Food, security, climate action
COP27’s Blue Zone saw Egypt launching three initiatives on Adaptation, Agriculture, and Food Security Day meant to serve people, climate action, and nature.
The first initiative announced in Sharm El-Sheikh, venue of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, is Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transformation (FAST), focused on increasing climate finance contributions for agriculture and food systems to support the most vulnerable communities.
I-CAN zooms in on consumption, its means, kinds and effect on health and ways to decrease malnutrition.
The third initiative focuses on women in the countryside, especially in Africa. According to the campaign, women are the most vulnerable group to climate change and their health should be cared for to enhance their ability to deal with climate repercussions.
Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad, who attended the launch of the initiatives, said 2022 has seen an unprecedented number of climate disasters which necessitates putting the topics of agriculture and food security at the heart of climate change negotiations.
Climate disasters serve as a warning to peoples across the world to pay attention to climate change and its devastating repercussions, Fouad said.
Egypt has updated its 2030 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and accordingly climate finance should be at the heart of climate negotiations, she added. She said developing countries need between $140 billion and $300 billion by 2030 and between $280 billion and $500 billion by 2050.
Fouad said some $1.7 trillion were spent on investment in adaptation which will yield benefits amounting to $7.1 trillion in infrastructure. “Today, we must focus on how to produce food, what type of food can withstand the effects of climate change, and how we can preserve it,” she added, anticipating that by 2050 investments will reach $95 trillion “which requires flexibility to increase the pace of climate action”.
Also needed is a change in society’s views on food consumption to serve food security systems. “This will happen if we, the international community, put agriculture and food security at the centre of climate change negotiations,” she stated.
FAST is meant to implement tangible measures to improve climate action and increase financing to sustainable transformation for food and agriculture systems by 2030, Fouad said, noting that the initiative was launched by the Egyptian COP27 presidency in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organisation and a number of NGOs. The multi-partner campaign will work on accelerating the shift of food and agricultural systems into sustainable systems that benefit people and the environment, she said.
The guiding principles of FAST ensure that food security and the diversity of agri-food systems are guaranteed. They also work to empower women, youth, indigenous peoples, and people at risk in the agriculture and food security process, using science and innovation, including local knowledge and practices, the minister said. Fouad said these principles state that collaboration between global and regional initiatives and partnerships is imperative to avoid the duplication of efforts.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 17 November, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.