Dear Delegates, I am Enric speaking on behalf of Climate Save, Global Forest Coalition and World Animal Protection, members of the Demand Climate Justice alliance.
It is disheartening to witness the slow progress in taking action, despite the overwhelming evidence that immediate measures are necessary.
The IPCC report is clear that if we were to halt all fossil fuel emissions immediately, the emissions originating from our food systems alone could result in a devastating increase in global temperatures, surpassing the critical threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius. The world has demonstrated its ability to act swiftly and cohesively during the recent COVID-19 emergency. We need to channel that same sense of urgency and cooperation into addressing the negative impacts coming from the agriculture sector.
We cannot ignore the destructive practices of agribusinesses that continue to ravage our planet – such as the massive destruction to our world’s habitats caused by factory farming and its demand for animal feed. Large-scale agribusiness operations not only contribute significantly to emissions and environmental destruction, but also push away smallholders and small-scale fishers who are unable to compete, displace indigenous communities, and threaten food sovereignty. It is imperative that we address these injustices and protect the rights and livelihoods of those most affected.
In light of this alarming reality, we urge the new joint work to prioritize the implementation of effective solutions including non-party actors in this work. False solutions such as climate smart agriculture, gene editing and so-called sustainable intensification will only serve the interests of the big polluters in the agricultural sector.
The global north should take responsibility for its historical emissions and take the lead in first reducing their animal protein production and consumption, and support the global south countries to shift towards agroecological practices and safeguard sustainable existing food systems. The global north must start by redirecting public finance to support smallholders to shift towards a just, humane and sustainable food system.
Agroecology, along with dietary shifts – as advised by the IPCC, which identified plant based proteins as having the highest mitigation potential – are urgent solutions to confront these challenges. Agroecology and dietary shifts are not just concepts; they are real and accessible solutions for our communities worldwide.
The time for action is now. We must prioritize the implementation of agroecology and truly sustainable food systems. Let us harness the lessons learned from the COVID-19 emergency and act collectively, swiftly, and decisively.