Transforming agriculture is not just good for the environment, it’s essential in a post-pandemic world. And innovation will be more important than ever to make it happen.
This piece was originally published by FCDO Research on Medium.
The UK COP26 Nature Campaign includes a focus on Transforming Agriculture Innovation Systems for People, Nature and Climate which was launched by Lord Goldsmith at the Climate Adaptation Summit in January '21. This part of the campaign — co-led by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS) aims to: mobilise and realign investment in agriculture R&D with climate-resilient food systems; develop innovative solutions that meet demands; build evidence on what works; and foster partnerships to bring technology to scale.
Under this campaign, we are calling for global pledges from anyone who wants to see our food systems transformed for a more sustainable future. With the goal to create a groundswell of international support for a new vision for agricultural innovation as we move closer to the COP26 summit which the UK hosts in partnership with Italy, in Glasgow this November.
Why agriculture and food systems? And why now?
There’s more. Taken as a whole, our global food systems contribute a quarter of all global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s more than any other major sectors of globalised economy.
Global agricultural production has tripled in the past few decades, this is a really positive story of progress. But it has come at a cost — soil erosion, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss are disastrous in and of themselves, but they also help to accelerate climate change as we try to feed a growing global population.
Any attempt to reach a net zero world has to address how we grow, process, package, transport, eat and dispose of food.
Making positive changes for people, nature and climate is not as complicated as we might think.
By transforming our food systems and making serious commitments to nature-based solutions to climate change, we can go a long way in getting to a net-zero world.
What action is needed to make this transformation a reality?
Governments in 54 developed and emerging economies spent US$708 billion per year in support of their agricultural sectors between 2017 and 2019, according to the OECD. But only 6% of these funds were spent on climate mitigation and adaptation or conservation and biodiversity.
We need to find more ways of channelling more resources in the research and development of new ways of climate-smart and nature-friendly agriculture.
This is where the FCDO-CCAFS agricultural innovation campaign comes in. We are inviting climate champions — whether policymakers, researchers, smallholder farmers, diplomats, journalists, entrepreneurs, digital disruptors, artists, chefs or students — to partner with us in:
- Opening up new opportunities to increase investment in innovation
- Showcasing business models and public-private partnerships that deliver climate resilient and nature-positive outcomes
- Sharing knowledge of — and building consensus around — the evidence on innovations that can be delivered on a large scale
- Creating synergies among national and international partners
To find out more about the dialogue, pledge your support, and watch a recording of a keystone event from 15 April 2020 “PLEDGE NOW TO TRANSFORMING AGRICULTURAL INNOVATION” follow this link.
Join our next set of events on ‘Building Evidence for Transforming Agricultural Innovation Systems Under Climate Change’ from 26 May, 2021–23 June, 2021 in the lead up to COP26 by following this link: Webinar series | Building evidence for transforming agricultural innovation systems under climate change