Transforming agri-food systems to feed the world & tackle climate change
FAO Director-General addresses high-level panel on fifth anniversary of Paris Agreement
14 December 2020, Rome – Feeding the world’s growing population while limiting the impacts of climate change will require urgent & radical transformation of our agri-food systems, FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said at a High-Level event commemorating the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
“We need to interact differently with our environment,” the Director-General said, pointing to the need for high-impact action focused on better production, better nutrition, a better environment for a better life . “Let us show nature the reverence it deserves & prepare ourselves to set the table for 10 billion people by 2050 with healthy diets.”
Professor Laurence Tubiana, who on behalf of the French Presidency championed the Paris Agreement reached in 2015, delivered a keynote speech & highlighted that FAO has helped raise awareness of agriculture’s crucial role in addressing the impacts of climate change. It’s now understood that “there’s no reason for there to be a contradiction between food security & the goal of combating climate change,” she said.
Today’s event, co-hosted by FAO & France, featured participation by government ministers, diplomats & veteran climate policy pioneers, including Sergio Costa, Minister for Environment of Italy, Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Food & Agriculture Ministry of Germany, Nick Bridge, Special Envoy on Climate Change for the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary; Yannick Glemarec, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund, & officials representing Chile, Fiji & Morocco.
Agriculture, including forestry, fisheries & livestock production, generates around a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, which must be reduced by 2030 to achieve the goal of limiting the global warming increase to 2°C.
During the event, FAO launched the new FAO Climate Change Knowledge Hub, which brings together a large range of publications, resources, reports & videos on how agriculture, forestry & fisheries are linked to climate change.
“We will only achieve our common goal if we share existing information, new scientific findings & developments,” said Hans-Joachim Fuchtel of Germany, whose government provided 2.5 million euros to set up the Hub. “No country should have to reinvent the wheel.”
The Director-General & panelists emphasized the importance of achieving further progress at a series of events in 2021, including COP26, the G20 & the FAO Conference. “There’s good momentum now, so we can start a new challenge,” Qu said.
FAO is stepping up its support to countries
FAO has long been engaged in international climate policy, & that work intensified after the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture recognizing the key role of the agriculture sectors in tackling climate change, adopted in 2017.
FAO has increased its support to Members to develop & implement their national plans & commitments, notably their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) & National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). This work consists both of direct policy advice & capacity building support facilitating the exchange of ideas & best practices on matters such as agroecology, wildfires & illegal logging through the Thematic Working Group on Agriculture, Food Security & land use.
New FAO programmes & tools launched by the Director-General, including the Hand-in-Hand Initiative & the Green Cities Initiative, are geared to guide & accelerate a climate-smart transformation of agri-food systems & promote sustainable resources management.
FAO has also been supporting countries access resources to carry out projects, & currently administers a funding portfolio of $800 million for 13 projects from the Green Climate Fund.
FAO’s Director-General highlighted the need to support vulnerable places, in particular Small Island Developing States, Landlocked Developing Countries & mountainous regions, noting their rich biodiversity.