A boost in philanthropic funding for food systems and climate, from endorsers of the Philanthropic Statement of Action on Food Systems and Climate, was among the highlights of Food Day at COP28. The new commitments—totaling US$302 million—will support farmers and other key players in food and agriculture to drive ambitious implementation of the goals that world leaders agreed to in the COP28 UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action.
The funders, 18 in total, hail from and support action on food and climate in all continents but Antarctica. They pledge to support work that links nutrition, adaptation, and mitigation; that scales up promising innovations, particular ones that synergistically deliver in these domains; and invest in key enabling conditions for this work, including wider climate action.
According to the Philanthropic Statement of Action on Food Systems and Climate, funders, “will invest, advocate, and partner for food systems to transform to align with 1.5C, the Paris adaptation goals, the Global Biodiversity Framework, and salient elements of the 2030 agenda like food security/nutrition and shared prosperity.” This indicates that, moving forward, they intend to deploy billions in alignment with the goals of the emerging food and climate agenda on display at this summit. (The full text of the statement is below.)
Statement of action funders include: African Climate Foundation, Instituto Arapyaú, Asian Venture Philanthropy Network, Bezos Earth Fund, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, ClimateWorks Foundation, Global Alliance for the Future of Food, Global Methane Hub, Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, High Tide Foundation, Macdoch Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Ode Partners, Robertson Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Sequoia Climate Foundation, Stronger Foundations for Nutrition, and the Walton Family Foundation.
Many of the same funders also endorsed the High-Level Champions Non-State Actors Call to Action on food systems transformation, joining a myriad of non-state actors working for progress on food, including IPLCs, farmers, financial institutions, universities, cities, and corporations.
“Transforming food systems is a critical part of a climate-friendly future. From sustaining healthy fisheries in support of thriving coastal communities to reducing the greenhouse gas and water impacts of agriculture, we have to make a plan for how we produce our food in ways that also protects water and the planet,” said Pipa Elias, deputy director of the Walton Family Foundation’s Environment Program.
“Food systems contribute 60% of anthropogenic methane emissions and cost-effective mitigation solutions are lacking to adequately address many of these sources of methane”, said Hayden Montgomery, Agriculture Program Director at the Global Methane Hub. “There is a need for speed, and philanthropy is uniquely placed to accelerate the development of solutions, catalyzing investments in innovation from governments and the private sector. If we succeed in rapidly reducing methane we can help avoid exceeding 1.5 degrees warming and the worst impacts of climate change on vulnerable agricultural ecosystems and rural communities.”
“We are delighted to stand together with other philanthropic foundations, aligned around the need for transformation in our food systems. Collectively, philanthropy can be instrumental in catalyzing the profound and impactful changes that are needed to rebalance food systems to deliver for people and planet,” said Andy Jarvis, Director, Future of Food, of the Bezos Earth Fund.
“This summit brought in more money and more promises, to address food and climate issues, than many anticipated. However, more importantly, we may have found a groundbreaking way of working together, of harnessing our diverse perspectives and inputs for the collective good. This is critical because we’re still far from achieving our targets, and time is incredibly short. Today, a critical mass of philanthropy announces our full commitment to food systems and climate–to work with our partners around the world to help to create a new center of gravity on food systems and climate. We’ll begin our new shared journey tomorrow,” said Avery Cohn, Partner, Food and Agriculture, Ode Partners.
Philanthropic foundations play a critical role in driving action on climate change. The sector can move more quickly than the public sector, and take more risk than the private sector. Foundations can also help support civil society, science and innovation in ways that can accelerate progress.
The funders will invest, partner, and advocate to transform food and agriculture to align with 1.5C, adaptation, and other important global goals, including nature, nutrition, and shared prosperity. Their statement affirms that the solutions to food and climate must combine mitigation with adaptation, involve every country of the world, and advance progress in other sectors like energy and nature.
In the near term, the foundations will take all measures they can to support the ambitious implementation of the COP28 UAE Declaration. They will also push for far greater ambition on food systems by 2025, when Brazil hosts COP30 in Belem, at the mouth of the Amazon River.
Philanthropic Statement of Action on Food Systems and Climate
We, a group of 18 philanthropic organizations, will invest, advocate, and partner for food systems to transform to align with 1.5C, the Paris adaptation goals, the Global Biodiversity Framework, and salient elements of the 2030 agenda like food security/nutrition and shared prosperity.
Our support will help: national governments to adopt 1.5-aligned and resilient transition plans, reflected in NDCs and NAPs by COP30; cities to procure sustainably, vulnerable groups to avert loss and damage; livestock systems to improve; producers to innovate; financial institutions to mobilize and align capital; and businesses to transition.
Our goals include: scaling regenerative/agroecology and other sustainable and resilient agricultural practices; healthy diets, including food security and nutrition for all; less food waste; appropriate digital tools like early warning systems for all; closing commitment and implementation gaps; and transitioning the food system away from fossil fuels and toward renewables; particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
Our guiding principles include: working collaboratively, bringing together all regions, connecting adaptation and mitigation, supporting enabling conditions like wider climate action, and promoting just transitions.
We welcome and commit to help implement the COP28 UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action and the Call to Action on Transforming Food Systems for People, Nature, and Climate.
This pledge is part of a larger groundswell of finance mobilized expected to buoy the agenda on food and climate. This includes:
Philanthropic commitments for action on food systems and climate announced earlier in the COP28 summit by funders including the Bezos Earth Fund (an endorser of this statement of action), the Global Methane Hub (an endorser of this statement of action), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (a partner with the COP28 Presidency to support implementation of the COP28 UAE Declaration), and Community Jameel.
Complementary philanthropic pledges at this summit on Oceans, Super Pollutants, and Adaptation, and a previously-announced, now scaling platform on Forests.
Over US$7 billion of finance mobilized for the field through governments, financial institutions, and corporate entities, but still falling well short of global needs.
Further finance and resource mobilization is on the horizon thanks to a host of new enabling factors, which will help to reduce risk and align resources. These include:
A Technical Cooperation Collaborative to support implementation of the COP28 UAE Declaration, including the World Bank, the CGIAR, Agra, GAIN, Norway, the UAE, the U.S., and the Netherlands.