The 2021 UN Food Systems Summit stood as a stepping stone for putting food systems at the center of the international policy agenda. Since then, food systems have never had such a prominent role in intergovernmental processes, as it is now widely acknowledged they are tightly intertwined with many global issues – from social inequalities to biodiversity loss and climate change.
The recent COVID-19 crisis, the Ukraine war, and climate change have acted as additional wake-up calls to reinvigorate efforts toward healthy and sustainable food systems. As a sign of recognition of their key role in shaping the world of tomorrow, food systems thus took center stage at COP15 of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Stockholm+50, and other international summits on the road to the 27th Conference of Parties for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP27, to be held 6-18 November in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
It is no coincidence that the Egyptian COP27 Presidency decided to present its Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transformation (FAST) Initiative at the Bonn Climate Change Conference in June, as the first of its flagship initiatives to be launched in the framework of COP27. This initiative aims to scale up climate action by increasing climate finance contributions to agriculture and food systems. And with potentially several pavilions focusing on food systems and climate change, it is now clear that food will be brought to the table at COP27.
ICLEI’s food work throughout the world puts particular emphasis on the food-climate nexus, with a focus on multi-level food governance and transformation of urban food systems. In its capacity as official focal point for the Local Governments and Municipal Authorities (LGMA) Constituency, and as co-lead of the Egyptian COP27 Presidency’s Sustainable Cities Initiative, ICLEI aims to address climate challenges in an integrated way. This includes putting the spotlight on the role of food systems in building sustainable and resilient societies. Such topics will be addressed across different channels – from the LGMA pavilion to the various food pavilions.
The Egyptian COP27 Presidency made it clear: This year will be all about implementation. ICLEI’s role in fostering multi-level governance for food and climate will support such ambitions – ensuring that we move from pledges to action and pushing for food systems to be embedded into each country’s Nationally Determined Contributions to address the climate crisis under the Paris Agreement.
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