News, Environment

COP26 Statement: Put food at the heart of action or risk commitments


Wednesday, 27 October – Ahead of COP26 next week, Ruth Richardson Executive Director at the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, a strategic alliance of philanthropies, urged world leaders to put food systems transformation at the heart of climate action or risk undermining their own commitments: 

“Today’s industrialized food systems are making us ill and driving climate change yet, with just days to go until COP26, we’re still not seeing food high enough on the political agenda.

“Food systems are already largely absent in the Nationally Determined Contribution plans of the countries gathering in Glasgow next week: out of 8 assessments we’ve done so far, for example, none fully account for emissions associated with food imports, particularly those related to deforestation; only Germany provides a clear commitment to move away from harmful subsidies and to promote sustainable food consumption; and, just Colombia and Kenya have put forward ambitious measures around agroecology and regenerative agriculture.* 

“It is precisely action on food that is critical to restoring planetary health, radically reducing carbon emissions, protecting nature and biodiversity, and also to delivering on goals like gender empowerment, workers’ rights, and access to healthy and nutritious diets for all. Any commitments negotiated next week that lack a systemic and global approach to food systems transformation will simply be inadequate given the vast mitigation and adaptation potential that the sector holds. 

“We have the evidence, we have the science; we have the urgency. Now, with finance, political will, and hope in hand, we need bravery and connected action from our leaders so that we can all live better, as well as sustainably, on this one Earth of ours.”


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*The Global Alliance for the Future of Food is a strategic alliance of philanthropic foundations working together and with others to transform global food systems. We have developed an assessment framework for countries to integrate food systems into their NDCs (expected Spring 2022) and, of the 8 out of 14 NDCs assessed to date, the analysis shows a minority of NDCs submitted to date include progressive aspects related to food systems. Countries under assessment include Bangladesh, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, the European Union (with a focus on national climate policies from France, Germany, and Spain), Kenya, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vanuatu.


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