'Huge hope' for Cop28 leaders' pledge on food and climate
Experts have welcomed plans by Cop28 organisers for an Emirates Declaration that will rally countries to shake up their food and agricultural systems.
The declaration is expected to be unveiled on December 1, the first full day of the summit, when heads of state and government will be in the UAE.
It will call on countries to put food at the heart of the climate agenda by linking their agricultural policies to their national emissions and biodiversity plans.
Farming is regarded as part of the climate puzzle because it leads to deforestation and land degradation in addition to contributing to global warming, prompting calls for a rethink of global food production.
“Our food systems unfortunately today are failing us,” said Morgan Gillespy, director of the Food and Land Use Coalition, which is running a food policy pavilion at Cop28.
The Emirates Declaration will “raise the floor of ambition”, she said, with the UAE presidency urging countries to get behind the pledge.
Ms Gillespy said the summit, which has a day dedicated to food, agriculture and water as part of a themed schedule, would see countries making promises on food and climate that “they’ve not done before”.
“If they deliver on it, the outcomes are going to be that we’re healthier, we’re more resilient, we’re more food secure,” she said.
David Nabarro, a global health expert and former World Health Organisation official, said the net costs of food production for the climate and environment could amount to $2 trillion.
“Something has to be done if we’re not going to have more and more countries being bankrupted by the costs of food,” he said when asked by The National about prospects for the Emirates Declaration.
“There is huge hope that this will lead to a rethink on policies around food from the perspectives of ministries of finance, who are going to say that they are so concerned about the indirect costs that they want something done about it.
“The climate context is going to, we believe, trigger a much broader way of thinking about food.”
Another ambition is that Cop28 will light the torch for reshaping food and agriculture policy that will be passed to future summits.