The annual Conference of the Parties (COP), the supreme decision-making body of the UNFCCC, assesses progress on combatting climate change. COPs review what Parties (the countries who signed up to the UNFCCC) have achieved, and measure progress on emissions reduction and negotiate. They are a vital means of monitoring the progress made so far and working out the targets that need to be achieved in the future if we are to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement.
As an observer, FAO attends the conferences, leading and contributing to events, giving a voice to partner countries and organizations and showcasing the technical support and knowledge FAO provides.
The 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) hosted by the United Arab Emirates in Dubai will take place between 30 November and 12 December. The Conference is set to be a landmark event in the global effort to combat climate change and ensure food security for present and future generations.
COP28 brings together world leaders, policymakers, scientists, and stakeholders from across the globe to deliberate on strategies and commitments that will shape the future of our planet. For FAO, COP28 serves as a platform for collaborative dialogue, knowledge sharing, and decision-making on the unique role of agriculture and food systems in the fight against climate change. Agrifood system solutions are climate solutions. At the heart of climate action, they help to build resilience, adapt to climate change and reduce GHG emissions while safeguarding biodiversity and ensuring food security for all.
The 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the UNFCCC was held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt from 6-18 November 2022.
FAO led and co-led events, supporting member countries with technical advice both within and outside the climate negotiations. A major development was the creation of a specific fund for Loss and Damage and FAO will support Member countries to pursue resources available through the new fund and help them to access technical assistance from the Santiago Network.
Priority areas relevant to FAO’s mandate were high on the agenda:
Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transformation Initiative (FAST)
The Egyptian Presidency and FAO launched the FAST Initiative which aims to improve the quantity and quality of climate finance contributions towards food systems by 2030 and to support adaptation and limit global warming to below 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.
Global Initiative on Climate Action and Nutrition (I-CAN)
The ICAN Initiative was launched during COP27. FAO has been a critical partner supporting the COP presidency in the formation of ICAN which recognises that healthy diets are a critical part of advancing climate action.
AWARe (Action on Water Adaptation or Resilience)
The COP27 Presidency, in partnership with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), launched AWARe, an initiative to address water-related challenges and find solutions that support climate change adaptation that are in line with FAO’s work.
Other developments include:
Joint work on implementation of climate action on agriculture and food security and the extension of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture.
The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the UNFCCC was held in Glasgow, UK from 31 October to 13 November 2021. Resulting from COP26 was the Glasgow Climate Pact, which emphasizes the importance of science and urgency, adaptation and adaptation finance, mitigation, technology transfer and capacity building, loss and damage, implementation, and collaboration in climate action. Key pledges from COP26 supported by FAO include:
- African Union Green Recovery Action Plan: FAO is a leader in implementing the priority area of resilient agriculture in this climate-conscious policy aimed at Africa’s sustainable recovery from COVID-19 and towards a secure and resilient future.
- Global Methane Pledge: 109 countries committed to reducing overall methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030 (baseline 2020 levels). Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, and 40% of methane emissions are contributed by the agricultural sector. FAO is strongly positioned to support countries in implementing this voluntary pledge, with significant experience and expertise in managing and reducing methane emissions in the agricultural sector (Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock, Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance (LEAP), , Dairy Net Zero Initiative).
- Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use: This programme intends to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030. FAO supports countries through LEAF Coalition, ART-TREES, and the FACT Roadmap with the goal of supporting sustainable development in agrifood systems while protecting forests and enhancing mitigation.
- Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate: A joint initiative by the United States and the United Arab Emirates, seeking to address climate change and global hunger by uniting participants to significantly increase investment in, and other support for, climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation over five years (2021–2025).
All FAO COP26 side events can be found here.