COP28 Calls for Efforts to Ensure Access to Food for All

The just-ended United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP28) has called for renewed efforts to ensure access to food for all people.

A 21-page communique detailing the agreement reached by the nearly 200 countries that gathered in Dubai for the conference called for a collective effort to attain “climate-resilient food and agricultural production and supply and distribution of food.” It also called for an increase in “sustainable and regenerative production and equitable access to adequate food and nutrition for all.”

The Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that between 702 and 828 million people are affected by hunger globally. The UAE Consensus recognized the fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and ending hunger, and the particular vulnerabilities of food production systems to the adverse impacts of climate change. It also recognized the critical role of protecting, conserving, and restoring water systems and water-related ecosystems in delivering climate adaptation benefits.

The UAE consensus additionally noted the urgent need to address, in a comprehensive and synergetic manner, the interlinked global crises of climate change and biodiversity loss in the broader context of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It called for the implementation of integrated, multi-sectoral solutions, such as land use management, sustainable agriculture, resilient food systems, nature-based solutions, and ecosystem-based approaches, in food systems. The agreement observed the need to protect, conserve, and restore nature and ecosystems, including forests, mountains, and other terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems, which may offer economic, social, and environmental benefits.

Over 70,000 participants, including heads of state, government officials, international industry leaders, private sector representatives, academics, experts, youth, and non-state actors, gathered at the COP28 for the conference over 2 weeks. At the beginning of the conference, over 130 countries signed up to the leaders-level ‘COP28 UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action’. Endorsement of the declaration will help in strengthening food systems, building resilience to climate change, reducing global emissions, and contributing to the global fight against hunger, aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

President of AGRA Dr. Agnes Kalibata who spoke at the conference called for enhanced investments in efforts to strengthen the resilience of African smallholder, as well as medium enterprise farmers, so they can deal with the negative impact of climate change and ensure food security on the continent.

The landmark agreement from COP28 also said there is a need to begin reducing global consumption of fossil fuels to avert the worst of climate change, signaling the eventual end of the oil age.

Joseph Opoku Gakpo, Editor-in-Chief

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