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Adapt or starve: COP27 highlights challenges and solutions for agriculture in the face of climate change

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Adapt or starve: COP27 highlights challenges and solutions for agriculture in the face of climate change


That sentiment echoed through dozens of pavilions and conference rooms in Sharm el-Sheikh on Saturday as COP27 drew attention to key adaptation, agriculture, and food systems issues in the wake of climate change.

“We need to help rural populations build their resilience to extreme weather events and adapt to a changing climate. Otherwise, we will simply go from one crisis to another. Small-scale But farmers work hard in harsh conditions to produce food for us,” Sabrina Dhore Elba, Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said during a press conference.

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As a Somali woman, Ms. Dhore Elba said the problem was personal: when COP27 started, her country had experienced four failed rainy seasons in a row, a weather event not seen for 40 years.

“I cannot remain silent while mothers, families, and farmers in the Horn of Africa are suffering due to their recent history,” she explained, urging developed countries to mobilize political will and investment that is experiencing severe drought.

“Trillions of dollars have been made available to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. The same is needed for climate change. The same is needed to support sustainable agriculture. This is for the well-being of all of us. it is important for food security,” she added. 

© CIAT/Neil Palmer Farmers in western Nepal are learning how to cope with high temperatures and different rainfall patterns.

Financing for adaptation is essential.

IFAD Regional Director Dina Saleh explained that failing to help rural populations adapt can have dire consequences, leading to prolonged poverty, migration, and conflict.

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“That is why today we are calling on world leaders from developed countries to honor their commitment to provide $100 billion in climate finance annually to developing countries and allocate half of that amount to climate adaptation. Use it for,” she emphasized.

Thirteen years ago, at COP15 in Copenhagen, developed countries made an important commitment. They pledged $100 billion a year to less wealthy countries by 2020, to help them adapt to climate change and reduce further temperature rises. However, this promise was not fulfilled.

Ms. Saleh warned that there was a “narrow window” for the rural poor to survive and protect their communities, and that crop yields could fall by as much as 50 percent by the end of the century.

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“The choice is to adapt or starve,” she said, emphasizing that COP27 is about action, credibility, and justice for the invisible and silenced. 

© FAO/Fredrik Lerneryd Vegetables are ready for an agricultural training session for farmers in Taita, Kenya.

a new move

Clearly addressing these issues, the Egyptian Presidency of COP27 on Friday launched the new initiative on Sustainable Transformation for Food and Agriculture, or FAST, to partner with climate finance to transform agriculture and food systems by 2030. The amount and the quality can be improved.

The cooperation program will have concrete results in helping countries access climate finance and investment, increase knowledge, and provide support and policy dialogue.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), along with other UN agencies, will facilitate the initiative which, according to Zaitouni Ould-Dada, deputy director of the agency’s Climate and Environment Division, will help that agriculture put at the center of To combat climate change.

“The message is really to recognize that agriculture must be an integral part of the solution to the climate crisis,” she told UN News.

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At the same time, while the agriculture and food sector is deeply affected by climate change, it contributes about a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, from production to consumption, Old-Dada explained. agri-food systems

“We cannot continue with the current model of producing food and then depleting the soil, reducing biodiversity, and affecting the environment. No, it has to be sustainable,” she notes.

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