2023’s UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP28) commenced in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). With the ever-clearer impact of climate change being brought home the world over, each successive COP takes on greater urgency. Following 2022's COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, we felt we had fallen short of what was needed to gain meaningful progress on this critical issue.
This COP marked a significant milestone as the first conference with a primary emphasis on the sustainability of food systems and their pivotal role in attaining the goals of the Paris Agreement. In addition to allocating a specific day, 10 December, to delve into discussions on food, agriculture, and water, the UAE, through its COP28 Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda, urged global leaders to endorse the COP28 Declaration on Resilient Food Systems, Sustainable Agriculture, and Climate Action.
IFOAM – Organics International was at COP28 led by our President, Karen Mapusua, and delegates from IFOAM Organics Asia and organic farmers from at least three continents representing the Inter-Continental Network of Organic Farmer Organisations (INOFO).
Climate action is significantly veering off course across all sectors, necessitating an immediate transition from mere commitments to active implementation. Our delegates advocated for country representatives to embrace organic agriculture and agroecology in the international climate change policy process. This, combined with a broad food systems approach integrating all aspects and stakeholders along the value chain and beyond, presented a substantial opportunity to swiftly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Such an approach is crucial for maintaining the possibility of achieving a future within the 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature limit.
The good news is that, alongside the negotiations process, the Presidency set the following four key goals for COP28:
- Fast-tracking a just, orderly, and equitable energy transition
- Fixing climate finance
- Putting nature, lives, and livelihoods at the heart of climate action
- And mobilising for the most inclusive COP so far.
The IFOAM delegation did its best to hold the Presidency accountable for these commitments and make sure countries deliver on their ambitions to meet their climate goals. They pointed out how so-called “climate-smart” solutions like the “efficient” use of fertilisers and pesticides would only further entrench harmful industrial food and agriculture systems.
We have successfully included organic agriculture as a sustainable approach to food production that delivers positive outcomes globally in the Non-State Actors Call to Action for Transforming Food Systems for People, Nature, and Climate. IFOAM – Organics International endorsed this call which was initiated by the Climate Champions’ team.