News, Systems Thinking

Redirecting climate funding for food systems action

To: Minister Sameh Hassan Shoukry
CC: COP27 Presidency; Sustainable Food Systems Advocates
Date: 24 October 2022

Dear Minister Shoukry,

Globally, we are facing the worst food crisis in decades: over 20 million people are at the brink of famine and 345 million people are facing acute food insecurity. The war in Ukraine plus extreme weather have revealed the fragility and inequality in the global food systems on which we rely. Clearly, these food systems are not meeting people’s most basic needs. The need to change how we produce, trade and consume food has never been clearer or more urgent – especially in the context of our changing climate. 

We are writing to you as a group of philanthropic organizations funding work on food and agriculture. Food systems account for a third of global greenhouse gas emissions annually. Food system reform offers a huge opportunity to keep global warming below the critical threshold of 1.5°C, and can play a crucial role in climate adaptation while also yielding significant ecological, biodiversity, health, economic, and social and cultural benefits. Conversely, it will be impossible to meet the goals set out in the Paris Agreement without transforming food systems. Governments must act now. 

We urge you to use your position as President of COP27 to ensure food systems get the attention and funding they need, and to collaborate with the United Arab Emirates Presidency for COP28 to make food systems transformation a top priority. The expected launch of the Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transformation (FAST) Initiative is a welcome step, but more is needed. We encourage you to compel all countries to include food systems in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement and to (re)direct public finance to food systems that foster adaptation and resilience. We ask that you call on the UNFCCC to work closely with the UN Secretary General’s office to align the global stocktake process of the Paris Agreement with the global stocktake on food systems. 

Our new research finds that, though food systems contribute a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, only 3% of climate finance goes to food systems action. Meanwhile, only 83 countries include food systems as part of their NDCs. Of those that do, very few explain how they are tackling climate change through food systems transformation, and even fewer demand funding for those actions.

We need to transform food systems to mitigate climate change, but also adapt to the changes that are already locked in. We need food systems that are resilient to climate impacts like drought, heat and flooding, to ensure that people can access healthy, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food. Countries in the Global South are especially vulnerable to climate impacts. To ensure they get the support they need, they should identify climate mitigation and adaptation solutions in food systems, and the Global North should supply the necessary funding. 

Food is an undeniable human right. We have seen recently how fragile our global food systems are, how quickly external shocks – climate impacts or otherwise – can cause food prices to spike and access to food to plummet. We urge you to bring food systems into the spotlight at COP27 and beyond, as the solution we cannot afford to ignore. 

The Global Alliance for the Future of Food
African Climate Foundation
Agroecology Fund
David and Lucile Packard Foundation
European Climate Foundation
Fondation Daniel et Nina Carasso
Ikea Foundation
Instituto Clime e Sociedad
McKnight Foundation
One Earth
Robert Bosch Stiftung
The Rockefeller Foundation
Walton Family Foundation
The 11th Hour Project

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