- COP28’s Food, Agriculture and Water Day saw key announcements on global water scarcity and food security, as countries mobilized behind the COP28 UAE Declaration on Agriculture, Food Systems and Climate Action (the Declaration), now endorsed by 152 countries, and the Water Action Agenda.
- In total, more than USD $7.1 billion has been mobilized during COP28 for climate positive action in the food system sector.
- Major announcements made during Food, Agriculture and Water Day include the launch of a two-year work partnership to COP30 by the UAE and Brazil, made during the first-ever COP ministerial dialogue on building water-resilient food systems.
- The COP28 UAE Presidency and partners also announced more than new 30 country members of the Freshwater Challenge, which commits members to work to protect and restore 30 percent of the Earth’s degraded freshwater ecosystems by 2030.
- The COP28 Presidency, FAO, the World Bank, CGIAR and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) announced the joint Sharm-El Sheikh Support Programme, a three-year support package to help countries to unlock finance and support for farmers, food producers, small agribusinesses and local communities.
Dubai: COP28’s Food, Agriculture and Water Day saw major announcements on climate action for both water and food security and decarbonization, as countries demonstrated their commitment to implement the COP28 UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action (the Declaration).
H.E Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment and COP28 Food Systems Lead, said: “To achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, to keep 1.5C within reach, we must address the connection between global food systems, agriculture, and the climate. At COP28, we have built the foundations for action, which commit 152 countries to transform their food systems, and embedding those commitments in their climate strategies, all the while ensuring they are protecting the livelihoods of those who depend on those sectors. Together, we must build a global food system that is fit for the future. Today marks an important moment in achieving this.”
COP28’s Food, Agriculture and Water Day closed the Presidency’s two-week thematic program. The announcements made during the day follow those made during the World Climate Action Summit (WCAS) on December 1, when 134 countries endorsed the Declaration. Since then, 18 additional countries have stepped forward to endorse it, bringing total signatories to 152.
Reflecting the COP28 UAE’s Presidency’s commitment to inclusion, the COP28 Food, Agriculture and Water Day involved a variety of non-government stakeholders, who were invited to share their perspectives and insights.
This included smallholder and traditional farmers, fishers, and communities who work at the frontline of food system transformation and employ sustainable practices like agroecology, agroforestry, organic farming, paludiculture, and local freshwater management, among others. Private sector leaders also showcased their work in food innovation, nature-positivity, and procurement.
Key announcements on food systems transformation during Food, Agriculture and Water Day included:
The Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM4Climate)
The Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM4Climate) announced an increased $3.4 billion in aggregated funding for climate-smart food systems and agriculture, as well as 27 new innovation sprints. Launched by the UAE and US at COP26, AIM4Climate has evolved into the largest advocacy and coordination platform for increased investment in dual climate-food investment.
Philanthropic funders announced USD $389 million to support food producers and consumers
The funding will help to drive ambitious implementation of the objectives that leaders agreed in the Declaration.
Technical Cooperation Collaborative (TCC)
Building on a USD $200 million commitment from the COP28 Presidency and a group of international organizations and governments to support the TCC, Italy pledged a further commitment of up to EUR €10 million to be made available over the next two years, and the United Kingdom announced a new commitment of GBP 45 million over the next five years which will be channeled through the World Bank's Food Systems 2030 Trust Fund.
Commenting on the TCC, Manuel Otero, Director-General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), said: “This is the right response to the multiple crises we face. The greater the crises, the deeper and more effective the cooperation must be. From the Americas, we also affirm that because of the volume of production and participation in global trade, the agrifood systems of our continent guarantee the world's food and nutritional security. They are not failed agrifood systems, but there is room for improvement. Their transformation must be guided by three principles: farmers must be at the center of efforts, decisions must be based on science, and agriculture must play a key role in climate solutions.”
Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA and member of the COP28 Advisory Committee said: “African leaders have come to COP28 ready to lead on food systems and climate action, as the impact of climate change is already being felt in countries across the continent. This Collaborative will help respond to the priorities our African leaders brought forward in the African Climate Summit and Africa Food Systems Forum. The need is so great that we must best leverage our combined resources and learn from each other in order to come through on the bold vision of the COP28 UAE Declaration on Agriculture and Food.
Call to Action for Transforming Food Systems for People, Nature, and Climate
H.E Razan Al Mubarak, UN High Level Champion for COP28 announced that over 200 diverse non-State actors – including farmers, cities, businesses, financial institutions, civil society and philanthropies – have signed the ‘Call to Action for Transforming Food Systems for People, Nature, and Climate’, a complement to the Declaration. Signatories have committed to take ten priority actions to transform food systems. They have also united to call for a set of time-bound, holistic, and global targets by COP29 at the latest, and included commitments to respect and value the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples.
Convergence Initiative on Food Systems and Climate
The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, announced a Convergence Initiative on Food Systems and Climate, which will support countries in their efforts to integrate agriculture and food systems into their climate action plans and help drive momentum towards the objectives of the Declaration. The initiative is supported by the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub in strategic partnership with the COP28 UAE Presidency.
Agrifood Sharm-El Sheikh Support Program
The COP28 UAE Presidency, FAO, the World Bank, CGIAR and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) announced the creation of the Agrifood Sharm-El Sheikh Support Program, a three-year program to facilitate dialogue and knowledge-sharing amongst global and regional policymakers. The program aims to drive consensus within the UNFCCC process and ultimately enable countries and regions to unlock finance and support for farmers, food producers, small agribusinesses and local communities.
Commenting on the creation of the Agrifood Sharm-El Sheikh Support Program, Ismahane Elouafi, Executive Managing Director, CGIAR, said: “If we act urgently to transform our agrifood systems through the adoption of proven technologies and innovations, we can end hunger for all and grow prosperity within safe planetary boundaries. By pooling our efforts, we can support countries, namely in the global south, to develop and implement their national pathways based on science and evidence. Together, with science, we can.”
COP28 Food-Agri-Climate National Action Toolkit for National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)
A taskforce comprised of the FAO, WWF, the NDC Partnership, Climate Focus and the Global Alliance for the Future of Food launched the ‘COP28 Food-Agri-Climate National Action Toolkit for National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)’. Created in collaboration with the German government, the toolkit will provide guiding principles for governments to enhance their climate policy frameworks and represents a vital resource for countries as they implement the Declaration.
Alliance of Champions for Food Systems Transformation (ACF)
A new coalition was formed by Brazil, Cambodia, Norway and Sierra Leone aimed at helping reorient policies, practices and investment priorities to deliver better food systems outcomes for people, nature and climate. Each country that has formed the ACF pledged to improve their national food systems and build on the progress of the Declaration.
Key water-focused outcomes of the Food, Agriculture and Water Day included:
COP ministerial dialogue on building water-resilient food systems
The COP28 UAE Presidency and Ministers from more than 25 countries convened the first-ever COP ministerial dialogue on building water-resilient food systems, co-convened by the UAE and Brazil. A two-year partnership was also launched under the UNFCCC to assist countries with integrating water and food into their NDCs and NAP, targeting COP30, noting that agriculture accounts for 70 percent of freshwater consumption.
Water and Climate-Resilient Infrastructure Investment Strategy
USD $100 million was announced by Water Equity, raised as part of their Water and Climate-Resilient Infrastructure Investment Strategy.
This will seek to leverage impact investments in climate-resilient water infrastructure to enhance the coping capacity for the most vulnerable communities at the urban water system and watershed levels in emerging markets in South and Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America.
Urban Water Catalyst Initiative (UWCI)
Germany and the Netherlands, together with the EU and other international partners, announced the intention to establish the Urban Water Catalyst Initiative (UWCI) at the UN 2023 Water Conference. The UWCI focuses on accelerating urban water utility turnarounds worldwide and mobilizing finance for performance improvement, climate-resilient infrastructure investment and improving access to underserved population groups.
At COP28, EUR 42 million in funding was announced for the UWCI including EUR 32 million from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and EUR 10 million from the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The COP28 UAE Presidency and partners announced more than new 30 country members of the Freshwater Challenge, which commits members to work to protect and restore 30 percent of the Earth’s degraded freshwater ecosystems by 2030. During the Food, Agriculture and Water Day ministerial, members also committed to progress reviews at the upcoming One Water Summit and Ramsar COP.
The announcements today on water build on outcomes from the World Climate Action Summit. The UAE pledged USD $150 million in funding for innovation to address water scarcity, and eight Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) announced that they will double the number of people benefitting annually from their technical and financial support on water within 3 years.
The COP28 Water Agenda is anchored in its partnership with the Netherlands and Tajikistan. Its aim is to implement the outcomes of the UN 2023 Water Conference.
Commenting on the COP28 Water Agenda and Freshwater Challenge, Stuart Orr, WWF Freshwater Lead said: "the climate crisis is a water crisis and the COP28 Presidency has ensured that water is higher up the agenda than ever before. We urgently need to protect and restore our rivers, lakes and wetlands, which are central to mitigation and adaptation.”
About COP28 UAE:
- COP28 UAE is taking place at Expo City Dubai from November 30-December 12, 2023. The Conference is expected to convene over 70,000 participants, including heads of state, government officials, international industry leaders, private sector representatives, academics, experts, youth, and non-state actors.
- The COP28 UAE Declaration on Agriculture and Food can be found here. It has been endorsed by 152 Heads of State and Government, representing 77 percent of national governments, speaking for 5.9 billion people, and accounting for 73 percent of the food we eat. The 152 endorses also represent 518 million farmers, and 78 percent of total emissions from food systems.
- The founding members of the Technical Cooperation Collaborative partners include: COP28 UAE, Italy, United States of America, United Kingdom, World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), AGRA, CGIAR, GAIN, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
- The USD $389 million in philanthropic funding to support food producers and consumers was made available by the following organizations: African Climate Foundation, Arapyau Institute, Asian Venture Philanthropy Network, Bezos Earth Fund, CIFF, ClimateWorks Foundation, Global Alliance for the Future of Food, Global Methane Hub, Grantham Foundation, High Tide Foundation, Machdoch Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Ode Partners, Robertson Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Sequoia Climate Fund, Stronger Foundations for Nutrition, Walton Family Foundation.
- Further information on the Alliance of Champions for Food Systems Transformation (ACF) can be found here.
- The more than $7.1 billion in new financial resources for food mobilized at COP28 includes:
- Technical Cooperation Collaborative - USD $200 million
- Bill and Melinda Gates - UAE Partnership - USD $200 million
- CGIAR - USD - $519 million
- Regenerative Landscapes - USD $2.2 billion
- Philanthropy - USD $389 million
- AIM4C – USD $3.4 billion
- In addition to this activity, COP28 hosted over 200 events focused on food during the two-week program and set a new precedent for climate-conscious event catering. It sought to align its catering practices with the climate goals set in the Paris Agreement, offering a diverse menu aligned with a 1.5°C global warming threshold.
- As mandated by the Paris Climate Agreement, COP28 UAE will deliver the first ever Global Stocktake – a comprehensive evaluation of progress against climate goals.
- The UAE will lead a process for all parties to agree upon a clear roadmap to accelerate progress through a pragmatic global energy transition and a “leave no one behind” approach to inclusive climate action.