COP27: Adaptation and Agriculture Day


The weekend saw the fourth thematic day of COP27 focused on Adaptation & Agriculture, whereby developments and discussions centred around food systems, soil health, land use and more. The day of discussions has been viewed as critical against the backdrop of a global food crisis. With extreme weather wreaking havoc on crops, raging food inflation and the war in Ukraine, countries across the world are feeling the effects on our global food resources.

Food systems account for about a third of emissions, yet only 3% of climate finance has gone into them, a recent analysis from the Global Alliance for the Future of Food shows. Most of the $655 billion in agricultural subsidies have “insidious effects on either the climate or nutrition goals” so they need to shift, states Sara Farley at the Rockefeller Foundation. In line with this, Adaptation & Agriculture Day focused on how to safeguard the food security of close to eight billion people, and strengthen resilience against climate change.

As well as accounting for the mounting global emissions from farming, the day also brought into account the world’s smallholder farmers, who produce around a third of the world’s food. Despite this, only 1.5% of global climate finance (USD 10 billion) is currently channelled into small-scale agriculture, and just 7% (USD 700 million) is going to value chain actors like smallholder farmers.

Therefore, any progress made would need to take into account finding an equilibrium between cutting emissions without curbing food supplies.

However, there is progress: 13 countries joined the Agriculture Breakthrough this week – co-led by Egypt and the UK – to work together to make climate-resilient, sustainable agriculture the most attractive and widely adopted option for farmers everywhere by 2030.

Additional progress includes The Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) announcing an increased investment of more than USD 8 billion, up from USD 4 billion at COP26 with the support of over 275 government and non-government partners.  AIM for Climate is a global initiative by the United Arab Emirates and the United States. The increased investment is comprised of over USD 7 billion from Government Partners with contributions from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, the European Commission, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Lithuania, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United States, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vietnam, and over USD 1 billion investment from 30 Innovation Sprints. 

The weekend also saw The African Food Systems Transformation Initiative (AFSTI) and 70 African-owned agri-busineses announcing an action plan for directing financial flows to food supply chains in Africa. It will draw finance, philanthropy, multilateral development banks, and private sources, targeting much overlooked agri-businesses and food processors who are pivotal to transforming the food outlook in Africa.

Finally, The Rockefeller Foundation has announced USD 11 million in grants to ten organizations scaling indigenous and regenerative agriculture practice around the world, with Regen10 as a flagship initiative. Evidence makes clear the central role food systems can play in mitigating climate change. The funding will help scale the development, data analysis, financing, and education around regenerative agricultural practices, which can improve global food systems and mitigate the global food crisis.

Climate change is a global crisis which requires a global collaborative response.  

By transforming the way we use the planet’s resources – from the food we eat, to the clothes we wear, and the goods we buy – we can reduce the devastating impact of climate change and limit global warming to 1.5OC. 

Almost half of global greenhouse gas emissions can only be tackled by changing the way we make and consume products and food. Renewable energy alone will not halt climate change – we need to talk about consumption too.  

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