How COP27 became the COP of food systems

How COP27 became the COP of food systems

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Hiya from COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. I am sending this version of Meals Weekly from my hotspot, so sure, there have been many challenges related to this international summit, as you have most likely learn elsewhere. However I am glad I got here.

This COP was a watershed second for meals programs. No matter the place the official negotiations find yourself by the top of this week, the organizers must be extraordinarily proud to have superior the worldwide recognition of meals and agriculture because the perpetrator and the local weather answer.

Construct an unstoppable momentum

“We will part out fossil fuels, however we can’t part out meals, so we have to remodel meals programs,” stated João Campari, international head of meals practices at WWF. “We’re in the present day the place the power was 30 years in the past, however we do not have 30 years to make the change.” It is rather true. However given how shortly meals has taken heart stage, I do not thoughts ready 30 years to get to its transformation.

Let’s not overlook that meals solely made its debut with the United Nations finally yr’s Meals Methods Summit. Barely 14 months later, meals programs pondering has made its manner into COP27.

To know how, let me break down the totally different points of COP that happen on the identical time.

First, there are high-level negotiations the place heads of state, ministers and different delegates talk about the implementation of the Paris Settlement. For the primary time, a buying and selling day was completely dedicated to agriculture. Nevertheless, going past manufacturing to sort out emissions alongside the meals worth chain is all the time obligatory in these conversations, nevertheless it was a necessary first step.

Second, there’s the COP of facet occasions. Nations and organizations host a whole bunch of panels and workshops, creating the sensation of an enormous, bustling international honest the place everyone seems to be discussing totally different points of local weather motion.

This yr, meals was in every single place in these discussions. 5 occasion areas (“pavilions” in COP language) within the Blue Zone completely devoted to meals and agriculture. Many different pavilions have additionally included periods associated to meals and agriculture into their programming. Whereas what occurs in these facet occasions is primarily dialogue, these conversations are key to integrating meals programs pondering into mainstream local weather motion, alongside power, transport, buildings, and extra.

“It is enormous,” Deborah Bossio, senior meals programs scientist on the Nature Conservancy, stated of the inclusion of meals and agriculture in these two points of COP27. “[It] acknowledges that with out transformations in meals programs, which account for round a 3rd of worldwide greenhouse gasoline emissions and the overwhelming majority of biodiversity loss, we will be unable to attain a steady local weather, feed folks and save biodiversity.

Third, there’s the COP of conferences, hallway discussions and dinners the place folks from all organizations and international locations strategize and type partnerships. Once more, most of that is simply occurring in discussions on the summit, however there will likely be quite a lot of follow-up and collaboration as soon as folks go house. These casual encounters present a necessary sense of hope and togetherness that helps organizations align their efforts and keep energized in what can usually really feel like a sluggish and irritating transfer.

“Progress all the time begins with discussions that then translate into motion. Sure, we aren’t transferring quick sufficient, however on the identical time we’re experiencing an unstoppable coalition formation to get issues performed,” stated Gunhild Stordalen, founder and government chairwoman of EAT, which has been one of many organizations fundamentals of the acceleration of meals system transformation lately.

Concrete steps in direction of the transformation of meals programs

Along with these successes in elevating consciousness of meals programs and constructing coalitions, COP27 additionally introduced necessary bulletins.

The Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transformation (FAST) goals to unlock local weather finance to decarbonise and enhance the resilience of the meals and agriculture sectors, particularly on the earth’s most weak communities. The Initiative on Climate Action and Nutrition (I-CAN) acknowledges the connection between diet and the local weather disaster – representing a big breakdown of silos between the meals, agriculture, local weather and diet clusters. He’ll work to information governments, monetary establishments and the meals business in direction of widespread objectives.

Complementing these multilateral launches, an $18 trillion coalition of buyers led by Jeremy Coller’s FAIRR initiative efficiently mobilized the Meals and Agriculture Group of the United Nations (FAO) to ascertain a local weather roadmap for the meals and agriculture sector by the COP of the subsequent yr. It should define how business can keep on a 1.5°C trajectory, be local weather resilient, and meet nature and meals safety objectives.

The roadmap “will present much-needed readability for corporations and buyers, permitting corporations to plan for the transition and buyers to evaluate funding dangers and alternatives,” Coller stated, in response to a Press release. “Buyers will search the roadmap to incorporate clear steering on methane emission limits, halting deforestation, scaling up manufacturing of other proteins and assist to make sure a simply transition for farmers.”

Whereas the roadmap will assist present incentives, it is no excuse for inaction now, Helena Wright, Coverage Director on the FAIRR Initiative, advised me: “The science on the affect of meals system on nature and local weather is already clear, and firms needn’t anticipate a roadmap to enhance their insurance policies. I could not agree extra.

Curious to know what occurred on the COP? Discover all our reports on international negotiations.

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