The COP28 UAE Presidency has taken a significant step towards shaping the COP28 Action Agenda by launching its Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda. Led by Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment and COP28 Food Systems Lead, the Presidency is urging governments to exhibit leadership by endorsing the first-ever Leaders Declaration on Food Systems, Agriculture, and Climate Action at the Food Systems Summit in Rome.
The Declaration calls upon national governments to align their food systems and agriculture strategies with their climate-related commitments such as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), and National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs). Countries demonstrating leadership in placing food systems and agriculture at the core of climate action will be celebrated through this initiative.
In addition to governmental involvement, the COP28 Presidency is calling upon diverse stakeholders in the food and agriculture sector to accelerate existing initiatives related to food systems, agriculture, and climate action. This collaborative effort involves businesses, farmer and producer organizations, and other non-state actors, aiming to drive progress across production, consumption, and reduction of food loss and waste.
As part of the collaboration, a flagship initiative was launched to promote the adoption of regenerative agriculture in large food landscapes, backed by procurement and investment commitments. This initiative will be co-chaired by the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
During a joint session on Food Systems and Climate Action at the UN Food Systems Summit Stocktaking Moment, Almheiri emphasized the urgency of enhancing the resilience of climate-vulnerable farmers and reducing food system-related emissions. This recalibration aligns with the goals of the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030.
The announcement of the COP28 Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda coincides with the UN Food Systems Summit Stock Take Moment in Rome, reinforcing the crucial elements needed to improve food systems while achieving climate objectives.
The COP28 Presidency’s commitment to prioritize food systems reflects their dedication to address global challenges and work towards a sustainable future. The UAE Government’s recent commitment to reduce nationwide emissions by 40 percent by 2030 further supports the call for all Parties to raise their climate ambition through revised NDCs.
Food systems play a pivotal role in meeting societal needs and adapting to climate impacts, but they also contribute significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions. The COP28 Presidency stresses the importance of scaling up food and agriculture innovation to drive development and climate action, particularly for smallholder and climate-vulnerable communities and producers.
Advancements in traditional agricultural practices are crucial for mitigating and adapting to climate change’s effects. Scaling up appropriate technologies and innovations can help all actors in the global food system respond to rising temperatures and climate shocks.
To promote the Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda, the COP28 Presidency will collaborate with the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub and various partners, building on existing momentum and activities from global, regional, and country-level efforts, including COP26, COP27, and the UN Food Systems processes.
Urgently upgrading food systems to respond to climate impacts and maintain the 1.5°C target is a central focus of COP28’s sustainable growth, livelihoods, and well-being agenda. The COP28 Presidency also underscores the significance of food systems and agriculture within the Global Goal on Adaptation, which will be mandated for adoption at COP28.