A food systems approach to step up climate change mitigation and adaptation ambition
1 October 2019
  • Sustainable Food System

WHEN: 9 October 2019, from 11:00 to 12:30

WHERE: Salon Verde of the Convention center in Costa Rica


Food systems encompass the entire range of actors and their interlinked activities involved in the production, aggregation, processing, distribution, consumption and disposal of food products that originate from agriculture, livestock, forestry or fisheries; the institutions that initiate or inhibit change in these systems, and the broader economic, societal and natural environments in which they are embedded. A food system is sustainable if it can provide food security and nutrition in such a way that the economic, social and environmental bases required to generate food security and nutrition for future generations are not compromised. Food systems contribute to and are impacted by climate change.

The majority of countries have included agriculture related mitigation and adaptation actions in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (eg. crop production, livestock, forestry, fisheries, and aquaculture). These actions are heavily focused on primary food production. However, pre and post-production activities also contribute significantly to climate change, and incorporating them into climate change strategies will become even more critical as more economies develop. Based on the above, Hivos, FAO, UN Environment, CIAT, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock in Costa Rica, members of the One Planet Network Sustainable Food Systems Programme (SFS Programme), propose to organize a side event to bring this food systems perspective to the PreCOP 25 in Costa Rica. This side event aims to raise awareness about the increasing potential for mitigating and adapting to climate change, as well as for meeting other sustainable development goals, of looking beyond the sole field of primary food production and applying a food systems approach, connecting pre- and post-production activities, actors, processes and sustainable food systems policies. This will be done by showcasing examples of innovative solutions happening in different countries worldwide.


Several key messages have emerged from the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) Report on Climate Change Land Use that support a call for a food systems approach. Climate change is already affecting food systems and food security. According to the IPCC report, while Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) account for 23% of global GHG emissions, broader food systems activities can represent up to 37% (21-37%) of global emissions. Emissions from agricultural production are projected to increase, driven by population and income growth and changes in consumption patterns. Consumption of healthy and sustainable diets presents major opportunities for reducing GHG emissions from food systems and improving health outcomes. Agriculture and the food system are key to global climate change responses. Combining supply side actions (e.g. efficient and sustainable production, transport, and processing) with demand-side interventions (e.g. changes in food preferences and behavior, sustainable diets, and reduction of food loss and waste) will decrease GHG emissions and improve food system ́s resilience. Institutional changes, policy integration, and improvement of governance, including more cooperation between stakeholders, are key measures for successful development of food systems under climate change conditions. These will additionally deliver improved results in addressing other societal goals (food security, nutrition, health, poverty alleviation, etc.).


The side event will show and discuss concrete ways to apply a food systems approach at national and local level to combat climate change. Specific objectives are:

  • To raise awareness of policy makers and food system actors how applying a food systems perspective to climate change mitigation and adaptation actions can be used to drive transformation, and to help policy makers to comply with their climate change commitments and promote food security;
  • To propose new/innovative climate actions that relate to broader food system policies/activities, and introduce concrete pathways for incorporating a food systems approach into different climate change commitments and interventions;
  • To propose the need of possible climate change mitigation and adaptation measures to include and scrutinize existing food systems activities and policies, in light of the Paris Agreement and countries' NDCs.

See more information, key speakers and the full agenda here.

  • Sustainable Food System
Costa Rica