Ahead of the next United Nations Climate Conference, known as COP 27, the UN Foundation’s Managing Director of Climate and Environment, Ryan Hobert, explains why food and agriculture innovation is essential to solving the climate challenge, and why it will garner increased global attention in the year ahead.

Question: The war in Ukraine has precipitated a food security crisis around the world. How will food security be brought to bear on conversations and negotiations at COP 27?

Ryan Hobert: The food security crisis, which is especially dire in the Horn of Africa, where a famine declaration is imminent, will focus everyone’s attention at the COP. In parallel, there’s much greater understanding today among people who work on climate that food systems and agriculture are critical to climate resilience and mitigation. So I think that for the first time, food and agriculture issues are going to be front and center at this COP in a way they haven’t been before

What major issues around agriculture will be negotiated at COP 27? Will the fact that it’s being held in Africa affect those conversations?

At COP 23, in 2017, we saw a new process emerge that’s focused specifically on agriculture. It’s called the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture. Koronivia was a series of workshops on climate and agriculture, with the notable feature that it dealt with both mitigation and adaptation. We expect the next phase of Koronivia to be decided at COP 27. African countries are pushing for Koronivia to be formally institutionalized inside the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), but developed economies are pushing back, in part to keep costs down. I’m hopeful that we’ll see a decision at COP 27 that will propel the Koronivia process into its next phase, and hopefully with a bigger focus on implementation of climate action in the agriculture space.

Read the full article about agriculture and food systems by Martha Hodgkins at United Nations Foundation.