Home » COP28: Resolutions Towards Building a Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems as Bedrock for Climate Actions in African Nations

COP28: Resolutions Towards Building a Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems as Bedrock for Climate Actions in African Nations

by Agritech Digest
COP 28 - Agritech Digest

One of the significant features of the conference was the bold, determined resolutions to addressing climate change, and resolute intentions in building a lasting framework to tackle its effect across all member nations and in their various human sectors.

Oyewole Okewole

The 28th edition of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, also referred to as the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was held at Expo City, Dubai, United Arab Emirates from 30th November to 13th December, 2023.

The conference is the world’s largest decision-making body on climate issues and certainly one of the largest international meetings of the United Nations. This year’s conference took a more audacious stride in addressing the global effects of climate change while also putting more clearly in the limelight the most vulnerable communities and nations.

One of the significant features of the conference was the bold, determined resolutions to addressing climate change, and resolute intentions in building a lasting framework to tackle its effect across all member nations and in their various human sectors.

Climate finance became one of the priority centres of discussion at this year’s conference, with a substantial amount ($83 billion) mobilised during the first five days of the event as declared by the host country. In the same vein, the Loss and Damage Fund was launched as a result of the deal agreed upon on the first day, specifically for poorer and developing countries. Similarly, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UAE pledged a combined $200 million to help smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The fund is to help build resilience and adapt to climate change among the highest community of food-producing farmers in those regions.

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African countries, like other developing countries, still struggle to exercise the expected resilience and also to mitigate the effect of climate change in major areas of their economy. Agriculture and the food system undoubtedly provide the major areas where climate action interventions are required.  One of the key limiting factors to consistently address the effect of climate change and move at more progressive rates as presented by Africa and the wider developing nations is ‘adequate and predictable finance’. Furthermore, the continent’s Chair of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change indicated the six main priorities negotiations at the conference revolved around. They include:

1. Climate finance

2. Global stocktake

3. Strengthening adaptation actions

4. Operationalisation of the loss and damage fund

5. Just energy transition and 

6. Africa’s quest to be granted the special needs and circumstances status.

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The conference made significant resolutions on different fronts, including agriculture and food systems. The outputs from these agreements would serve as part of the primary considerations to effectively reinforce policies along these paths, while effectively building frameworks for successful implementations of the identified policies. African nations in particular are expected to exercise keen interest and discretion to effectively ameliorate the effect of climate change on the agricultural landscape and the continent’s food systems.

Agriculture needs to be more sustained; food systems require more resilience to mitigate climate change effects. As identified, agriculture and food systems are fundamental to the lives and livelihoods of billions of people resident on the African continent including smallholders, family farmers, and other producers and stakeholders across the various agricultural value chains. 

The declaration, signed by about 159 nations including African countries, determined to collaboratively pursue the stated objectives below, while also committing to expedite the integration of agriculture and food systems into their climate action across policy agendas and related actions. 

1. Scaling up adaptation and resilience activities and responses to reduce the vulnerability of all farmers, fisher folk, and other food producers to the impacts of climate change, including through financial and technical support for solutions, capacity building, infrastructure, and innovations, including early warning systems, that promote sustainable food security, production and nutrition, while conserving, protecting and restoring nature.

2. Promoting food security and nutrition by increasing efforts to support vulnerable people through approaches such as social protection systems and safety nets, school feeding and public procurement programs, targeted research and innovation, and focusing on the specific needs of women, children and youth, indigenous peoples, smallholders, family farmers, local communities and persons with disabilities, among others.

3. Supporting workers in agriculture and food systems, including women and youth, whose livelihoods are threatened by climate change, to maintain inclusive, decent work, through context-appropriate approaches which could include increasing, adapting and diversifying incomes.

4. Strengthening the integrated management of water in agriculture and food systems at all levels to ensure sustainability and reduce adverse impacts on communities that depend on these interrelated areas.

5. Maximise the climate and environmental benefits – while containing and reducing harmful impacts – associated with agriculture and food systems by conserving, protecting and restoring land and natural ecosystems, enhancing soil health, and biodiversity, and shifting from higher greenhouse gas-emitting practices to more sustainable production and consumption approaches, including by reducing food loss and waste and promoting sustainable aquatic blue foods.

These robust objectives dictate the paths for agriculture and food system transformation and also indicate areas that need more reinforcements especially as it relates to climate policy direction vis á vis the unique scenarios in the African nations.

The countries also pledged their commitments to achieve these shared goals whilst strengthening collaborations among associated ministries like the Ministry of Agriculture, Climate, Energy, Environment, Finance, and Health, to achieve the objectives and efforts as developed in the declaration.

COP 28 Conference. Source: Scientific America

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In addition, they also pledged to strengthen the respective and shared efforts to:

1. Pursue broad, transparent, and inclusive engagement, and equivalent within our national contexts, to integrate agriculture and food systems into National Adaptation Plans, Nationally Determined Contributions, Long-term Strategies, National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, and other related strategies before the convening of COP30.

2. Revisit or orient policies and public support related to agriculture and food systems to promote activities which increase incomes, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and bolster resilience, productivity, livelihoods, nutrition, water efficiency and human, animal and ecosystem health while reducing food loss and waste, and ecosystem loss and degradation.

3. Continue to scale up and enhance access to all forms of finance from the public, philanthropic and private sectors – including through blended instruments, public-private partnerships and other aligned efforts – to adapt and transform agriculture and food systems to respond to climate change.

4. Accelerate and scale science and evidence-based innovations – including local and indigenous knowledge – which increase sustainable productivity and production of agriculture and related emerging domains, promote ecosystem resilience and improve livelihoods, including for rural communities, smallholders, family farmers and other producers.

5. Strengthen the rules-based, non-discriminatory, open, fair, inclusive, equitable and transparent multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organisation at its core.

It is anticipated that African nations will take expedited actions in this regard to comprehensively address shortfalls in combating the effect of climate change on the already frail food systems, and food and nutrition insecurity whilst rising through the dust by building resilience and ensuring strategies and methodologies to reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.

Oyewole Okewole. Agricultural Project Development Specialist

Cover Image: United Nations iLibrary

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