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COP27: $7bn announced for global food security

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COP27, food security

The Climate Implementation Summit at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP27) concluded at Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt with the announcement of a total of $7.4 billion support for global efforts towards food security.

At the end of the two-day high-level summit, which was attended by more than 100 Heads of State and global leaders, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged to invest $1.4 billion over four years to support smallholder farmers, particularly women, with innovative digital technologies.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) also announced the launch of its $6 billion global food security platform, consisting of $3 billion from the IFC, $2 billion from private investors and $1 billion as blended finance.

The announcements were made at the end of the food security roundtable, co-chaired by the President of Kenya, William Ruto, and the Prime Minister of Sweden, Ulf Kristersson.

The leaders reinforced their commitment to scale up adaptation in agricultural action and support, particularly in Africa.

They also committed to giving special attention to communities that were vulnerable to climate change and harnessing the enabling environment of green hydrogen fertilisers in African countries.

The two-day summit saw leaders make major commitments at six roundtable discussions that focused on addressing climate challenges in six thematic areas – food security, innovative finance, just transition, investing in the future of energy: green hydrogen, climate change and the sustainability of vulnerable communities and water security.

The summit started on Monday, November 7, with Egypt’s President, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, and the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, spearheading activities.

Innovative finance

The innovative finance roundtable, which was co-chaired by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, had an agreement to increase allocations under the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) from 20 to 30 per cent.

The participants agreed that the SDRs, which are monetary reserves created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to supplement the existing money reserves of member countries, would play a critical role in climate financing.

Speakers at the roundtable observed that the role of the IMF’s Resilience and Sustainability Trust was an instrumental starting point, but called for additional work in that regard.

Again, they called for concessional finance to be tied to climate vulnerability rather than on an income-capacity basis.

Representatives of developing countries made the case that access to finance remained a major obstacle to their efforts at implementing their nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

They also stressed the need for multilateral development bank reform before the spring meetings to allow for more climate-centred project funding.
Furthermore, they agreed that the way forward would be to explore more opportunities for private sector investments, especially in agriculture and energy.

In addition, they stressed that in the wake of the current food and energy crisis, it was important for debt restructuring and liquidity access in the developing and least developed countries.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) declared its intention to launch a coalition of companies willing to commit to investing in renewable energy in emerging and developing countries.

Just transition

At the just transition roundtable, co-chaired by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, the speakers underscored the need for strategies, policies, mobilisation of appropriate finance at scale, technology, capacity building and major investment, especially in least developed countries, to ensure a just transition for the affected communities.

They observed that the enormity of vulnerabilities that needed to be dealt with required holistic efforts by governments, energy sector players, international financial institutions and donors.

The participants noted that transition must be “just and inclusive, leaving no one behind”.

It was emphasised that the affected communities must own the transition processes and be part of the solution.

Again, they called for financial support and capacity building to be targeted to meet specific needs and each country’s context.

In view of the opportunities that existed for job creation, they called for the establishment of mechanisms that would enhance training, capacity building and reallocation of resources, including creating social protection systems that supported transition.

While indicating that finance was crucial to implementing a just transition, they noted that public finance could provide the right conditions for private financing to achieve the scale required, such as reducing investment risk.

The role of digital transformation in the transition towards a low-carbon economy was emphasised, with participants underscoring the need to take that into account when designing climate and social policies in support of the transition.

Investing in energy

At the “Investing in the future of energy: Green hydrogen” roundtable, co-chaired by President El-Sisi and the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, major announcements were made in respect of green hydrogen.

El-Sisi and the Prime Minister of Belgium, Alexander De Croo, jointly announced the launch of the “Global Renewable Hydrogen Forum”, a multi-stakeholder public-private platform aimed at facilitating the large-scale deployment of renewable hydrogen “to foster decarbonisation of local industries, accelerate just transition and unlock the environmental and socio-economic benefits of the global hydrogen economy”.

The Egyptian President said the initiative would also help identify the best instruments to facilitate the cross-border trade of renewable hydrogen between renewables-rich developing countries the developed countries.

He also announced the Egyptian-Norwegian green hydrogen project, which provides a practical model of investment partnership that stimulates sustainable economic development.

He noted that the project was focused on harmonising the role of the national and foreign private sector with the government.

El-Sisi and the Norwegian Prime Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, jointly launched the first phase of the project to establish a major green hydrogen plant in Ain Sokhna, Egypt.

Vulnerable communities

Støre and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif, co-chaired the session on “climate change and the sustainability of vulnerable communities”.

They noted that in terms of cost-benefit analysis, it was prudent to invest in adaptation, given that relief, rescue, rehabilitation and reconstruction due to climate-induced floods had proved more costly and avoidable.

Again, they said the recent floods in Pakistan and other climate-induced forms of devastation in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel region justified the urgent need to build resilience and advance adaptation to climate change.

The participants at the session called on governments to provide guarantees for the private sector to serve as an enabler to adaptation efforts.

More to the point, they emphasised that more projects must be bankable, so that investment in adaptation could be made to protect the most vulnerable in developing countries.

Water security

The roundtable on water security, co-chaired by the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and the President of Senegal, Macky Sall, explored the “basic human need for sustainable access to adequate quantities of and acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being and socio-economic development”.

The session also discussed the need for swift interventions that would protect vulnerable communities against water-borne diseases and water-related disasters.
In addition, they observed that to forestall imminent water insecurity resulting from the climate crisis, interventions must be deliberate and targeted at ensuring universal access to safe water and sanitation, in line with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Six.

They stressed that climate-resilient policies must be adopted for sustainable water management, including rainwater harvesting, sustainable withdrawal of renewable ground water and increasing non-conventional water reuse.

Interventions at the session emphasised the importance of integrated water resource management as a cross-sectoral approach to achieving SDG 6.

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