Prinsa Latina spoke in Rome with Maria Helena Semedo, FAO’s Deputy Director-General, an expert from Cape Verde whose work contributes to shaping a new global narrative in which agriculture is recognized as a solution to problems ranging from transforming food systems to managing. from climate change.
He said the world faces complex and intertwined challenges such as climate change, global health, economic injustice and biodiversity loss. All have implications for food security and hunger in the world.
Semedo, winner of the prestigious Prix de la Fondation (Foundation Award) and Gold Medal of the Crans Montana Forum in Brussels, said that common threats require common solutions, in which she realized she is deeply convinced of the importance of food safety, nutrition and sustainable agriculture. in combating the root causes of hunger and poverty.
“To respond in a long-term sustainable manner, comprehensive actions and coherent policies are essential across all agro-food systems,” he added.
Governments, the private sector, local communities, indigenous peoples, women and youth; A prominent Cape Verdean economist and politician, an expert on global development issues, with more than 30 public servants, said scientists, researchers, civil society, and a wide range of community actors are essential in this fight.
He also specified that FAO is working on a strategic framework that “focuses on shifting towards agro-food systems, increased production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life, without leaving anyone behind.”
In this endeavour, he said, we support countries to improve their institutional and technical capacities and provide robust solutions based on evidence, knowledge and innovation, to strengthen international dialogues in favor of the integration of food security, agriculture, forestry and fisheries around the world. The International Climate Change Agenda.
In this regard, he provided an example of FAO’s contribution to reformulating and implementing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that represent commitments made by countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and adapt to climate change.
This includes roadmaps, cost-benefit analyzes, and stakeholder engagement activities, at national and subnational levels, in 45 countries in all regions.
Strengthening the capacity of countries to measure, report and verify emissions, as well as to monitor and evaluate adaptation actions in the agricultural sectors and other land uses in line with the Paris Agreement, were aspects highlighted by Semedo, an honorary doctorate from the University of Alberta. Lisbon, for its work on global sustainable development.
Sharing experiences and good practices
In an interview with Prensa Latina, FAO Deputy Director-General said that this organization enables the exchange of experiences and good practices between countries and institutions through different platforms and increased digitization that provides access to valuable knowledge and science for all.
It also makes it easier for countries to access valuable resources for building resilience, adaptation and mitigation, particularly through access to the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility.
The expert, who was her country’s first female minister, said that both tools provided more than a billion dollars to the Food and Agriculture Organization, as they were applied at the state level: in the sector of fisheries, agriculture and rural affairs, then tourism, transport and maritime affairs. And then a member of the Cape Verdean Parliament.
Semedo noted that in order to involve more people, it is necessary to give a voice to countries’ emergencies in international fora.” This woman, who was awarded by the Government of Brazil the Rio Branco Honorary Medal of Merit distinction, said the chances of putting nature at the root of our actions and reaching a world of 1.5 Degree (Global Warming Limit set by the Paris Agreement) Civil services and virtues.
How does climate change affect food security? How should international organizations, governments, institutions and people respond?
Semedo answered these and other questions from Prensa Latina, who has accumulated extensive previous experience as FAO Representative in Niger, Deputy Regional Representative for Africa and Sub-Regional Coordinator for West Africa.
Noting that one of FAO’s main goals is to work for food security, he noted that climate change affects the four dimensions of food security: availability, access, use and stability of food.
He said there is no single answer to this challenge, and argued that all countries must identify appropriate solutions to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, which integrates key aspects of sustainable development, food security and the conservation, management and restoration of natural resources. He said they are all interconnected.
He appreciated critical transformative agri-food systems that address the root causes of hunger, food insecurity and inequality and the unsustainable management of natural resources, including biodiversity, all at the same time.
We all know that our current patterns of production and consumption are simply unsustainable, he said.
He explained that this transformation must occur in three interrelated ways: changing the way food is produced, processed and distributed across the value chain; Modifying dietary patterns towards healthy diets, reducing disparities and ensuring that everyone has healthy diets.
He also explained how FAO is supporting countries in their efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, for example through the UN-REDD program and with complementary initiatives such as the ForestCarbonPartnershipFacility, the Central African Forest Initiative and the Great Green Wall.
In short, he said, “Transformed agricultural food systems can provide safe and nutritious food for our tables, farms with good biosecurity can prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases that can later spread to humans, and the judicious use of antimicrobials in agriculture can prevent the spread of germs.” .
Agriculture between causes and effects
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, 29 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from the supply chain that moves food from farm to table. Agriculture is known to be a major source of emissions mainly from deforestation and unsustainable animal practices, along with poor soil and nutrient management.
On this question, Semedo emphasized that agricultural emissions are an important component of emissions from the agri-food system, which go beyond farmers’ land use-related fields and activities.
This includes, as highlighted, operations in food manufacturing, refrigeration and transportation, food supply chains, retail operations, food consumption and the disposal of food waste.
However, he insisted, “there is great potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within agri-food systems to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and we must take advantage of it:
Finally, he spoke of the importance of including family and smallholder farmers in all solutions, so all mitigation efforts must also include adaptation co-benefits, food security, and socio-economic dimensions.
Regarding the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the upcoming Summit on Food Systems, the President of the Food and Agriculture Organization noted that the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, called for the meeting to be held as part of the Decade of Action in their quest to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, with less than contract to achieve.
He added that the summit will present bold new actions to advance the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, each of which depends on more efficient, sustainable, inclusive and resilient food systems.
Indeed, evidence shows that agri-food systems are one of the few entry points for making real progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
With regard to the event that preceded the summit, based in Rome, he stated that its general objective is to unite work in a common vision and to initiate work commitments that will establish an ambitious tone in the period preceding the meeting.
What is FAO’s outlook for COP26?
He added that the conference will also provide an opportunity for states and the private sector to commit to a decade of transformation in order to achieve net zero emissions in all sectors by 2050 through more ambitious CDNs.
Our greatest commitment is to achieve a carbon-neutral world by 2050, he said.
He also expressed that at the meeting scheduled for next November, countries should report on the progress of Koronivia’s joint work on agriculture.
He noted that it was a landmark decision made under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which recognized the unique potential of agriculture to address climate change.
He noted that it is about making agriculture part of the solution to climate change, in which case the countries agreed to work together so that agricultural development ensures greater food security and lower emissions. Very important work of the organization.
He explained that this joint work focuses on issues related to soil, nutrient use, water, livestock, adaptation assessment methods, and socio-economic and food security dimensions of climate change in the agricultural sectors.
Therefore, he emphasized that the next steps of the Koronivia process are vital and I believe that COP26 will be a good opportunity to close this process.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Kingdom is supporting the UK presidency, for example, by promoting the global campaign “Transforming agricultural innovation for people, nature and climate”.
In doing so, he said, he seeks to invest in agricultural research and provide new solutions in our food systems to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the collective struggle for the 1.5-degree temperature target and a climate-neutral and resilient world.
This will be our biggest Glasgow participation at COP26. Let’s see if the world is united, committed and ambitious again.
ARB / High School