Glacier FarmMedia – Feeding eight billion people requires transformation of food systems, delegates to COP27 heard.
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Four initiatives to do that were announced at the most recent climate change conference held in Egypt.
The conference noted the past year has been challenging. Thirty-seven million people face starvation in Africa after four consecutive droughts. Floods in Pakistan devastated that country’s agricultural regions, and other parts of the world, including some closer to home, have seen record-breaking temperatures result in reduced crop yields. The war in Ukraine has caused global shortages and price hikes.
Why it matters: Global food security must be the focus of future climate-change mitigation efforts, COP27 delegates heard.
COP27 president H.E. Sameh Shoukry said food systems should be assessed in light of the recent world population milestone.
“We must ensure that our food systems are equipped to provide communities around the world with food that is produced in an inclusive, responsible and sustainable way,” he said. “With 43 million people suffering of hunger each year, this is a wake-up call for implementation.”
He said use of the new initiatives, such as Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transformation, is critical. The new programs involve greater investment to ensure adaptation and food security. The farmers’ constituency attending the conference said agriculture is the only sector that can both adapt to and mitigate climate change.
Countries attending COP27 agreed that the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture, formed in 2017, should continue its work for another four years. The committee has held workshops on climate-related agricultural issues and recognized the sector’s potential as a solution.
The Canadian Cattle Association attended COP27 with two official observers. Past-president Bob Lowe said it was important to represent beef producers who experience climate-related events firsthand.
CCA noted the meeting emphasized the need to look at context-specific food production systems.
Its news release cited a COP27 decision document that noted, “high potential for adaptation, adaptation co-benefits and mitigation relate to land and food systems, such as conserving and restoring ecosystems, improving sustainability of agricultural practices and reducing food loss and waste from sustainable food systems” and positive links to biodiversity and ecosystem services from beef production.
It also said livestock systems are vulnerable to climate change impacts and sustainably managed systems “have high adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change while playing broad roles in safeguarding food and nutrition security, livelihoods, sustainability, nutrient cycling and carbon management.”
Lowe said the beef sector is on track to reach goals on emissions intensity reduction and maintaining biodiversity while addressing food security.
Canada is hosting COP15, the 15th United Nations conference on biological diversity, in Montreal Dec. 7 to Dec. 16.
– This article was originally published at The Western Producer.