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COP27: The Road to COP28 Leads Through Sustainable Food Systems

A crucial start for ensuring that food systems are on the UN agenda in Dubai in 2023


Vienna, 28 November 2022 This year’s UN climate conference (COP27) has made a crucial start on the prospect of food system change being included on the UN agenda for next year’s COP28 as a way to mitigate climate change. However, whilst the first steps have been taken, there is still a long way to go to ensure food system change becomes an integral part of the negotiations.

The event, held in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, already witnessed a major breakthrough, with the UN granting the first ever approval for food system-focused pavilions to be set up on site, including the Food4Climate Pavilion.

As a consequence, delegates from 200 UN member states were able to actively engage with the subject of how food production systems and diets are contributing to large scale greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation and biodiversity loss.

Now that COP27 has finished, Food4Climate partners said they were optimistic that COP28 - to be held next November in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates - will put food system change higher up the agenda.

Sophie Aylmer, FOUR PAWS´Head of Farm Animals and Nutrition, spoke of FOUR PAWS pride at being part of the historic pavilion and what progress is needed over the next twelve months.

“This was a historic pavilion which managed to capture the imagination of the conference. We saw this through the hundreds of delegates who came to the Pavilion and who were finally realising that we cannot solve the climate emergency without addressing food systems at the UN level. And that global climate targets such as those set out in the Paris Agreement, will not be met."

Sophie Aylmer, FOUR PAWS´Head of Farm Animals and Nutrition

Aylmer continued, “The decisions made by global governments tinkered around the edges to radically reduce emissions. While this is a promising start in beginning to recognise the need to transition to more sustainable consumption and production patterns and the concrete agreement for implementation of climate action on agriculture and food security, more vitally needs to be done to bring food and farming policies in line with planetary boundaries, otherwise future COPs won't be fit for purpose.”

Food production is responsible for a third of global greenhouse gas emissions and around 20% of total emissions can be attributed to animal agriculture. For man-made methane emissions, the contributions of livestock climb higher, to around 32%.

The Food4Climate Pavilion promoted, in particular, the need for a just transition away from harmful resource-intensive agriculture and towards fair, healthy, humane, diverse and resilient food systems. Shifting to more plant-rich diets, adopting agroecological practices and reducing food loss and waste will be key in making such a transition happen. Crucially, the Pavilion partners pointed out that no-one should be left behind, including small-scale farmers, youth, Indigenous People, and women.

While this year’s climate talks certainly helped raise awareness about the importance of food systems, the negotiated outputs hardly reflect this trend. The final conclusion on the UN’s main framework for discussing the role of food and agriculture in global warming – the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture – crucially lacks ambition and omits the need for consumption changes altogether.

Partners will therefore be looking to establish another pavilion at next year’s summit, COP28, in Dubai, in order to push for more ambitious action on food systems change.

Raphaël Podselver, spokesman for the Food4Climate Pavilion, said, “Our presence will be even stronger next time, having familiarised the subject of food system change with so many delegates. We look forward to seeing the Dubai climate talk text highlight the necessity to shift to more sustainable food systems as an urgent way to mitigate climate change,” Podselver said.

About the Food4Climate Pavilion

Food4Climate Pavilion will aim to present food systems transformation as a key mitigation and adaptation solution to the climate crisis at this year’s COP27 conference in Egypt in November.

The Pavilion’s diverse stakeholders highlight the rich plurality of actors and factors shaping our food systems. With a strong focus on Just Transition, the programme will explore multiple perspectives and concrete ways to create inclusive mechanisms for leveraging the potential of plant-rich diets to make our food systems more sustainable and equitable.

Core organisers of the Food4Climate Pavilion: A Well-Fed World, Compassion in World Farming, Food Tank, FOUR PAWS, The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES Food), ProVeg International.

NGO partners are: 50by40, A Well-Fed World, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, Center for Earth Ethics, Compassion in World Farming, Jeremy Coller Foundation, FOUR PAWS, Humane Society International, MENA Youth Network, ProVeg International, World Animal Protection, Youth Loves Egypt and YOUNGO.

Think tank partners are: Brighter Green, Food Tank, The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES Food)

Food industry partners are: Enough, Impossible Foods, Oatly, Upfield

Food Tank 

  • The Food4Climate gave us a tremendous opportunity to highlight the role food and agriculture systems have as a solution to the climate crisis. And the Pavilion helped shine a spotlight on dozens of organisations building momentum around the role of youth, Indigenous Peoples, and farmers in improving how we produce and consume food. These partnerships, however, are only the beginning and we look forward to COP28 next year in Dubai and making it truly a Food COP!
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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.

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