On December 9, 2023, amidst the United Arab Emirates COP28 activities in the Food and Agriculture Pavilion of Thematic Area 2, Blue Zone, an important event titled, “The state of agri-food systems in a climate crisis and the role of IPCC-IPBES and other global assessments” took place. The event looked at how bodies like the IPCC and IPBES help assess sustainable transition pathways, and the role of CGIAR in providing a solid evidence base.
Key messages from the session included:
- how crucial IPCC and IPBES guidance is on transition pathways within agri-food systems that do not undermine food and environmental security, and,
- how CGIAR scientist input into these processes while also developing the locally adapted innovations needed to advance these pathways.
At 4SD Foundation, we were particularly impressed in how this was presented by Dr Patrick Caron, CGIAR System Board Member (Vice Chair) in his opening speech.
Find the transcript here and watch the recording further below.
Excellencies, distinguished delegates, friends, welcome.
Science and innovation is about understanding the world around us and mobilizing this knowledge to tackle the pressing challenges. Without science, our attempts to navigate the complexity of multiple crisis are simply guesswork.
10 years ago, we could not have imagined a meeting like today’s, bringing together those working on food systems with climate change and biodiversity experts.
Agriculture was considered the enemy, because it emits one third of GHG and is responsible for 70% biodiversity loss. Environment was considered a scarecrow for economic activities.
Well, we are now together to explore the way to address interconnected crisis in a consistent way. This is made possible since food systems are increasingly recognized as one major lever towards sustainability as discussed during the UN Food Systems Summit and here just one week ago.
This calls for pooling collective intelligence from different sources to address trade-offs and obstacles to change, which is not easy as we are used to working in siloes.
For example, squaring the circle to ensure that efforts to reduce emissions and maintain biodiversity do not increase the vulnerability of those left behind relies on the very best knowledge.
More than ever, the world needs the science and knowledge assessed and generated by panels like the IPCC, IPBES, and my own organisation, CGIAR.
From identifying transition pathways to contributing to the desired innovations, our organizations complement one another in advancing the necessary just and equitable transformation. We can together prepare the journey to the unknown and think the unthinkable. Hopefully for the better!
But it is no simple task, and there is a long way to go. I’m delighted that we have some of the world’s leading scientists and climate champions on the panel to discuss the gaps in today’s scientific knowledge and the way to move beyond polarization and knowledge fragmentation.
We will also hear how scientists, particularly those from the Global South, can better participate in global knowledge generation and scientific assessments, such as the ones carried out by IPCC and IPBES.
From this session, I hope we will all gain some insight into the scale of the challenge of transforming food, land and water systems, i.e. the new CGIAR strategy, to meet climate, biodiversity, health and security goals. I hope we will also take heart in the existing opportunities to invest in advancing science and innovation for such a transition.
This October we brought together some of you to start the process of designing a joint roadmap to strengthen science-policy interfaces. Together with the University of Montpellier, we (CGIAR) will convene a large international event, in March next year, to make further progress to improve the knowledge ecosystem efficiency, agree on a common vision, milestones and roadmap, fully mobilizing expert panels and the whole science, policy, society ecosystem.
CGIAR will continue to engage with global expert panels, not only to participate in global assessments, as in the case of Aditi Mukherji and many, to host experts meetings and to support decision making, but also to contribute to shape a safe space for pooling intelligence.
Because, with Science, We Can…
Finally, we must also recognise the importance of nuance and diversity: transforming food, land and water systems in the climate crisis must be human-centric and customised to specific contexts, not just globally relevant. This also requires diversity in our science.
I look forward to be inspired by our esteemed speakers.
Watch a recording of the session below:
- IPCC – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations. Created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), IPCC currently has 195 members. Its job is to advance scientific knowledge about climate change caused by human activities.
- IPBES – The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – is an intergovernmental organization established to improve the interface between science and policy on issues of biodiversity and ecosystem services. It was established in Panama City, in 2012 by 94 Governments. It is not a United Nations body, however, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) provides secretariat services to IPBES.
- CGIAR is the world’s largest global agricultural innovation network. They provide evidence to policy makers, innovation to partners, and new tools to harness the economic, environmental and nutritional power of agriculture.