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By Romano De Vivo, Vice President of Sustainability, CropLife International
I joined CropLife International last year, inspired by the purpose and vision to advance innovation in agriculture and to play a leading role in enabling more sustainable food systems. Against the backdrop of increasing extreme weather patterns and other effects of climate change, this purpose has never felt more urgent.
At CropLife, we believe that agriculture can be a solution to climate change. Providing food and nutrition security to the world, agriculture is the backbone of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and can have wider benefits for sustained, inclusive economic growth.
However, addressing the socio-economic and environmental challenges related to climate change and making progress toward the SDGs requires a concerted effort from stakeholders across all sectors. Businesses have started to act in certain areas, but – given the enormity of the challenge – still need to do much more and need to be supported in their efforts by a system of policies and an enabling environment of multi-stakeholder collaborations.
This is why CropLife International is supporting the UNFCCC negotiations. I recently attended the Bonn Climate Change meetings, two weeks of intensive preparation for the decisions to be taken at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt in November.
At the heart of the meetings were scientific information from two recent IPCC reports and the call for more ambitious climate action. This call included agriculture and the urgency of action needed to mitigate impacts and strengthen the resilience of rural communities by providing education, information, and financial support to de-risking activities on which food security depends.
During the Bonn meetings, the Presidency was officially handed over from the United Kingdom to Egypt, who has continued to raise the prominence of agriculture by championing the Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transformation (FAST) initiative, which focuses on ensuring finance moves back into agriculture to accelerate the implementation of projects to help strengthen agricultural systems to climate change.
The Koronivia agricultural workstream, which CLI has been following for several years, was another area of focus in Bonn. This process will culminate at COP27 with a report on the next steps for an increasingly resilient agriculture that brings together climate action and food security. We’re excited to see agriculture increasing in prominence and also featured within the presidency’s key initiatives.
CropLife International hosted an official side event focused on accelerating adaptation and climate action through collaboration with a stimulating discussion on multi-stakeholder platforms and programs that integrate adaptation and mitigation into farming practices, building on the convergence of technologies, helping farmers implement climate-safe protocols, and collectively making agriculture more climate resilient through an open and inclusive dialogue of all stakeholders.
Our President and CEO Giulia Di Tommaso kicked off the event with a keynote address on the positive role of innovation in agriculture. The panel included a wide range of stakeholders working on climate solutions, including Ana Maria Loboguerrero of CGIAR; Marilique Nijmeijer of Clim-Eat; Ann Vaughn from USAID; James Smith of WBCSD; Gilson Martins of the Federal University of Paraná; and Robert McDonald from The Nature Conservancy.
The discussion highlighted critical elements such as innovation, both in technology and in society, knowledge transfer, and various de-risking solutions. I personally thought the emphasis on de-risking was very relevant and timely. Its translation into access opportunities – access to education, to technologies, to markets, and to financial services and institutions – made the value of open, vulnerability-focused collaboration among various stakeholders even clearer.
The speakers’ wide range of experience and expertise allowed us to explore concrete examples of multistakeholder collaboration, such as the exceptional platform implemented by CGIAR in Latin America, and understand what works, needs improvement, or requires rethinking.
I remain inspired by CropLife’s purpose and vision, and the key themes emerging from Bonn – the prominence of agriculture as a solution to climate change and the essentialness of multistakeholder collaboration – continue to motivate me as we look ahead to the important discussions on the agenda for November and in our work to support rural communities.