Dubai, UAE 3 December 2023: The UAE Pavilion at COP28 hosted a thought-provoking convening on “Recognizing the Power of Partnership Platforms to Deliver COP28’s Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda” with HE Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment and Commissioner-General of the UAE Pavilions at COP28, Bill Gates and several global leaders and noteable stakeholders. The three-part lightning panel session emphasized the significance of strategic collaborations, aligning with the implementation of the Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate Action, as well as the broader COP28 Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda.
Moderated by Kristofer Hamel, Head of the COP28 Food Systems Team, the dialogue showcased three pivotal partnership platforms of Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), AIM for Climate and Food Systems Technical Cooperation Collaborative, with each playing a crucial role in advancing the sustainable goals of COP28.
PANEL ONE: CGIAR
Further to the launch of the world’s largest publicly-funded agricultural research network’s new Investment Case campaign, the panel discussion reinforced the need for innovative investments to meet climate challenges, including supporting a farmer-centered, climate-focused research agenda; and leveraging innovation with pre-2030 Global Stocktake initiatives.
Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, Executive Managing Director of CGIAR emphasized the need to continue to invest in science as the path forward to resolving climate change. He also highlighted the need to convene the scientific community, harness the power of technologies in order to best equip small scale farmers with the tools, data and innovations to improve both their crops and their livelihoods.
During the discussion, Rt Hon. Andrew Mitchell affirmed the United Kingdom’s commitment to global agriculture R&D, aligning with continued support for CGIAR, while Dr. Carey Fowler, US Special Envoy for Global Food Security, advocated for aspirational action, confirming the US meeting its $215m commitment to CGIAR, as well as announcing an additional $100m provision over the next two years. HRH Prince de Bourbon de Parme, Climate Envoy of the Netherlands, announced a substantial contribution of $110m over the next two years with an additional $150m to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), with Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, praising CGIAR’s developmental innovations, and Norwegian Minister of International Development and Minister of Nordic Cooperation Anne Beathe Tvinnere highlighting the urgent need for an agricultural revolution, and acknowledging the UAE’s impactful contributions.
PANEL TWO: AIM for Climate
AIM for Climate, launched at COP26, presented Agriculture Innovation Mechanism for Scale (AIM4sCale) and its role in advancing innovations to mitigate climate change, food security, and agriculture challenges.
Professor Michael Kremer, Director of Development Innovation Lab at the University of Chicago and Chair of the Innovation Commision for Climate Change, Food Security, and Agriculture, discussed AIM4sCale’s role in transforming food systems innovation. George Richards, Director of Community Jameel thanked the UAE for supporting the Jameel Observatory-CREWSnet; a climate-resilient early warning system network, with Dr. Andy Jarvis, Director of Bezos Earth Fund outlining the Bezos Earth Fund’s focus on sustainable, alternative protein, as well as reconfirming a significant investment of $57m in food-related grants to tackle the food system’s impact on climate and nature.
PANEL THREE: Food Systems Technical Cooperation Collaborative
The third panel focused on technical cooperation in delivering key elements outlined in the Emirates Declaration, to ensure signatories have access to the technical resources necessary to strengthen food resiliency.
Dr. Agnes Kalibata, president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) congratulated global leaders, and pledged AGRA’s continued support with a focus on strengthening countries’ capacities and unlocking youth engagement and employment opportunities. Francesco Corvaro, Special Envoy for Climate Change commended the collaborative initiative, emphasizing the significance of local country actions to support small-scale farmers in achieving resilient agriculture, biodiversity protection, and fostering public-private partnerships, with Alvario Lario, President of the International Fund of Agricultural Development (IFAD) built on the critical importance of food security, expressing the organization’s dedication to removing insecurity from the food system and outlined plans for collaboration with the UAE during Italy’s upcoming G7 presidency.
Juergen Voegele, Ph.D, Vice President for Sustainable Development, World Bank, hailed the talk as an historic moment, fulfilling last year’s promise to transform global food systems. He reinforced that it is clear there will be no solution to climate change without addressing aspects of the food system differently and a focus on low-methane agricultural investments; highlighting the commitment to deliberate action and support in moving from rhetoric to practical implementation. He called for support to accelerate these vital changes, underscoring the critical role of partnerships in achieving the ambitious goals set fo