Blogs, Environment

Creating a more equitable COP: Sharing experiences and next steps for future cohorts

This is the third and final installment in our series “Creating a more equitable COP.” In part one, we looked at the barriers facing civil society and Global South presence at COP. In part two we explored the lessons we learned from bringing a cohort of delegates to COP27.

The Global Alliance sponsored and supported a group of 30 diverse food systems leaders from across Africa, Asia, and the Americas to attend COP27 in Egypt. A post-summit survey and debrief call helped us to better understand the COP27 experiences of these delegates—reflections that will support the Global Alliance and partners to refine our strategy to increase impact in global fora more generally, and specifically at COP28. 

Delegates said participating in COP helped them to build meaningful networks and deepen engagement among stakeholders, learn across global and local contexts, and play a more active role in conversations and advocacy. 

Here are three experiences shared by the Global Alliance COP27 cohort:

  • Babacar Mbaye and his organization, Action Solidaire International, met with the Senegalese Minister of Agriculture for several hours in Sharm el-Sheikh. Arranging a meeting had not been possible in Senegal, but the international fora provided a different setting and opportunity for such discussions. The outcome of the conversation was an agreement from the Ministry to support the organization’s efforts to train youth on agroecology in the country.
  • Monica Yator, founder of Indigenous Women and Girls Initiative in Kenya, shared that following COP27, the organization received a few expressions of interest from donors. The initiative will also be partnering with the World Wildlife Fund and Agroecology Fund to help them transition to agroecology from a biodiversity conservation and food security perspective. WWF already has a programmatic area focusing on food and agriculture, so there is much opportunity here. Getting the buy-in of large organizations is especially critical as the conventional farming industry tries to undermine the efficacy of agroecological approaches which are relied upon by rural women.
  • Richard Kachungu is the co-founder of the Young Emerging Farmers Initiative (YEFI) in Zambia. YEFI works to advance youth involvement in food systems and climate action. Attending COP27 presented an opportunity for Richard to connect with a climate finance expert from the Zambian government. That official shared a calendar of the climate finance negotiations taking place nationally so YEFI could attend as an observer. This time to build relationships with government policymakers was useful for Richard and other delegates.

Strength comes in numbers. In response to interest from the cohort, the Global Alliance will continue to host quarterly update calls with delegates to further solidify the partnerships formed in Egypt. These conversations will be an opportunity to share developments and strategies ahead of COP28, exchange experiences, and ask each other for advice. 

Looking ahead to COP28
Global climate summits are a strategic opportunity for food-focused partners and communities to come together and influence key climate stakeholders. 

COP28 will take place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in December 2023. Our goal will be to underscore the clear co-benefits of sustainable fossil fuel-free food systems based on regenerative and agroecological practices. Our strategy underscores the imperative to limit the global impacts of climate change to ensure resilient food systems. 

At COP28, the Global Alliance plans to support the participation of diverse frontline food systems leaders, including smallholder farmers, fishers, social entrepreneurs, and community leaders. Similar to in 2022, this will include a call for applications for leaders who would benefit from travel and logistical support, as well as exchanging strategies ahead of and during the summit. We hope some delegates from the COP27 cohort will also be able to join, building on their experiences in Sharm el-Sheikh. 

We are in the midst of finalizing our criteria for this second COP cohort and plan to announce details to our networks in the coming months. In particular, the Global Alliance aims to support:

  • Smallholder farmers, women, and youth to share their perspectives and lived experiences on panels and in media interviews; 
  • Food systems leaders who represent multiple networks in their country or region and are ready to engage in national advocacy;
  • Representatives from the health and nutrition sectors, as well as individuals who can speak to the challenges and opportunities at the food-energy nexus. 

Thank you to the COP27 Global Alliance cohort—please click through each link to learn more.

African region

The Americas


– Ends

Vivian Maduekeh
Program Coordinator: Climate and Health