IN RESPONSE to the escalating challenges faced by the global food system, the Alliance of Champions for Food Systems Transformation (ACF) has launched at COP28 on Food, Agriculture and Water day.
Brazil, Cambodia, Norway, Sierra Leone and Rwanda are united in their commitment to ‘whole of government’ approaches to transforming food systems so that they deliver better outcomes across five key themes: food and nutrition security; adaptation and resilience; equity and livelihoods; nature and biodiversity; and climate mitigation.
Each country is pledging to:
- Strengthen national visions and food systems transformation pathways, inclusive of ten priority action areas and consistent with science-based targets.
- Update Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), Long-Term Low Emission Development Strategies (LT-LEDS), and National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) in line with these updated National Food System Transformation Pathways and/or Implementation Plans, by 2025 at the latest.
- Report annually on targets and priority intervention areas.
The Alliance comes following recent news from the FAO, that the total hidden costs of food systems amount to an eye-watering $12.7trn — roughly 10% of global GDP. Meanwhile, annual government agricultural subsidies are driving 2.2m hectares of deforestation per year and over 3 billion people cannot afford nutritious diets.
By committing to act across all ten priority intervention areas, developed through a consultative process with leading food and agricultural experts like the CGIAR, Alliance members agree to develop a ‘gold standard’ approach to transforming their food systems, tackling every aspect of how food is produced, processed, distributed, consumed and disposed of. Alliance members aim to improve their national food systems in ways that become attractive blueprints for others wishing to accelerate ambitious action, including looking at food systems holistically, scaling up synergies and confronting trade-offs.
The ten intervention areas are: increasing affordability; improving livelihoods; enhancing resilience; reducing GHG emissions; protecting and restoring nature; scaling up sustainable management practices; reducing food loss and waste; accelerating innovation; advancing gender parity; and realigning public financial and policy incentives.
National circumstances and priorities dictate that some ACF members will exhibit leadership in certain areas. However, all ACF members are committing to make progress against all ten, and action in any given area should – at a minimum – not undermine action in another.
Paulo Teixeira, Minister of Agrarian Development and Family Farming, Brazil, and co-chair of ACF, said, “Peasant family farmers, Indigenous and local communities, forest collectors, pastoralists, fisherfolk, and agricultural workers, are among the populations most harshly affected by climate change worldwide. Yet they are also the central actors who can sustainably transform food systems. Supporting their livelihoods through specifically tailored public policies is essential to achieve an agroecological transition towards healthy, resilient and sustainable food systems.
Brazil joins the ACF as part of an effort to engage in a broad alliance to support a lasting transformation in global food systems as they are key to ensuring a sustainable planet, and fulfilling our multilateral engagements with the UNFCCC, CBD, achieving the SDGs, and implementing the UN Decade on Family Farming (UNDFF 2019-2028).”
Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Minister of International Development, Norway, and co-chair of ACF, commented, “While climate breakdown, international conflict and economic shocks have made our food systems more vulnerable than ever, their potential to become part of the solution to our global challenges has never been greater. The Alliance of Champions gives countries a clear and ambitious framework for doing just that – whilst emphasising the importance of working together to accelerate progress.”
H.E. Dr Henry Musa Kpaka, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security in Sierra Leone, and co-chair of ACF, stated, “Sierra Leone has become a founding member of the ACF to meet the challenges we face through bold action, stubborn optimism and global collaboration. We are looking forward to partnering with Brazil, Cambodia, Norway and Rwanda to propel the food systems transformation agenda forward into a new era – and invite others to join us.”
By showcasing national leadership, facilitating learning, disseminating knowledge and accelerating innovation, Alliance countries will build on the progress made by the Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate Action, inspiring others to go further, faster, raising the ceiling of ambition and shifting perceptions of what is possible.
As part of the launch of the ACF, there will be a photo opportunity at 10.30am, where governments will sign the Terms of Reference. This will take place at the Shared Presentation Stage 3, Third floor, Building 88, Zone B7, Blue Zone.
The ACF will formally be announced at 11.30am at the Al Waha Theatre, Blue Zone, as part of the COP28 Presidency event ‘Implementing the Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate Action’. This event is open to all blue zone badge holders.
ACF is independent from formal multilateral processes, but will work in support of the COP28 Presidency objectives around food systems transformation, as well as broader efforts taking place under other United Nations processes.**