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Untapped Opportunities for Climate Action: An Assessment of Food Systems in Nationally Determined Contributions

  • Published on April 17, 2023

This summary report presents the main findings of an analysis of how 14 countries have incorporated food systems into their NDCs, with recommendations for action. 

This report is part of a toolkit that highlights some of the many advantages of adequately and comprehensively integrating food systems transformation in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Food systems not only contribute to and are significantly affected by climate change, but they are also a crucial part of the solutions urgently needed to keep global warming below 1.5°C (2.7°F) by 2050.

The objective of this toolkit is twofold: 1) to assist policymakers and other interested stakeholders in assessing how countries are performing in terms of integrating food systems transformation priorities into countries’ NDCs; and 2) to serve as a guide for identifying and reflecting actionable measures and win–win opportunities for more sustainable food systems in future NDC revisions.

More specifically, this report seeks to inform policy development and implementation, advocacy strategies, and key messages of influential state and non-state climate actors by:

  • assessing issues, entry points, and opportunities for food systems transformation from a climate perspective;

  • developing criteria and an Assessment Framework to evaluate NDCs in view of their efforts to promote food systems transformations; and

  • engaging policymakers of the assessed countries to better understand the ambitions, challenges, and needs to make food systems an integral part of climate change policy-making.

The Global Alliance for the Future of Food (GA) commissioned Climate Focus and Solidaridad to develop an Assessment Framework for integrating positive food systems transformation into countries’ NDCs. The methodology prepared and implemented is based on the GA’s seven interconnected Calls to Action, which highlight critical pathways to food systems transformation, in order to highlight the critical importance and the multiple benefits of including holistic, interconnected food systems policies and programs in national climate plans. Alongside the Seven Calls to Action sit the GA’s Seven Guiding Principles — renewability, resilience, equity, diversity, healthfulness, inclusion, and interconnectedness — which are used as a framework for systems thinking. Although growing attention is being given to the connections between climate change and agricultural issues, relatively little focus has been placed on climate change and food systems more broadly.

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