Ahead of COP28 from 30 November to 12 December, the UK is hosting the Global Food Security Summit on Monday, 20 November 2023, to galvanize action to tackle hunger and malnutrition.
At the event, a shared call to action for ‘Transforming Food Systems for People, Nature, and Climate’, to be signed by non-state actors (NSAs) in the lead-up COP28 will be announced. The UN Climate Change High-Level Champions (HLCs) have collaborated with NSAs – from farmers and fishers to businesses, cities, civil society, consumers and all those engaged in food systems – to develop this call to action.
The signatories will call for urgent action to address rising hunger and collectively transform food systems to deliver significant, measurable progress for people, nature and climate by 2030.
Statement from Elizabeth Nsimadala, President of the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) and a Ugandan smallholder farmer.
Climate change is upending farmers’ livelihoods on a massive scale. As climate change disrupts our yields, in Sub-Saharan Africa and everywhere else, food prices will increase. With nearly one billion people already facing severe food insecurity, and millions more suffering from the impacts of climate change, we cannot afford to wait any longer to transform our food system so that it delivers for people, nature, and climate.
Today’s announcements from the UK signals that we can change. As more governments commit to transform food systems and end malnutrition, we also need other parts of society—from the private sector, research entities, multilateral institutions, the philanthropic sector, and civil society—to come together and support the adaptation and mitigation efforts of our global food systems.
That’s why the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions, in coordination with farmers, Indigenous Peoples, cities, youth, consumers, businesses and others, have worked together on a Shared Call to Action to raise ambition and ensure we collectively transition food systems to deliver significant, measurable progress for people, nature, and climate by 2030.
Smallholder farmers are on the front lines of climate change. We also produce a third of the food we eat globally and are key to achieving inclusive, resilient and sustainable food systems. We have the knowledge and skills to make this work. The resources that these global efforts can provide are the missing piece.
We welcome all efforts that reach us with resources that can strengthen our operations and build resilience. It is the only way that we can continue.
Statement from Estrella “Esther” Penunia, Secretary General of the Asian Farmers’ Association, a coalition of 20 national farmers’ organizations across 16 countries in Asia, representing 13 million small-scale farmers, fishers, and indigenous people.
The UK government’s focus on food security and support for research into climate resilient crops is welcome. The new research centre will need to work in partnership with family farmers – who are also scientists and innovators – to ensure it meets their needs, is appropriate to their realities, builds on what they know and strengthens their agency – allowing them to retain control over their farms and livelihoods.
It’s important that governments also ensure small-scale family farmers have the support they need to implement existing solutions. Millions of small-scale producers are already making the shift to more diverse and nature friendly practices which the IPCC has said are needed to maintain food security in a changing climate. However they need much more support from governments and funders.
Small-scale family farmers produce a third of the world’s food yet only receive 0.3 percent of international climate finance to adapt to climate impacts. We can be powerful partners in the climate fight if governments and funders ensure we have an equal seat at the decision-making table and direct access to our fair share of climate finance.
There is mounting evidence that agriculture and food systems are both a casualty and cause of climate change. On the one hand, climate change is undermining the resilience of our food systems. Climate extremes, whether multi-year droughts or extreme floods, are affecting every major food-producing region and are threatening agricultural productivity, reducing food security, disrupting food supply chains and eroding the livelihoods of billions of people. The agriculture sectors, which are highly climate sensitive, and in particular — the smallholder farmers who rely on these sectors for their livelihoods, food and income — are bearing the brunt of increasing disaster and climate extreme impacts.
Science also shows that agriculture and food systems have a huge mitigation potential—up to 0.5°C. The Paris Agreement goals cannot be met without food. The way we grow, process, package, transport and consume our food contributes to over one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Left unaltered, global food consumption alone could add nearly 1°C to warming by 2100.
A recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) revealed that global agriculture and food systems cause hidden environmental, social, and health costs worth at least $10 trillion. Despite this, food systems have received only 4 percent of climate finance to date. Additionally, according to a new report released this week, small-scale family farmers, who produce a third (32 percent) of the world’s food and are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, only receive 0.3 percent of international climate finance. Experts estimate that USD $1.3 trillion is needed each year from now until 2030 to put the way we produce, distribute and consume food on a more resilient and equitable footing.
For these reasons, food systems transformation has, for the first time, been made a top priority of this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28). Farmers, businesses, civil society and others will be coming out in force to support the food systems moment.