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As World Leaders Gather for UNGA and Climate Week, The Global Alliance Urges Urgent Action on Food Systems Transformation as a Critical Climate Solution

As World Leaders Gather for UNGA and Climate Week, The Global Alliance for the Future of Food Urges Urgent Action on Food Systems Transformation as a Critical Climate Solution 

“If we’re serious about tackling the climate crisis, governments, philanthropy, businesses, and NGOs must get serious about the impacts of extractive agriculture on the climate.” 


15 September 2023  – Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and Climate Week NYC, the Global Alliance for the Future of Food urges attendees to embrace food systems transformation as a powerful tool to tackle the climate crisis and to recognize the potential for food systems transformation in fostering sustainability. With the food system—from farm to plate to landfill—responsible for roughly one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions, the food sector is both a driver of the crisis and a potential solution.

“If we are serious about tackling the climate crisis, then governments, philanthropy, business, and NGOs need to get serious about the impacts of extractive agriculture on the climate, and invest in the transition to regenerative, agroecological food systems,” said Anna Lappé, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for the Future of Food. “This transformation must be grounded in a commitment to phasing out reliance on fossil fuels within the food system, while elevating the central role of the food producers, communities, and Indigenous Peoples who are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis and are the frontlines of change.”

While advancements have been made in the transition to renewables in transportation and other sectors, the fossil fuel industry continues to expand, especially in plastics and agrochemicals like pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. The Global Alliance and its partners see these challenges as central to political, environmental, and economic agendas as the world comes together for the UN General Assembly—and later in 2023 for the UN Climate Conference COP28. 

Patty Fong, Program Director of Climate and Health & Well-being at the Global Alliance, emphasizes, “The only way to achieve the 1.5°C goals of the Paris Agreement is to ensure that every sector of our society phases out its dependence on fossil fuels, including food systems. We must take substantial measures to reduce emissions stemming from the food system across the entire food value chain and unequivocally close every conceivable escape route for the fossil fuel industry.”

Meeting this challenge requires a dramatic reshaping of how food is produced and consumed, and working across sectors and in partnership with those advancing the energy transition to identify, develop, and implement appropriate policies, programs, and investment opportunities. This includes investment opportunities that benefit not only GHG emissions but also other SDGs such as health, poverty, and hunger. 

To accelerate this transformation, we also must adopt practices such as agroecology and regenerative approaches, as highlighted in the 2022 IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land. Additionally, promoting nutritious, sustainable, whole-food diets adapted to local ecosystems and socio-cultural contexts is a powerful pathway to reducing reliance on fossil fuels while simultaneously delivering benefits for health, livelihoods, and the environment. Despite compelling global evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of these strategies, only 3% of climate finance is allocated to transforming our food systems

“All of this must change —now,” said Lappe. “Addressing these complexities means collaboration across sectors and advocacy at the highest levels. And it also means funding from philanthropy, and immediate action from governments and the private sector to support these strategies. We have the solutions. It’s time —in New York this week and at COP28 in November —to act and make our food systems part of the climate solution.” 

The Global Alliance will be hosting a panel on creative philanthropic solutions for food and climate transformation and a reception on 19 September, and co-sponsoring Food Day with the Rockefeller Foundation, WWF, and media partner Food Tank on 20 September alongside the UN General Assembly SDG Summit 2023 and Climate Week NYC. The special event on the 20th will offer global framing for the nexus of food and agriculture, climate, nature, health and finance and pathways for a sustainable, equitable and inclusive food system. RSVP for the livestream here

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The Global Alliance for the Future of Food is a strategic alliance for collective action on food systems transformation grounded in principles of food systems that are renewable, resilient, equitable, healthy, diverse, inclusive, and interconnected. At the heart of the GA’s work are our philanthropic foundation members who work alongside a global Secretariat with our Allied Initiatives, partners in civil society, funder affinity groups, intermediaries, governments, the private sector, and partners at the UN FAO and other global fora.

For interviews, contact: Maria Elena De Matteo, Communications Manager,