Energy-smart agrifood systems for climate action: spotlight onenergy at FAO Science and Innovation Forum (SIF)

Rome– Climate change is accelerating theneed to transform our agrifood systems. With energy being consumed at every stage of agrifood systems, sustainable energy integration is crucial to achieve agrifood systems transformation to accelerate climate action. 

On 19 October 2023, the2023 FAO Science and Innovation Forum (SIF)a key global platform for the advancement of research and innovation in agricultural and food sectors,  hosted a side event on Energy-smartAgrifood Systems for Climate Action” at FAO headquarters, placing energy within this year’s SIF theme, Science and innovation for climate action”. 

Opened by OCB Director Kaveh Zahedi and closed by NSP Deputy Director Chikelu Mba, the event collected insights from seven international experts in energy-savvy solutions in agrifood systems, embracing the World Food Forum theme “Agrifood systems transformation accelerates climate action”. 

Energy-smart agrifood systems: a key solution for food and climate crises 

Opening the session, Zahedi emphasized the pivotal role of energy to transform agrifood systems and feed a growing population while mitigating climate change, and stressed how “FAO considers energy-smart agrifood systems as a key solution to the food and climate crises, to increase access to sustainable energy in agrifood systems through innovative, green energy solutions”, he said, highlighting FAO’s work to “support the implementation of national and regional strategies, action plans, and programmes to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement, and therefore to contribute achieving net-zero emissions by 2050“. 

The event shed light on the need to transform agrifood systems and integrate innovative energy solutions to tackle climate change. The panelists provided practical examples of innovative energy integrations in agrifood systems with case studies from Zambia, Senegal, Asia, Turkey and Chile. The presentations and ensuing discussions aimed to inspire action and collaboration to scale up innovations and accelerate the transformation of agrifood systems toward greater sustainability and resilience.  

NSP Deputy Director Chikelu Mba closed the session underlining the need for sustainable crop production that supplies more nutritious food without affecting biodiversity, through innovation and better resource management. “By contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, crop production is a key driver for eliminating poverty, improving human health and providing energy, food and clean water for all while maintaining natural ecosystems.”  

With the need for climate action becoming more pressing, agrifood systems must quickly adapt and embrace science and innovation. The 'Energy-Smart Agrifood Systems for Climate Action' side event highlighted the critical role of sustainable energy integration in addressing climate change and transforming agrifood systems. While a lot of work still needs to be done, numerous opportunities and examples exist for energy-smart integrations in agrifood systems, and to speed up the progress towards achieving the SDGs, in particular towards zero hunger, affordable and cleanenergy, and climate action. 

The recording of event is available on the WFF Zoom page