The COP28 UAE Presidency has taken a significant step in the fight against climate change by launching its Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda. This agenda forms a crucial part of the COP28 Action Agenda leading into this year's climate conference, with a focus on transforming food systems and agriculture practices to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Represented by Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, UAE Minister for Climate Change and Environment and COP28 Food Systems Lead, the Presidency is calling on governments to demonstrate leadership by signing the first-ever Leaders Declaration on Food Systems, Agriculture, and Climate Action during the Food Systems Summit in Rome. This historic declaration invites national governments to align their food systems and agriculture strategies with their climate commitments, including Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), and National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs). It also aims to recognize and celebrate countries that prioritize food systems and agriculture in their climate action plans.
In addition to government involvement, the COP28 Presidency is also engaging various stakeholders in the food and agriculture sector to accelerate existing initiatives. This partnership includes businesses, farmer and producer organizations, and other non-state actors working together to drive progress across production, consumption, food loss, and waste. A flagship initiative has been launched to promote the adoption of regenerative agriculture in large food landscapes, with the support of over 15 leading CEOs and collaboration with the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
The importance of food systems and agriculture in climate action has been highlighted during a joint session on Food Systems and Climate Action at the UN Food Systems Summit Stocktaking Moment, co-chaired by Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri and Antonio Tajani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation. This session stressed the urgency of enhancing the resilience of climate-vulnerable farmers and reducing food system-related emissions to achieve both the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
COP28 Food Systems Lead, Mariam Almeirhi, emphasized the Presidency's commitment to addressing global challenges by prioritizing food systems. The goal is to mobilize national leadership, engage non-state actors, scale innovation, and secure financing to drive transformative change and ensure a sustainable future.
The COP28 Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda launch coincides with the UN Food Systems Summit Stocktaking Moment in Rome. The announcement highlights the essential elements required to upgrade food systems and align them with climate objectives.
The UAE Government's recent commitment to reduce nationwide emissions by 40% by 2030 adds to the urgency of climate action. The COP28 Presidency calls on all Parties to raise their ambition through revised NDCs and fulfill historic commitments, including climate finance, at COP28.
Food systems and agriculture play a critical role in addressing climate change, with current practices contributing up to 33% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The COP28 Presidency emphasizes the need for innovative solutions and investments to scale up agricultural practices that mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts.
Promoting the Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda will involve collaboration with the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub and various partners at global, regional, and country levels. The goal is to build momentum and complement previous climate conferences and food systems processes.
Upgrading food systems to respond to climate impacts is a central focus of COP28's sustainable growth, livelihoods, and well-being agenda. The importance of food systems and agriculture is also emphasized within the Global Goal on Adaptation, which is set to be adopted at COP28. The COP28 UAE Presidency is determined to lead the way in transforming food systems and agriculture to combat climate change and secure a better future for all.