Non-State Actors Endorse Call to Action for Transforming Food Systems for People

food systems

More than 150 Non-State Actors sign Call to Action calling for transformation of food systems for people, nature and climate.

At COP28, Broad Coalition of Farmers and Frontline Communities, Business, Philanthropy, and Cities send strong message to assembled world leaders and the global community through a shared Non-State Actors Call to Action for Transforming Food Systems for People, Nature, and Climate

Calling for a set of global targets and transition pathways by COP29 at the latest, and resolved to work on a set of high priority actions through to COP30, the diverse group of over 150 entities unite behind a shared vision to transform food and agriculture to become a key solution — not a leading driver — of the climate, nature and food crises.

DUBAI (1 December, 2023)—As world leaders assemble at the UN Climate Conference in Dubai, COP28, many of whom are expected to endorse the Emirates Declaration Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate Action, a broad coalition of farmers and other frontline food systems actors, businesses, cities, consumers, civil society, philanthropies and others have issued a compelling and ambitious Non-State Actors Call to Action.

The Call to Action unites many diverse actors working in food and agriculture around a shared vision and priority actions for transforming food systems. It calls for a set of time-bound, aligned, holistic, and global targets by COP29 at the latest, and actionable, evidence-based, locally appropriate food systems transition pathways to drive further action and accountability from governments, business and finance actors.

Endorsers also contribute their own Statement of Action to outline their specific contribution to the shared agenda. These include corporate commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from food and agriculture, including methane emissions and setting scope 3 targets in line with 1.5 degree pathways; increasing support for regenerative agriculture and promoting nutritious and sustainable diets; philanthropic commitments to increase finance for food systems; and civil society and research organisations directing knowledge, implementation and technical support.

The Call to Action has already been endorsed by more than 150 entities and remains open for signatories up until the Food, Agriculture and Water Day on 10 December, the first time that food will be featured as a thematic day at COP. The Call to Action was developed by organisations representing Non-State Actors in conjunction with the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions.
The Emirates Declaration, also released at COP28 on 1 December, for the first time commits more than 100 Heads of State to transform their food and agricultural systems into a climate solution. The Non-State Actor Call to Action complements the Emirates Declaration and calls for its ambitious implementation, reinforcing the vital role that governments play in creating the conditions for ambitious action by all those involved in food systems.

Additional announcements, initiatives and actions on food systems are expected at COP28, which are all intended to drive measurable progress in the next two years to COP30 in Brazil.

This Call to Action builds on decades of knowledge, experience and advocacy from a wide range of Non-State Actors working on food systems, the UN Food Systems Summits, and various other processes.

Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, said “Transforming our food systems is paramount to protecting nature, safeguarding food and nutrition security, and combating climate change. We are facing a dual climate-nature crisis, and we must act with appropriate urgency, ambition, and scale. The Emirates Declaration is a huge step forward in government leadership on food systems. As the High-Level Champion for COP28, it is my honour to launch this Non-State Actors Call to Action to demonstrate the shared determination of farmers, businesses, cities, civil society, philanthropy and many others to collaborate on the most critical actions that will unlock the transformative potential of food and agriculture to deliver positive outcomes for people, nature and climate.”

“Climate change poses an enormous threat to farmers and food production. We need greater recognition of farmers, with a particular focus on women and youth, as equal partners in addressing this global challenge,” said Elizabeth Nsimadala, President of the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) and a Ugandan smallholder farmer. “This includes meaningfully engaging them in climate processes at all levels and building their capacity to adapt and respond to growing climate risks and shocks. Eastern Africa Farmers Federation supports the Non-State Actors Call to Action as a shared vision for agriculture and food systems as a climate solution.”

The coalition of Non-State Actors endorsing this call to action spans:

Farmers groups that represent farmer organisations from Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa, Latin America and North America, including the World Farmers Organisation, Eastern Africa Farmers Federation, Jamaica Network of Rural Women Producers, European Carbon Farmers, and other small and medium sized farmer groups;
Indigenous Peoples groups, including the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities and The Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty (TIP);
Businesses, including Danone, Unilever and Nestlé, and business organisations such as WBCSD and SMEs;
Civil society groups – a cross-section of climate, nutrition, nature/biodiversity, animal rights, consumer groups and others, including Consumers International, The Nature Conservancy, Rainforest Alliance, Conservation International, WWF, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Access to Nutrition Initiative, the Food and Land Use Coalition, the Waste Resources and Action Programme (WRAP), Compassion in World Farming, and World Animal Welfare;
Cities and city networks, including C40 and ICLEI, and NYC Mayor’s Office of Food;
Philanthropies, including Rockefeller Foundation, Bezos Earth Fund, IKEA Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, Mo Ibrahim Foundation, ClimateWorks Foundation, and the Global Alliance for the Future of Food;
Financial institutions, including GAWA Capital, Pegasus Capital and Clarmondial, and investor networks such as the Good Food Finance Network and Asia Investor Group on Climate Change;
Research institutions, including CGIAR, Simon Fraser University, Stanford Centre for Ocean Solutions, and Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS), Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A full list of all entities signing the Call to Action is available on the High-Level Champions website here.

Facundo Etchebehere, SVP Sustainable Strategy & Partnerships​ at Danone, said “The food sector is unique in its potential to address climate change through both emissions reductions and removals, while strengthening food and nutrition security, livelihoods and biodiversity. Danone is transforming our business in line with 1.5°C, with 2030 targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative and Global Methane Pledge and increasing our sourcing from farms that have started the transition to regenerative agriculture. We need a step change in ambition, backed by stronger accountability, and greater collaboration across sectors and stakeholder groups, which is why we are pleased to support the COP28 Non-State Actors Call to Action.”

Global food systems have become a focus at COP28 as the way food is grown, processed, packaged, transported and consumed contributes over one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), 80 percent of biodiversity loss, and accounts for 70 percent of the world’s fresh water use. It is also a major driver of poor health and of inequity.

Food systems are also a victim of climate change, nature loss and conflict. These crises are undermining food and nutrition security and the livelihoods of billions of people. Over 900 million people are food insecure, and over 3 billion cannot afford a healthy diet.

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