UN special envoy calls for focus on food at next climate talks to prevent future famines – Times of India

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BATHINDA: The Special Envoy for the UN Food Systems Summit, Agnes Kalibata, has called for the UN Climate Change Conference to significantly ramp up attention to food and agriculture by ensuring COP27 in 2022 has a specific focus on food systems.
Speaking during COP26 Ministerial Dialogue on Adaptation, Kalibata said: “There is no path to 1.5 degrees target without putting food at front and centre in COP conversations. We must talk about food to address the climate crisis and ensure food systems are adapting to climate change and resilient enough to continue nourishing people and advancing prosperity and equitable livelihoods.
“The intersection between climate and food is profound – if we do not address food systems-driven climate emissions, we simply cannot make 1.5 C target; and if we don’t, food systems will suffer the most”.
COP26 has featured several sessions on food-related issues, but they have been largely absent from member state discussions and commitments. The global methane pledge to reduce methane emissions, for example, creates the opportunity for food systems to be a climate solution by reducing emissions associated with agriculture.
While there is still an opportunity for progress in this regard, COP27 focused on food systems would connect the dots for the world.
“Without urgent action on climate change, additional 100 million people in Africa could be pulled into extreme poverty in the next eight seasons – that is more than 10 million people every year to 2030,” said Kalibata. “Timely attention to the food systems will yield real-life solutions to avert further damage to the environment.”
Citing experiences from her assignment as Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the UN Food Systems Summit, Kalibata noted that elevating food systems to the central topic of COP27 will present an opportunity to have some of the difficult conversations needed in the world’s food systems.
The contribution of food systems to climate change, and the impact of rising temperatures on food systems, was a common thread through the summit, which took place in September, with experts compiling evidence and solutions under a dedicated action track for nature-positive production.
Research suggests transforming food systems could release back the $12 trillion the world spends on the hidden cost of food. Redirecting some of these funds could prevent further damage to the environment and to the health of people, and it could instead help rally more pledges for adaptation financing as called for by member states and leaders during the ongoing COP in Glasgow.
She urged wealthy countries to ramp up their support of lower- and middle-income economies in building and funding adaptation strategies.
This call was in line with earlier calls as the meeting started, “At least half of climate financing should be targeted to adaptation” said the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed.
As part of the 2015 Paris Agreement, world leaders committed to jointly raise $100 billion annually by 2020 to support developing countries in adapting to climate change.
The pledge is yet to be achieved, with the highest amount raised being $79.6 billion in 2019, but with projections showing that the target could be achieved in three years with more commitment from key stakeholders. An African-hosted COP focused on food in 2022 is the spotlight needed for the public and businesses alike and of course for the negotiators.

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