COP28 UAE delivers promise on food security, says climate minister

One landmark agreement that was reached is the Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action

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Angel Tesorero

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Photo: Angel Tesorero
Photo: Angel Tesorero

Published: Tue 12 Dec 2023, 5:06 PM

Last updated: Tue 12 Dec 2023, 9:15 PM

COP28 UAE has delivered “unprecedented global consensus and commitment” in tackling food security and sustainable agriculture.

This was the statement by Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment and COP28 Food Systems Lead, on the final day of the UN Climate Summit in Dubai on Tuesday.

“UAE’s ambitions at COP28 have translated into tangible outcomes,” Almheiri told Khaleej Times as she summed-up the 13-day climate conference, noting: “In the first few days alone, the conference catalysed global action on food security, loss and damage fund, and energy transition – all aligning with the UAE's vision for a sustainable future.”

One landmark agreement that was reached is the ‘COP28 UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action.’

Almheiri said: “As we speak, 152 heads of states and governments have put pen to paper and committed to the Declaration. They represent 77 per cent of national governments; speak for 5.9 billion people; and account for 73 per cent of the food we eat; as well as on behalf of 518 million farmers, and 78 per cent of total emissions from food systems.”

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The Declaration will “build resilience to climate change, strengthen food systems, reduce global emissions, and help the global fight against hunger,” she added.

To kickstart the declaration on agriculture, the UAE partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, involving a $200 million investment on agricultural research and innovation. “This alliance is poised to transform agricultural practices, especially in climate-sensitive regions, ensuring food security for vulnerable populations,” Almheiri underscored.

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Another major achievement was the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate), initiated by the UAE in partnership with US. It gained support from more than 600 government and non-government partner and saw an increased investment of more than $17 billion, up from $8 billion at COP27.

Inclusivity works

“The cooperation we have seen at COP is indicative of the UAE’s role as a global convener,” Almheiri pointed out, adding: “Inclusivity works.”

“Only through collaboration – at international, national and local levels – that we can succeed in our fight against climate change. The diverse participation at COP28 – from world leaders to environmental experts, and from NGOs to the private sector has been essential for fostering innovative solutions and sharing best practices,” she explained.

The success of COP28 can be quantified with these concrete results: $3.5 billion has been announced to replenish the Green Climate Fund; $2.7 billion has been pledged for health; $2.6 billion has been committed for food systems transformation; $2.6 billion has been pledged to protect nature; $467 million has been announced for urban climate action; and $1.2 billion has been committed for relief, recovery and peace.

Moreover, $2.5 billion was mobilised for renewables and $1.2 billion for methane emission reduction, while $568 million was pledged to drive investments in clean energy manufacturing.

Photo: Angel Tesorero
Photo: Angel Tesorero

These are on top of the historic agreement to operationalise and capitalise funding for Loss and Damage, which now has $792 million worth of pledges aimed at supporting those on the front lines of the climate crisis. The UAE Presidency achieved this on Day 1 of COP28, highlighted by a significant contribution of $100m from the UAE.

Amplifying voices

“The tangible change in the fight against climate change is only possible through enhanced cooperation and collaboration at all levels,” Almheiri pointed out, explaining: “The solutions lie in grassroots movements, technological innovations, regional collaborations, and in educating our youth.”

“As host of COP28, the UAE has been amplifying these voices, noted Almheiri. “We are the first Presidency to hold an open consultation on thematic areas that became evident throughout the 13-day conference. An example of this was a joint commitment to a gender-based climate transition and providing direct access to climate financing for women and girls.”

Angel Tesorero
Angel Tesorero

Decisive action

The final stocktake report – the pledge taken by world governments under the 2015 Paris Agreement during COP21 to limit temperature rises to 1.5ºC on pre-industrial levels – is expected to be delivered on Tuesday.

In this regard, Almheiri noted: “If the global community is going to keep the 1.5 pledge within reach, then we need large and decisive action.”

She said there must be particular emphasis on accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources, “which is crucial for reducing our global carbon footprint and moving towards a more sustainable energy future.”

“Overall, COP28 UAE has been a pivotal moment to galvanise global action and drive a unified approach to meet the challenges posed by climate change. The conference will be a turning point, with tangible outcomes that will significantly contribute to a major course-correction, allowing us all to deliver on the commitments made in Paris (during COP21).

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