An unprecedented climate commitment on the food system was signed by 134 countries at COP28, but important points were left out.
The declaration recognizes that any path to achieving climate goals must go through food and agriculture. Currently, food systems are among the main emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG): worldwide, they represent a third of emissions.
However, it does not mention the progressive elimination of fossil fuels in food production and the ecological transition in agriculture, two crucial points to help mitigate the climate crisis.
Today, the predominant agricultural system is based on the massive use of pesticides which, in addition to damaging health and biodiversity, worsen global warming. Agroecological systems do not use poison, conserve the environment, guarantee fairer working relationships and support solidarity economies.
In Brazil, for example, agroecology has been practiced for centuries by Indigenous peoples and traditional communities, such as quilombolas and riverside communities. Therefore, the ecological transition in agriculture is urgent.
The effects of changed climate affect production regimes, food security and producers’ incomes. Droughts and floods destroy crops and farming infrastructure. Rising sea levels cause salt water to penetrate groundwater, increasing soil salinity, which leads to reduced crop yields and increased production costs. The effects of this are already visible in the country hosting COP28.
COP28 Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate Action
- For the first time since the start of the annual conference in 1995, food and agriculture took center stage;
- The 134 signatory countries represent 5.7 billion people, 70% of all food, and 76% of total food system emissions;
- 440 million family farmers are recognized as “key to achieving” global transformation;
- In the ‘Oil COP’, the declaration does not mention the progressive elimination of fossil fuels in food production;
- Despite the objective being to promote climate balance and food and nutritional security, the text does not highlight the ecological transition in agriculture;
- It needs to recognize the importance of implementing specific acquisition, research and innovation programs for women, children, youth, Indigenous peoples, small farmers, family farmers and people with disabilities.