The copportunity knocks

Plenty has been written about COP27 but what did it deliver? Press coverage? Certainly. The world’s media descended on the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Headline news? You bet. COP27 made history when developing countries secured a new fund to support the victims of climate disasters.

Is everyone happy with the outcomes? No, in short.

Despite a coalition of 15 food organisations hosting a Food Systems Pavilion, comprising policymakers, scientists, farmers, youth, and more, criticism is levelled at existing pledges and national plans remaining insufficient to reach the Paris agreement 1.5-degree target.

The grassroots movement, Slow Food didn’t hold back when it wrote that solutions put forward to help tackle food and agriculture’s impact on climate change “do not challenge the current status-quo”, confirming it believes “overrepresentation” of the agrifood industry’s interests.

The organisation’s president Edward Mukiibi went on to say financing developing countries to address adverse effects of climate change without addressing the root causes and mitigation measures of the crisis will not help.

“It will only give industrial agriculture giants more freedom to propel their green washing false solutions,” he concluded.

Harsh, as there were positives. The presence of four different pavilions dedicated to food and agriculture, is evidence of progress of putting food centre stage at the very least.

Food is on the agenda, something that can be ignored for a little while longer. Governments now know the global food system has to be transformed from being a cause of climate change to a solution.

The challenge is the pace. The mood at COP27 was reported as subdued. The Ukrainian war, the energy crisis, rampant inflation, all weigh on investors’ and business leaders’ expectations.

To make the food system more resilient and more equitable will require tremendous commitment and money to meet key metrics.

Maybe by COP28 much of the ambition will have translated into actions and the finance found.

The key is not to dismiss COP27 but be realistic – find the opportunities and navigate the risks in a rapidly changing world presents.

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