We cannot achieve the Paris Agreement goals without transforming our food systems as they account for a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. The Paris Agreement sets an ambitious goal for climate change mitigation to limit the global average temperature rise to below 1.5°C by the end of the century which requires urgent action in all sectors. For food systems, this implies a rapid transition away from emission-intensive production toward sustainable agricultural practices that boost carbon sinks while reducing food loss and waste and shifting to more sustainable and healthy diets across the world.
Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement that embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to climate change impacts provide a platform to bring policy priorities together and to identify domestic mitigation and adaptation needs, measures, and gaps to tackle climate change through food systems. As of September 30, 2022, 160 Parties to the UNFCCC (which includes the EU-27 representing 27 member states of the European Union) have submitted 134 updated or revised NDCs.
Climate Focus, with WWF, has assessed how these updated NDCs incorporate food systems measures, and how this has changed compared to each respective country’s previous NDC. The report, Unlocking and Scaling Climate Solutions in Food Systems: An Assessment of Nationally Determined Contributions, demonstrates that while food systems are incorporated to some extent in 93% of updated NDCs (an increase from 79% of prior NDCs), the majority of food system interventions are not holistic. There is still much room for improvement across the globe:
- Only 19 updated NDCs include measures for both sustainable food production and for reducing food loss and waste.
- Only 5 updated NDCs include measures for both sustainable food production and consumption
- Only 2 updated NDCs have measures for addressing food loss and waste and for shifting to sustainable and healthy diets.
- Only 2 updated NDCs have measures for sustainable food production, addressing food loss and waste, and shifting to sustainable and healthy diets.
This report also includes recommendations for policymakers at all levels to achieve food system transformation for climate change mitigation and adaptation.