FAO in North America

AIM for Climate Convenes Agricultural Ministers and Partners Ahead of COP 28

FAO Chief Scientist Ismahane Elouafi during the AIM for Climate High-Level Plenary Panel 'Breaking Barriers: Insights from Trailblazing Women in Science'

12 May 2023, Washington, DC – The Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) Summit was hosted by the United States in Washington, DC from 8-10 May 2023. The inaugural Summit convened over 1100 participants from 44 countries to announce actions and investments towards the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in November in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The event featured U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and Former Vice President Al Gore, as well as the highest number of agriculture Ministers that have ever gathered in the U.S 

Launched at COP 26 in 2021, AIM for Climate is a joint initiative by the United States and UAE, which aims to increase investments to promote climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation over a five-year period (2021-2025). Since it was established, AIM for Climate partners have increased investment to more than $13 billion, launched 51 innovation sprints, and expanded to more than 500 partners worldwide.   

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) joined the initiative as a Knowledge Partner at the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit. The FAO delegation was led by Chief Scientist IsmahaneElouafi, who was featured on the High-Level Plenary showcasing the crucial role of women’s leadership in science and innovation alongside the US Department of Agriculture’s Chavonda Jacobs-Young and Sarah Kapnick of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 

“Science, technology and innovation (STI) are key in transforming our agrifood systems, as are inclusion and representation. To be transformational, STI need to be inclusive and bridge the gap for women, youth and Indigenous Peoples, said Ismahane Elouafi. She also reiterated that FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031 is indeed focusing on leaving no one behind.  

At the High-level Ministerial on the Agriculture Breakthrough, Zitouni Ould-Dada, Deputy Director of the Office of Climate Change, Biodiversity and Environment, presented key advances in the agriculture sector since COP27, including progress with FAO’s Paris Agreement-aligned roadmap for the agriculture sector.  

We are at the AIM for Climate Summit to talk about the solutions to transform our agrifood systems and meet with the partners that we need to work with. FAO has a lot to offer for climate adaptation, mitigation and innovation,” said Ould-Dada. “The Summit offers a key milestone and builds momentum towards COP 28, where food and agriculture are going to be the center of discussion.” 

The FAO break-out session ‘Investing in Sustainable Agri-food System Transformation: Finance Gaps and Opportunities’ brought together Elsayed Elkosayar, Minister, Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation of Egypt; John Roche, Chief Science Adviser, Ministry for Primary Industries of New Zealand; Aloke Barnwal, Senior Climate Change Specialist, Global Environment Facility; and James Morris, Programme Management Officer, Climate & Clean Air Coalition in a discussion moderated by Zitouni Ould-Dada.  

The session highlighted the FAST (Food and Agriculture for Sustainable TransformationInitiative that FAO launched at COP 27. This multi-stakeholder partnership aims to implement concrete actions to improve the quantity and quality of climate finance contributions to transform agriculture and food systems by 2030, to support adaptation and maintain a 1.5-degree pathway whilst supporting food and economic security.  

At the Summit, FAO also sponsored the Extinction Thermometer, an art installation designed by Benjamin Von Wong and hand sculpted by Dana Waldman, highlighting the connection between climate change and biodiversity loss. Embedded within the Extinction Thermometer are the bones of keystone species from across North America that we stand to lose - such as the Caribou, Grizzly, Sea Otter and Prairie Dog - if the global temperature rises beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius.  

Under the 2022-31 Strategic Framework, FAO seeks to transform agrifood systems to be more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life. The FAO Science and Innovation Strategy and FAO Strategy on Climate Change aim to foster this transition. In October, ahead of COP 28, FAO will convene the Science and Innovation Forum in Rome to showcase science-based actions and innovative solutions to ensure food, nutrition and livelihood security for all. 

Learn more about the outcomes of the three-day summit.