Leaders sign food sustainability declaration at COP28

Reacting to the food agreement signed at COP28, which includes the need for agricultural systems to be included in countries’ plans to tackle climate change, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), IIED executive director Tom Mitchell said:

Press release, 01 December 2023
UN climate change conference (COP28)
A series of pages related to IIED's activities at the 2023 UNFCCC climate change summit in Dubai

"This agreement is a tentative first step in addressing one of the thorniest problems of the climate crisis – our broken food systems. They are responsible for so many greenhouse gas emissions, from cutting down forests and clearing land for animal feed, to the emissions of cattle themselves. It's staggering there has been no obligation to include this sector in emissions reductions plans for so long.

“Government subsidies have long supported the polluting effects of large scale agriculture, acting as a hidden brake on climate action. These payments should be redirected in a way that means people and nature can thrive.”

Reacting to the agreement's pledges on food security and help for farmers and workers, Mitchell added: "Small-scale farmers are already spending billions of their own dollars to fight the climate crisis, which they have done little to cause. This group produces a third of the world's food, so leaders must deliver quickly on the support they've promised here."

Notes to editors

For more information or to request an interview, contact Simon Cullen: 
+44 7503 643332 or [email protected]