25 January 2023 - A boost in investment is essential to transform the world’s agrifood systems to become more resilient, efficient, sustainable and inclusive, while supporting countries with access to climate finance and ensuring that appropriate financial resources reach small and medium-scale food producers.
That was the key message from United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo who was speaking at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) being held in Berlin, Germany.
She was the keynote speaker at a FAO organized event titled Financing sustainable transformation in the agrifood systems: Gaps and Opportunities.
“This event comes at a critical time as the current food crisis is far from over. This is particularly concerning as the world’s most vulnerable countries and communities struggle with increasing hunger in the face of climate and biodiversity challenges,” Semedo said.
She highlighted FAO’s role in launching global initiatives to examine these issues and emphasized on the need for climate finance to transform agrifood systems by 2030. At COP 27 last year, FAO launched the Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transformation Initiative (FAST), along with the government of Egypt, to improve the quality and quantity of climate finance contributions to the agricultural sectors.
“While overall climate finance flows have increased over the past decade, the share targeted to agriculture has been steadily decreasing,” Semedo said. The agriculture and land use sector received USD 122 billion in financing between 2000 and 2018, representing 26 percent of the global climate finance flows to all sectors.
In a positive development, Wolfgang Zornbach from the Germany Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), the moderator of the event, announced that his government would contribute $3 million to the FAST initiative, $1 million a year for three years, to ensure a more coherent approach in global climate change related initiatives.
Experts at the FAO panel event included Iride Ceccacci, Associate Director, Head of Advisory – Agribusiness at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD); Martina Fleckenstein, Global Policy Director Food at WWF International; and Ritsuko Yoneda, Director of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestries and Fisheries of Japan.
They discussed concrete ways in which to promote adaptation to and mitigation of climate change whilst ensuring food security and nutrition, with a focus on FAST’s three pillars, namely: i) access to climate finance, knowledge and capacity, ii) policy support and iii) dialogue.
Iride Ceccaci emphasized the importance of partnerships in realizing the goals of the FAST initiative, and the collaboration of the EBRD with FAO. In this regard, Martina Fleckenstein pointed out that the initiative provides an umbrella and offers several opportunities to address climate change impact. Semedo also reiterated how climate-resilient agrifood system responses are fundamental to achieving the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.
“We are faced with a double-edged challenge that requires a two-pronged approach: addressing climate change impacts on agrifood systems while reducing the carbon footprint of agrifood systems,” Semedo said.