Dear Delegates, I am speaking on behalf of World Animal Protection and Global Forest Coalition, members of the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice.
The interconnectivity of climate change, biodiversity loss, and food insecurity must be recognized. We must build a food system where smallholders and small-scale fishers live in dignity, one that nourishes communities, and protects our environment for generations to come. Mainstreaming gender-transformative and responsive agriculture policies and approaches to promote gender equity, and acknowledging women’s unique contribution and challenges in agriculture and food security is also critical.
Given this, we are encouraging the new Joint Work to take a holistic food systems approach that considers the social and environmental impacts of both agricultural production and demand; and the co benefits of transitioning towards a humane, just and sustainable food system.
We also encourage the discussion of the new Joint Work to include a Transition Towards a Humane, and Sustainable Food system based on Agroecological Practices that would encompass soil health, biodiversity, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
To meet the Paris Agreement goals, we urge the exploration of alternatives to industrial farming due to its threat to our environment and climate. We would like to echo the other constituencies in their call for a definition of “sustainable agriculture” to be carefully examined. Solutions put forward under sustainable agriculture should be accessible to and agreed together with smallholders and small scale fishers, and not serve the interest of the big polluters in the agricultural sector.
We particularly urge adherence to a holistic approach to agriculture, and avoid references to Climate Smart Agriculture, Nature Based Solutions, Regenerative agriculture, and other approaches that are not properly defined or have proven to be controversial.
We welcome the recognition of smallholders and small scale fishers, as levers of change. Smallholders and small scale fishers should be at the centre of this work, finance should be redirected towards supporting them implementing Agroecological Practices that ensure gender and social justice, food security and sovereignty, whilst protecting nature. In this regard, we call on the new joint work to prioritise mitigation opportunities in the industrial agriculture sector given their social impacts and carbon footprint.
As it stands, our food system is unsustainable, causing hunger, habitat destruction at a terrifying rate and contributing hugely to global emissions. Without seriously rethinking our food systems and prioritizing truly sustainable approaches, we will never achieve the Paris goals.