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Reflections from a busy week at COP26 by The Sustainable Food Trust

Article Source: https://sustainablefoodtrust.org/articles/reflections-from-a-busy-week-at-cop26/

Accessed from the world wide web at 16:00 hrs 06.11.21.

As we near the end of the first week of COP26, I thought it would be worth reflecting on what has been a busy but productive few days.

Late last week we put out a press briefing entitled ‘Why is food and farming missing in action at COP26?’ This was also the name of the session we hosted at Goals House on Tuesday morning alongside US Farmers and Ranchers in Action, WWF and Regen10.

As arguably the most signifiant nature based solution to climate change, it seemed to us completely absurd that this wasn’t being addressed on the main agenda. However, I’m pleased to report that the message seems to have got through. We’ve heard it coming from all sides, from smallholder farmers to the CEOs of companies like McDonalds and Mars – it must be front and centre at COP27 and we must start making global commitments to transition agriculture away from our current extractive and exploitative models to circular and regenerative alternatives.

I was sitting in a session yesterday being moderated by James Harding, Editor of Tortoise Media. On the panel were Ertharin Cousin, former Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme and Hayat Sindi, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Islamic Development Bank. During the session, the idea of COP27 as the COP for food and farming was discussed and James asked the panel what they thought governments around the world should commit to first, if that were to come to fruition. Without meaning to sound critical, because we’re all grappling with this question at the moment and solving the agriculture problem cannot be achieved with one silver bullet solution, neither really had an answer.

From our perspective, to be able to set international targets for agriculture (and be able to monitor how successful these are over time), we first need a common understanding of where we’re starting from and where we need to go. If at COP27, all governments signed up to using a common framework to measure the impact of farming in their respective countries, and an independent body was set up to govern that framework, it could be a huge driver of change. Again, this message is really getting through – in almost every session we’ve attended, the urgent need for common metrics and reporting standards has come up.

With the Global Farm Metric, it feels like we’re making steps towards achieving this. There’s obviously still a long way to go, both in refining the metrics, aligning with other frameworks and building support. But after this week, it’s starting to feel like a globally common framework for measuring the impact of farming is a goal that’s not just in reach, but is fundamental in getting us to the next stage of this conversation.

Just some of the things team SFT (myself, Patrick, Fabia, Megan and May) have been up to this week in Glasgow:

Hosted ‘Why is food and farming missing in action at COP’ at Goals House – this session was live-streamed and can be watched again here.

Took part in a Tortoise Media ‘ThinkIn’ with the Global CEO of McDonalds and CEO of Gro Intelligence, ‘How can we get businesses, governments, suppliers and customers to net zero?’ Watch again here.

Attended a session with Al Gore on ‘The data we need: Enabling climate solutions’. Watch here.

Supported the launch of Regen10.

Attended ‘Financing forward – thinking agriculture’ event at Goals House.

Attended and spoke at a number of sessions for HRH The Prince of Wale’s Sustainable Markets Initiative including sessions on ‘The power of enterprise’ with NatWest Group, ‘How do businesses help their customers understand their impact on the planet?’ with the John Lewis Partnership and co-hosted a session on ‘Shattering barriers to action with data’ with HowGood.

Attended ‘Recipes for resilience’ events organised by Nourish Scotland.

Attended a film screening and panel discussion organised by the Eating Better Alliance.

Attended ‘Sheep for the climate’ with pastoralists from Africa, Mongolia, Europe and Scotland.

Attended ‘Indigenous peoples of the Amazon and climate change: new solutions for energy from the indigenous territories in the Green Zone’.

Attended ‘The need for collaboration to transform global supply chains’ at Goals house with Mars, PepsiCo and Guidehouse.