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COP28 to lead dialogue on building water-resilient food systems

Food and water insecurity, including food finance, will play important roles at COP28.

COP28 to lead dialogue on building water-resilient food systems
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Agriculture is the largest consumer of freshwater, and there’s an interrelatedness between water, climate change, and food security. The good news is that this gap is increasingly acknowledged. Water will have a dedicated focus at COP28 later this year.

The UAE Minister for Climate Change and Environment, COP28 Food Systems Lead, Mariam Bint Mohammed Almheiri, shared plans for the UAE to host the first-ever Ministerial Dialogue on building water-resilient food systems, in cooperation with Brazil, at COP28 on December 10.

“How we manage the rapid rise in demand, production, distribution and consumption of food will be one of the single biggest challenges we face in the fight against climate change, and is something the UAE will put front and center at COP28,” says Almheiri.

The session will involve bringing together ministers, the private sector, international organizations, and civil society to assess water and food resilience within National Determined Contributions and National Action Plans.

During a speech delivered at the UN-organised World Food Day Conference in Rome, Almheiri called for action, saying that “climate action needs to be designed and delivered by all, for the benefit of all. Environmental issues know no borders.”

With the theme of the 2023 World Food Day being “water,” Almheiri outlined that agriculture is the largest consumer of freshwater worldwide, while the way food is currently produced is responsible for up to 33% of total global emissions, according to FAO data. 

Additionally, she requested more international collaboration in tackling the global challenge of food insecurity. She added that it is crucial for COP28’s vision that “no one is left behind.”

“From devastating famines to severe droughts and life-threatening floods, we are seeing their frequency spike as the globe is impacted by climate change. Feeding the world’s growing population equitably and sustainably cannot be achieved without water.”

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