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FAST at COP27

12 November at COP27 was Adaptation and Agriculture Day. Adaptation and Resilience are of crucial importance, in particular, in developing countries. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports pointed to the fact that we are not on track to deal with current climate impacts, nor are we prepared for the extreme weather events that are increasing in number and intensity and agriculture sectors are extremely vulnerable to climate change.

The events of this day were focused on climate-resilient agriculture. Agriculture sectors require urgent action to avoid putting food production at risk, particularly in regions that are already highly food insecure. In the face of such challenges, efforts are needed in four areas: to enhance capacity, for research and technology transfer, dedicate finance flows and structure and implement ambitious policies. These four pillars are to accelerate climate action within the agriculture sectors to ensure global food security. Key areas of action include strategic research on adaptation and mitigation, technology demonstration to cope with current climate variability, institutional capacity building, critical assessment of different crops/zones to climatic stresses and extreme events, rapid and large-scale screening of crop germplasm including wild relatives for drought and heat tolerance, comprehensive field evaluation of new and emerging approaches, thorough understanding of crop-pest/pathogens and so on.

It was highlighted today that action-oriented measures with added value should meet the needs of small farm holders in developing countries. The availability and access to climate finance at both farm and country levels remain largely insufficient. Small-scale farmers in developing countries produce one-third of the world’s food amidst droughts, floods, cyclones and other extreme weather events, and they only receive 1,7 per cent of global climate finance.

COP27

Egypt launched several effective and impactful global initiatives at COP27, including the Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transformation Initiative (FAST) and Parties could decide to join the most relevant ones. Among others, Hungary joined the FAST Initiative, as the world’s agriculture and food systems (agrifood systems) are increasingly vulnerable to climate change, including through rising temperatures, heat waves, droughts and floods, changes in rainfall patterns and extreme events. The evidence of the impacts of climate change on agrifood systems can be seen in reduced yields, losses and damages and changes in land suitability for agriculture. New pests and diseases appear where they have never been seen before. The risks of hunger and malnutrition are exacerbated among the most vulnerable groups.

The agricultural sector alone accounts for 10per cent of the Earth’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and together with the food industry already accounts for 32 per cent. FAST was launched with the active participation of the Food and Agriculture Organisation as a win-win initiative: building resilience across sustainable agricultural systems will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. FAST can therefore support adaptation and maintain a 1.5-degree pathway whilst supporting food and economic security and become an accelerator and a catalyst to transform agrifood systems. The concrete deliverables of FAST focus on 3 pillars:

  1. Access to finance Pillar: enhancing country capacities to identify and access climate finance and investment;
  2. Knowledge and Capacity Pillar: providing the necessary analyses, developing voluntary guidelines and supporting capacity development;
  3. Policy Supports and Dialogues Pillar: ensuring agrifood systems are fully embedded in climate change policies, such as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), National Adaptation Plans (NAP) or Long- term Low Emissions and Development Strategies (LT-LEDS). Currently, only 32 per cent of NAPs cover food safety and nutrition-related adaptation actions.

During the day a wide range of activists were also raising the attention of the international community to the high contribution of the agricultural sector to global greenhouse gas emissions.

Photos: Dr Barbara Botos.

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