DUBAI - The COP28 Presidency today announced that 134 world leaders have signed up to its landmark agriculture, food and climate action declaration. Also announced was the mobilisation of more than US$2.5 billion in funding to support food security while combatting climate change and a new partnership between the UAE and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for food systems innovation in the fact of climate change.

The “COP28 UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action” (the Declaration) was announced at a special session of the World Climate Action Summit (WCAS), led by Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia; Giorgia Meloni, Prime Minister of Italy; Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa, Prime Minister of Samoa; and Anthony J. Blinken, Secretary of State for the United States of America.

The Declaration addresses both global emissions while protecting the lives and livelihoods of farmers who live on the frontlines of climate change.

“There is no path to achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and keeping 1.5C within reach, that does not urgently address the interactions between food systems, agriculture, and climate,” Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, and COP28 Food Systems Lead, said.

“Countries must put food systems and agriculture at the heart of their climate ambitions, addressing both global emissions and protecting the lives and livelihoods of farmers living on the front line of climate change. Today’s commitment from countries around the world will help to build a global food system fit for the future,” she added.

The 134 signatory countries to the Declaration are home to over 5.7 billion people and almost 500 million farmers, produce 70 percent of the food we eat, and are responsible for 76 percent all emissions from global food systems or 25 percent of total emissions globally.

Endorsement of the Declaration will help in strengthening food systems, building resilience to climate change, reducing global emissions, and contributing to the global fight against hunger, aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Declaration – the first of its kind for the COP process - stresses the need for common action on climate change, which adversely affects a large portion of the world’s population, particularly those living in vulnerable countries and communities.

“Today signals a turning point, embedding sustainable agriculture and food systems as critical components in both dealing with climate change and building food systems fit for the future. Together we will deliver lasting change for families, farmers and the future,” Almheiri said.

While food systems are vital for meeting societal needs and enabling adaptation to climate impacts, they are also responsible for as much as a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Many smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries are also facing heightened vulnerability to climate change.

Key announcements made at the session today include:

- The UAE and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched a US$200 million partnership for Food Systems, Agriculture Innovation and Climate Action, focused on agricultural research, scaling agricultural innovations and funding technical assistance for implementing the Declaration.
- The UAE is joining the CGIAR, a global partnership that unites international organisations engaged in research about food security, resilience, and climate adaptation.
- COP28 and a group of partners announced a collaborative effort to offer countries quality technical cooperation and to help deliver on the objectives of the Declaration. The partners behind the Technical Cooperation Collaborative pledged more than US$200 million in new and newly aligned support, while also committing to increase coordination across their wider portfolios.
- COP28 UAE, together with the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), supported by the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions, launched the Action Agenda on Regenerative Landscapes. This will see leading food and agriculture organisations join forces to scale regenerative agriculture, transitioning 160 million hectares to regenerative agriculture by 2030, accompanied by US$2.2 billion in future investment, and engaging 3.6 million farmers world-wide.
- The High-Level Champions, in collaboration with non-government actors including farmers, Indigenous Peoples, consumers, cities, youth, businesses, financial institutions, philanthropies and others, launched a Call to Action for Transforming Food Systems for People, Nature, and Climate, in support of the Declaration and to highlight the urgent need to take action on food systems by all actors.

The COP28 Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda has four pillars, covering national leadership, non-state actors, scaling up innovation, and finance.

COP28 is also working with representatives from every stage of the food system and agriculture value chain, including farmers, civil society, businesses, and local governments to accelerate the transition to regenerative agriculture.