Achieving the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement must include agriculture and food systems, a new COP28 Declaration stresses.
Photo: © Sherif Ashraf 22/Shutterstock

Declaration puts food systems at the centre of climate action

Endorsement of a new Declaration at COP28 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).

Over 130 countries – representing over 5.7 billion people, 70 per cent of the food we eat, nearly 500 million farmers and 76 per cent of total emissions from the global food system – have signed up to the leaders-level COP28 UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action at the UN Climate Change Conference COP28 that takes place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), from the 30th November to the 12th December 2023.

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 USA. It addresses both global emissions while protecting the lives and livelihoods of those who live on the frontlines of climate change.

The signatories of the Declaration stress that any path to fully achieving the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement must include agriculture and food systems. They affirm that agriculture and food systems must urgently adapt and transform in order to respond to the imperatives of climate change and commit to expedite the integration of agriculture and food systems into our climate action. 

“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,” said H.E. Mariam bint Mohammed Saheed Hareb Almheiri, United Arab Emirates Minister of Climate Change and Environment, who supports the UAE leadership team.

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.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) welcomes the Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action and calls on signatories to immediately translate their commitments to the Declaration into national action and implementation on the ground and in the water.

“The commitment of world leaders to integrate food systems approaches (combining food production, consumption and loss and waste) in climate action is exactly what we need at a time when a 1.5 degrees future looks harder and harder to achieve,” said João Campari, Global Food Practice Leader, WWF. “This commitment keeps the hope alive, but it must urgently lead to action to protect, sustainably manage and restore landscapes, seascapes and riverscapes that are critical to sustain life on Earth – particularly those being degraded by unsustainable food systems.”


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