World Leaders Expected to Sign the First Global Declaration to Transform Food Systems

food systems

Ahead of COP28 from 30 November to 12 December, the UK will host 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 is expected to 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.

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.

Ahead of the upcoming COP28 negotiations, this advisory will compile food systems reports, announcements, commitments and events to be released in the lead-up to COP28 and at the World Climate Action Summit on 1-2 December, and the Food, Agriculture and Water Day on 10 December, the first time food is featured for a thematic day at COP. See more information on the COP28 agenda here. Please see a list of upcoming opportunities below.

Yesterday, an alliance of farmers networks representing over 35 million family farmers across the globe released new research revealing that small-scale family farmers produce a third (32 percent) of the world’s food yet only receive 0.3 percent of international climate finance to adapt to climate impacts. The analysis also reveals that just a fifth of international public climate finance for food and agriculture supports sustainable practices.

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