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Over 150 Non-State Actors Signed Call-To-Action Calling For The Transformation Of Food Systems For People, Nature And Climate

At COP28, the Broad Coalition of Farmers and Frontline Communities, Business, Philanthropy, and Cities send a strong message to assembled world leaders and the global community through a shared Non-State Actors Call to Action for Transforming Food Systems for People, Nature, and Climate 


As world leaders assemble at the UN Climate Conference in Dubai, COP28, many of whom are expected to endorse the Emirates Declaration Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate Action, a broad coalition of farmers and other frontline food systems actors, businesses, cities, consumers, civil society, philanthropies, and others have issued a compelling and ambitious Non-State Actors Call to Action.

The Call to Action unites many diverse actors working in food and agriculture around a shared vision and priority actions for transforming food systems. It calls for a set of time-bound, aligned, holistic, and global targets by COP29 at the latest, and actionable, evidence-based, locally appropriate food systems transition pathways to drive further action and accountability from governments, business, and finance actors.

“Transforming our food systems is of utmost importance in our efforts to protect nature, ensure food and nutrition security, and address the challenges posed by climate change. At present, we find ourselves amid a dual crisis affecting both climate and nature, demanding our immediate attention. It is imperative that we respond with a sense of urgency, set ambitious goals, and implement solutions at a significant scale,” said Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28.

“The Emirates Declaration represents a significant milestone in governmental leadership on food systems. As the High-Level Champion for COP28, I am honoured to introduce the Non-State Actors Call to Action. This initiative aims to showcase the collective determination of various stakeholders, including farmers, businesses, cities, civil society, philanthropy, and others. Together, we commit to collaborating on critical actions that can unleash the transformative potential of food and agriculture. By doing so, we aspire to achieve positive outcomes for people, nature, and the climate,” he added.

Endorsers also contribute their Statement of Action to outline their specific contribution to the shared agenda. These include corporate commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from food and agriculture, including methane emissions and setting scope 3 targets in line with 1.5-degree pathways; increasing support for regenerative agriculture and promoting nutritious and sustainable diets; philanthropic commitments to increase finance for food systems; and civil society and research organisations directing knowledge, implementation, and technical support.

“The food sector is unique in its potential to address climate change through both emissions reductions and removals while strengthening food and nutrition security, livelihoods and biodiversity. Danone is transforming our business in line with 1.5°C, with 2030 targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative and Global Methane Pledge and increasing our sourcing from farms that have started the transition to regenerative agriculture. We need a step change in ambition, backed by stronger accountability, and greater collaboration across sectors and stakeholder groups, which is why we are pleased to support the COP28 Non-State Actors Call to Action,” said Facundo Etchebehere, SVP of Sustainable Strategy & Partnerships.

The Call to Action has already been endorsed by more than 150 entities and remains open for signatories up until the Food, Agriculture and Water Day on 10 December, the first time that food will be featured as a thematic day at COP.  The Call to Action was developed by organisations representing Non-State Actors in conjunction with the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions.

The Emirates Declaration, also released at COP28 on 1 December, for the first time, commits more than 100 Heads of State to transform their food and agricultural systems into a climate solution. The Non-State Actor Call to Action complements the Emirates Declaration and calls for its ambitious implementation, reinforcing the vital role that governments play in creating the conditions for ambitious action by all those involved in food systems.

“In recent years, the food sector has increasingly rallied behind a collective call for transformative measures that align with the goals of addressing climate change, preserving nature, and promoting the well-being of communities. The influential role played by civil society in elevating discussions around the intersection of food production with climate and nature concerns is noteworthy. As we convene at COP28, there is a critical need to translate these shared aspirations into concrete global commitments and implementable local initiatives. I find encouragement in the emphasis placed on integrated food systems approaches within the collaborative Call to Action” said João Campari, Global Food Practice Leader, WWF.

“At WWF, we firmly believe that solutions yielding the most significant impact in the shortest timeframe involve addressing the interconnected challenges of climate change, biodiversity conservation, and ensuring food and nutrition security. By adopting this comprehensive approach, we can deliver multiple benefits that extend to diverse stakeholders,” he added.

Additional announcements, initiatives and actions on food systems are expected at COP28, which are all intended to drive measurable progress in the next two years to COP30 in Brazil.

This Call to Action builds on decades of knowledge, experience and advocacy from a wide range of Non-State Actors working on food systems, the UN Food Systems Summits, and various other processes.

“Climate change poses an enormous threat to farmers and food production. We need greater recognition of farmers, with a particular focus on women and youth, as equal partners in addressing this global challenge,” said Elizabeth Nsimadala, President of the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) and a Ugandan smallholder farmer.

“This includes meaningfully engaging them in climate processes at all levels and building their capacity to adapt and respond to growing climate risks and shocks. Eastern Africa Farmers Federation supports the Non-State Actors Call to Action as a shared vision for agriculture and food systems as a climate solution,” she added.

Global food systems have become a focus at COP28 as the way food is grown, processed, packaged, transported and consumed contributes over one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), 80 per cent of biodiversity loss, and accounts for 70 per cent of the world’s fresh-water use. It is also a major driver of poor health and inequity.

“Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities are guarding the future of Mother Earth for the benefit of all humanity. Our Alliance members protect 958 million hectares of land, across 24 countries in which we are represented. The world needs to respect our rights and ancestral lands. If we continue to be under attack, the biodiversity and knowledge we protect will disappear and there will be no food or future for anyone on this planet,” said  Juan Carlos Jintiach, Executive Secretary of Global Alliance for Territorial Communities (GATC)

Food systems are also a victim of climate change, nature loss and conflict. These crises are undermining food and nutrition security and the livelihoods of billions of people. Over 900 million people are food insecure, and over 3 billion cannot afford a healthy diet.

“COP28 has put food systems firmly on the climate agenda. Philanthropy has a key role to play in supporting the food system transition to deliver for people, nature, and climate. I am delighted to support the Non-State Actors’ Call to Action and commend the shared vision and priority actions that groups across food systems are committing to. The Bezos Earth Fund has committed US$1bn by 2030 to support food systems transformation to tackle the dual threats of climate change and biodiversity loss, whilst delivering healthy food to a growing population. In COP28, new grants totalling US$57m are announced which will reduce methane from livestock, tackle deforestation in the Amazon and spur greater country-level ambition and action in NDCs. We will applaud and support brave and bold action by state- and non-state actors to rebalance our food systems to deliver health to people and the planet,” said Andy Jarvis, Director of Future of Food, Bezos Earth Fund.

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