05 December 2023, Dubai: FAO Director-General QU Dongyu led a delegation during the first high-level segment of the UN Climate Conference COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, carrying the message of agrifood systems as the linchpin to climate solutions.
From addressing Heads of State and Government at the World Climate Action Summit to launching a new FAO report and signing three different new memorandums of understanding, QU Dongyu’s resounding message echoed through various events, underlining the interwoven challenges of food security and climate change. His leadership unfolded through participation in diverse forums, each emphasizing a unique facet of the urgent agenda.
World Climate Action Summit: Leader’s event on food and agriculture
At COP28’s World Climate Action Summit leader’s event on agriculture and food systems, FAO Director-General QU Dongyu advocated for global agrifood systems as essential for climate solutions, emphasizing their role in achieving Sustainable Development Goals and addressing food security challenges.
At the event, Qu expressed FAO’s support for the newly launched Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action, already endorsed by over 130 countries. He said that the Emirates Declaration, guided by the new FAO Global Roadmap on achieving SDG2 without breaching the 1.5C° threshold, are key instruments for achieving the SDG targets under the Four Betters, leaving no one behind
FAO launches report on loss on damage: an increasing danger for agrifood systems
During a high-level event at the FAO and partners Food Pavilion, QU Dongyu unveiled a groundbreaking FAO report on loss and damage, coinciding with COP28’s decision to operationalize the Loss and Damage Fund agreed to be created at COP27. He applauded the initial pledges being garnered by the fund and stressed the imperative to mobilize finance urgently, emphasizing the escalating threat of climate change-induced loss and damage to global agrifood systems.
First Global Stocktake: High-level event on adaptation
At the first high-level event with heads of State and Government on the Global Stocktake, FAO Director-General highlighted the crucial role of agrifood systems in climate change adaptation. Emphasizing the opportunities across crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries, and aquaculture, he stressed that sustainable practices could mitigate the impacts of extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, while fostering resilience in agricultural communities.
Despite these benefits, he underscored that the share of climate-related development finance for agrifood systems has been declining, a trend that must be reversed.
Qu called for increased investment, partnerships, and capacity-building at global, national, and local levels, supporting initiatives like the COP27 Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transformation Partnership (FAST) . FAO fully backs members in their ambitious climate objectives, aligning with their Nationally Determined Contributions and National Adaptation Plans, especially in vulnerable regions like Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries.
Joint FAO/IAEA Centre: nurturing agricultural resilience with nuclear techniques
QU Dongyu participated in a roundtable highlighting the FAO-IAEA Joint Centre’s work on nuclear techniques in agriculture. Stressing the need for real commitments to action, Qu underscored the role of nuclear and biotechnologies in boosting productivity, adapting to climate change, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, aligning with FAO’s commitment to innovative solutions.
Global fight against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR): a call for concrete action
At a high-level side event, QU Dongyu emphasized the need for concrete action in the global fight against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). As part of FAO’s commitment, he highlighted the imperative for practical measures on the ground, expressing FAO’s readiness to collaborate with global partners.
Agrifood system solutions that deliver triple wins: climate, people and nature
At a UN system FAO-led event, Qu urged nations to view COP28 as a ‘game changer’ highlighting the triple benefits of agrifood systems for climate, people, and nature. Stressing the need to turn intentions into action, the Director-General underscored the transformative potential of agrifood systems for efficiency, inclusivity, resilience, and sustainability. He also recognized the UAE’s commitment to agriculture and climate action and called for international collaboration, emphasizing that agrifood solutions are key to addressing global challenges, including biodiversity, poverty, and health.
Health Day at COP28: Malnutrition, Climate Change, and Agrifood Solutions
QU Dongyu led a COP28 side event along with the President of Slovenia, Nataša Pirc Musar, marking the first-ever Health Day at a UNFCCC COP. Addressing the interconnected challenges of malnutrition and climate change, he emphasized that the right to food is a human right. Over 40 percent of the global population faces vulnerability to climate impacts, while 3.1 billion people worldwide struggle to afford a healthy diet.
AI for climate change and other initiatives
QU Dongyu delivered a keynote address on crowdsourcing artificial intelligence for climate change, underlining FAO’s commitment to science and innovation. Additionally, he engaged in events related to initiatives focusing on the restoration of the ecological health of the River Indus in Pakistan, the importance of resilient mountain systems for climate adaptation and mitigation, and the role of finance and science in agrifood systems for transformation and prosperity in Africa.
Strengthening collaborations with Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs)
QU Dongyu sealed collaborative partnerships by signing three crucial MoUs during COP28:
Italy: Strengthening collaboration on climate action in agriculture, the MoU between FAO and the Government of Italy focuses on supporting global, national, and local climate actions and promoting the implementation of the FAO Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan.
AIIB: The MoU with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) centers around boosting rural infrastructure development for transforming agrifood systems. Both organizations commit to exploring opportunities for collaboration on digital solutions, climate resilience, and addressing social development needs.
WTO: The MoU with the World Trade Organization (WTO) reinforces collaboration on agrifood trade and food safety. It broadens the partnership across agrifood systems, trade, fisheries, climate, environment, and nutrition, with a special focus on women’s economic empowerment.
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