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COP28 presidency mobilizes $2.5 bn to support food-climate agenda

Dubai: The UAE presidency of the ongoing climate conference, COP28, on Friday announced the mobilisation of over $2.5 billion to support food security while combatting climate change. 

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has also joined hands with the UAE to provide $200 million to address food security and nutrition challenges stemming from climate change.

The UAE presidency, on the second day of COP28, unveiled the declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action, which addresses issues around global emissions while protecting the lives and livelihoods of farmers who live on the frontlines of climate change. 

The $200-million partnership for food systems, agriculture innovation and climate action, focused on agricultural research, scaling agricultural innovations and funding technical assistance for implementing the declaration. 

The declaration was announced at a special session of the World Climate Action Summit, led by Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia; Giorgia Meloni, Prime Minister of Italy; Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa, Prime Minister of Samoa; and US Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken.

“There is no path to achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and keeping 1.5 degree Celcius within reach, that does not urgently address the interactions between food systems, agriculture, and climate,” said Mariam Almheiri, UAE minister of Climate Change and Environment and COP28 Food Systems lead.

“Today’s commitment from countries around the world will help to build a global food system fit for the future,” she added.

Mint had in September reported, quoting Almheiri, that the UAE would circulate a draft landmark declaration for food security transition to member countries aiming at transforming food systems to ensure that it is part of national climate efforts.

The 134 signatory countries to the declaration are home to over 5.7 billion people and almost 500 million farmers, who produce 70% of the food they eat and are responsible for 76% of all emissions from global food systems, or 25% of total emissions globally.

Endorsement of the declaration will help strengthen food systems, build resilience to climate change, reduce global emissions, and contribute to the global fight against hunger, aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The declaration, the first of its kind for the COP process, stresses the need for common action on climate change, that adversely affects a large portion of the world’s population, particularly those living in vulnerable countries and communities.

“Today signals a turning point, embedding sustainable agriculture and food systems as critical components in both dealing with climate change and building food systems fit for the future. Together we will deliver lasting change for families, farmers and the future,” said Almheiri.

“The declaration sends a powerful signal to the nations of the world that we can only keep the 1.5-degree goal in sight if we act fast to shift the global food system in the direction of greater sustainability and resilience,” said Edward Leo Davey, head of the World Resources Institute, UK. 

“All countries must leave COP with a commitment to incorporate food and food systems fully into their next round of NDCs and return to COP29 and COP30 in Brazil with real progress to demonstrate to this end,” he added.

While food systems are vital for meeting societal needs and enabling adaptation to climate impacts, they are also responsible for as much as a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Many smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries are also facing heightened vulnerability to climate change.

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Updated: 01 Dec 2023, 07:55 PM IST

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