Food systems transformation toolkit launched to support countries in taking ambitious and impactful climate action

Posted on December, 10 2023

UAE COP28 Presidency taskforce develops guidance for policymakers to incorporate actions on food production, consumption and loss and waste in NDCs and NAPs

10 December 2023 - A comprehensive toolkit to help national policymakers translate global climate and food commitments into local actions has been launched today, as part of the COP28 Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda. The COP28 Agriculture, Food and Climate Action Toolkit was produced by a taskforce - which included WWF, Global Alliance for the Future of Food, Climate Focus, NDC Partnership, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of United Nations, CGIAR and the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT - convened by the UAE COP28 Presidency and will be a valuable resource for countries as they transform their food systems to both mitigate and adapt to climate change.


The COP28 Agriculture, Food and Climate Action Toolkit directly supports the Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate Action. The opportunity for the Declaration’s signatories to translate their commitments into ambitious national-level action lies in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). The toolkit identifies six priorities for policymakers to incorporate in updated NDCs and NAPs, provides a series of case studies from countries already integrating food systems actions in their national climate plans, and gives an overview of existing resources that can enable the enhancement, replication and scaling of successful practices.


João Campari, Global Food Practice Leader, WWF said: “While negotiators are struggling to agree on the importance of food systems transformation to the Global Stocktake, more than 130 national leaders have stepped up and voluntarily committed to incorporating actions on food in their climate plans, by signing the Emirates Declaration on food. It’s imperative that these promises deliver action on the ground and in the water, to preserve the natural resources on which we all depend. The COP28 Agriculture, Food and Climate Action Toolkit provides guidance that can help countries mobilise as quickly as possible and help limit the impacts of climate change, locally, nationally and regionally.”


Julia Wolf, Natural Resources Officer, FAO, Office of Climate Change, Biodiversity, and Environment, commented: “NDCs and NAPs represent high-level blue prints for climate action in countries across the world where the role of the agriculture and land use sectors proves critical in achieving our global temperature and adaptation goals. FAO stands ready to support its Member States to translate their NDCs and NAPs into actionable policies, projects and investments that can transform agrifood systems in a way that is sustainable, resilient and inclusive. The COP28 Toolkit draws upon the expertise and experience of leading organizations in the field and will certainly be an important asset for governments to rely on when implementing the Emirates Declaration.”


Priority actions identified in the Toolkit include shifting to nature-positive food production, reducing and repurposing food loss and waste, and transitioning to nutritious and healthy diets. Only a combination of these actions will bring food-based greenhouse gas emissions within a 1.5 degrees Celsius carbon budget, and ensure that food producers can adapt to changes in what, where and how they can grow and harvest food.


Although most countries have introduced at least one food-based measure in their NDCs and NAPs, many continue to face significant challenges in holistically integrating and implementing food system measures. Most countries focus on food production, with a limited number including actions on food loss and waste, and only a handful considering consumption and diets. By identifying good examples from different parts of the world, the toolkit will support policymakers in introducing additional measures that will deliver the most impact in their own context.

Patty Fong, Program Director at the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, said: "We believe that the omission of fossil fuels from the Emirates Declaration on food, despite food systems contributing to at least 15% of annual fossil fuel consumption, is a missed opportunity. We hope that this toolkit, aimed at assisting countries in decoupling their food systems from fossil fuels, will provide valuable guidance and enhance the ambition of NDCs."

Juan Lucas Restrepo, Global Director of Partnerships and Advocacy at CGIAR, and the DG of the Alliance of Bioversity & CIAT added: “The NDCs are the benchmarks against which we measure progress towards meeting the Paris agreement, hold ourselves accountable and inspire collective action. As we approach the revision of these commitments, it is crucial that the next round of targets is based on evidence. This will not only enhance the credibility of countries’ commitments but also avoid unintended consequences on food security and nutrition. Science helps us understand the intricate connections between our food systems and climate, so that we can make informed decisions that drive positive change.”

The other priority actions identified in the Toolkit are to ensure participatory and integrated approaches to governance at all levels in order to address the structural inequities in food systems; to leverage public and private finance for climate actions    in food systems; and to  ensure an equitable, inclusive, and just transition by accounting for the true costs    and benefits of food systems for climate action.


By equipping policymakers and other key stakeholders with a useful set of knowledge assets, the Toolkit specifically aims to support countries in aligning food, climate and nature goals. It can help strengthen the integration and alignment of NDCs and NAPs with National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plans, under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, and national food systems transformation pathways, developed as part of the UN Food Systems Summit. Greater alignment can enable more effective implementation of resources and accelerate efforts to deliver the Paris Agreement, Global Biodiversity Framework and Sustainable Development Goals.

Hasseb Bakhtary, Senior Consultant, Climate Focus said: “It is encouraging to see the momentum for climate action in food systems continuing to build from Sharm El-Sheikh to Dubai with the adoption of the Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate Action adding to the momentum. But we need to move from commitment to implementation. Fortunately, there are already good examples of initiatives, projects and tools that support the implementation of NDCs and NAPs across the world. This Toolkit provides a selection of these examples that policymakers and practitioners can learn from when implementing their pledges on food systems transformation.”




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COP28 Agriculture, Food and Climate Action toolkit