December 01, 2022

Review of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27)

Review of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27)

By: Sydney Sheffield 

The 27th United Nations Climate Conference (COP27) was held this month in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. One of the top priorities during this year’s conference is to reduce the impact of food and agriculture systems on the environment. Several initiatives were announced to deploy this mission. 

The Initiative on Climate Action and Nutrition (I-CAN), an initiative to integrate the global delivery of climate change adaptation and mitigation policy action and nutrition and sustainable food systems to support bi-directional, mutually beneficial outcomes is one of the ways in which COP27 is addressing the food systems. I-CAN is a multi-stakeholder, multi-sectoral initiative that will be implemented with the support of UN agencies and partners including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and emphasizes pillars of action that consist of implementation, action, and support, capacity building, data and knowledge transfer, policy and strategy, and investments.

“The relationship between nutrition and climate change is a challenge, but it is also an opportunity... We must implement the Initiative on Climate Action and Nutrition for a healthier, safer, and greener future for our children and grandchildren,” said Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization in remarks delivered via video feed.

Earlier this year, more than 40 investor groups released a letter calling on the FAO to develop a roadmap to support the transition to more sustainable global food systems by 2050. The Coalition of investors, led by the FAIRR Initiative, a group whose mission is to build a global network of investors who are aware of the issues linked to intensive animal production and seek to minimize the risks within the broader food system, represents a combined US$18 trillion in assets.

Additionally, for the first time, the Interamerican Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) convened the "Sustainable Agriculture in the Americas" pavilion at COP27. There was a panel discussion “Livestock Sustainability throughout the World. Working towards Sustainability in All Regions and for All Production Systems” held at the conference. This initiative sought to gather further guidance to assist producers, who have been heavily impacted by climate change, in achieving resilience through various actions, including the application of good practices in the management of animals, water, land, and other natural resources.

“The narrative surrounding livestock farming and climate change are overwhelmingly negative; we must amend this misrepresentation. Sustaining livestock farming is crucial for food security and the income of millions of people” said Laura Cramer, of the International Livestock Research Institute.

Another event, “Farmers at the Center of Climate Action,” included a panel of food producers who discussed innovative, climate-smart approaches to improve food and nutrition security while enhancing health and livelihoods, improving the environment, and delivering high-value land-based solutions to climate change. During the event, farmers and ranchers shared how they are harnessing innovation and technology, collecting and analyzing data, and using more circular, resource-efficient practices to contribute to meeting the UN’s global sustainable development goals.

President Biden announced several new initiatives, such as:

  • Bolstering Global Climate Resilience

  • Accelerating Global Climate Action

  • Catalyzing Investment at The Scale Required to Tackle the Climate Crisis

  • Engaging All of Society in Tackling the Climate Crisis

Read more about each plan here.