on how to address climate change. This conference, COP28, is taking place in UAE at Expo City Dubai up to December 12, 2023.