COP27: Food In Focus

COP27 logo on Wonky Box

Leaders from 190 countries worldwide met in November 22 in the Egyptian town of Sharm el Sheikh and discussed actions to combat climate change. After the conference ran into overtime, forward-thinking agreements were forged however some areas of negotiation fell far short of expectation.

A headline hitting deal was struck after an agreement was made to provide developing countries with a secure fund to support the victims of climate disasters. However, as the talks came to an end, there was no plan place to reduce fossil fuel use and cut emissions. For this reason, feel COP27 was not a success.

A turning point for food systems

For the first time in the history of COP (Conference of the Parties) broached the subject of food, nature-based solutions and the right to a healthy environment. During a roundtable discussion on “Food Security”, it was highlighted that due to climate change there has been a break down in food systems and an increase in food insecurity. Global food demand continues to grow and it's predicted that by 2050 the world's population will hit 9.6 billion people. In 2021, 820 million people suffered from hunger whilst climate change continues to have a huge impact on agricultural land and livestock productivity.

"Besides being vulnerable to the impact of climate change, food systems are also a major contributor to GHG emissions (about one third of global emissions). Hence, it is imperative that food systems evolve to sustainably meet the growing demand globally” reads the report.

Cornfields within food waste & COP27 blog

It was recognised that there has been new innovation aimed at tackling our broken food chain but more work is needed to create a sustainably viable system. These three areas of focus were highlighted to aid the repair of the food system:

Produce climate smart/sustainable ways that will continue to improve productivity while lowering emissions and enhancing the resilience of food production to extreme weather and shocks

Reduce food loss (currently ~33% of global food production) across harvesting, transportation and consumption stages; and enhancing access to cold chains

Shaping demand for food towards diets that can remain within planetary boundaries, including lowering meat consumption, developing alternatives, and spurring the shift towards more native plants, crops and grains (thus reducing the current reliance on wheat, maize, rice, potatoes and increasing the resilience of cultivations)