For a Safer Earth, Healthier Climate

COP28:Emirates Declaration On Sustainable Agriculture And Food Systems Vague

By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja

The International Panels on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES) has said the Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action” at COP28 – a first-of-its-kind commitment to adapt and “transform” food systems as part of action on the climate crisis is vague.

In its analysis stating the bad and good of the policy, it stated that the language of the declaration was vague and missed concrete actions or targets (e.g. on food loss and waste).

It further stated that the declaration did not commit to shift to healthy, sustainable, diets nor reducing over-consumption of industrially produced meat or transition to more diversified sources of protein.

For the good, IPES observed that National governments are committing to whole-food-system transformation; and to integrate food system action into National Adaptation Plans, Nationally Determined Contributions, and National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans by 2025 (sorely lacking so far).

Co-chair of IPES-Food and senior researcher for Third World Network, Lim Li Ching,: in his reaction noted that the declaration Does not include phasing out fossil fuels from food systems.

“It’s encouraging to see that food systems are finally taking their place at the heart of climate negotiations and at the highest levels of government. We cannot meet our global climate goals without urgent action to transform the industrial food system, which is responsible for one-third of greenhouse gas emissions and 15% of fossil fuel use. But while this is an essential first step, the language remains very vague – and specific actions and measurable targets are conspicuously missing – including shifting to healthy sustainable diets, phasing out fossil fuels, and reducing over-consumption of industrially produced meat.”

Recall that over 130 prime ministers and presidents have today signed an “Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action” at COP28 – a first of its kind commitment to adapt and “transform” food systems as part of action on the climate crisis.

Food systems – the production, distribution, consumption and disposal of food – emit around one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions and consume 15% of global fossil fuels, while being highly exposed to productivity decline and mass crop failures from the impacts of climate change. Yet they have historically been marginalised at international climate summits – until now. Nevertheless the declaration contains no legally binding commitments.

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