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COP27: Look at Food, Farming as Part of The Solution Not the Cause of Climate Change -Slow Food Society


By Davis Buyondo

In the ongoing 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, the Slow Food society has raised concerns over the severe lack of progress toward tackling the impact of food and agriculture on the climate and building firm and resilient food systems.

According to the society, food and farming are just part of the solution and not a cause of climate change as highlighted in the Slow Food Climate Declaration.

Edward  Mukiibi, the President of Slow Food, says that the conference, also referred to as Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP27),is becoming a round table for industrial agriculture and polluting cooperations whose motive is largely to negotiate their ‘right’ to pollute the world while putting the livelihood of millions of people at stake.

“Small scale agro-ecological farmers, demand that COP27 treats the climate crisis as an emergency, by focusing on real solutions like agro-ecology and on the transition from fossil-fuel dependent practices”, says Mukiibi.

Agro-ecology, emphasises Mukiibi, should be recognized as a central tool to tackle the multiple crises the world faces, including the climate crisis. To the slow food experience, agroecology is rooted in rebuilding relationships between agriculture and the environment, and between food systems and society. 

Mukiibi noted that scientific evidence shows that agroecological systems keep carbon in the ground, support biodiversity, rebuild soil fertility and sustain yields over time, providing a basis for secure farm livelihoods and healthy diets for all. 

The system (agroecology) is further backed up by the 2022 report from the intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations that is responsible for advancing vital knowledge on human-induced climate change.  

“Although food and agriculture have had a more prominent place at last year’s COP26 in Glasgow, solutions that came out of it aimed at keeping the system in place. Such as the Koronivia joint work on agriculture does not address the food system as a whole, but focuses only on the adaptation to climate impacts, and putting climate mitigation and resilience building aside,” he says.

In her statement about COP27, Marta Messa, Secretary General of Slow Food, maintains that the need to tackle food systems as a whole and the solutions offered by agroecology are clear and supported by a growing body of scientific evidence.

“We cannot afford to let agro-ecology be captured by vested interest or be used loosely as a term to legitimize pathways that ultimately maintain the status quo: some agrifood corporations, international philanthropic organizations, and governments are already using the term nature-based solutions to ‘hijack’ the food system sustainability agenda,” says Messa.

For decades, according to Messa, the COP has been riddled with corporate vested interests that put profits over people and the planet. She wonders whether COP27 will be an exception to this rule and approach yet many multinational companies that pout the world are key sponsors of COP.

“They include CropLife International, the pesticide industry’s lobby group, PepsiCo, McDonald’s, JBS, the world’s largest meat company, and Coca-Cola, the world’s number one producer of fossil fuel-based plastic waste,which suggests the contrary,” Messa cries out.

Slow Food further maintains that the industrial food production system and other land-use activities are responsible for one-third of global CO2 emissions, of which two-thirds are linked to industrial livestock production. 

But agriculture, particularly small-scale farming in the Global South, is also the first victim of climate change. Therefore, farmers face increasing troubles to produce food due to changes in natural landscapes and extreme weather events such as forest fires, hurricanes, heat waves, floods, droughts, and storms, mention more.  

Shane Holland, the Executive Chairman of Slow Food United Kingdom, the COP27 is the perfect opportunity to highlight such impacts of climate change in the Global South, and the commitments made by the Global North to support developing countries which still remain outstanding.

“These payments are critical to not only mitigate the ravishes of climate change in the poorest parts of the planet; but to protect the green lungs of the plane”, says Holland.

Also, he adds, the voices of women, people of colour, indigenous people and youth which are not usually heard, are essential at this point (COP27) since they are at the forefront of the effects of climate change, and their traditional knowledge must be utilized in helping to tackle its worst effects.

“Our demands within the Slow Food Climate Declaration must be heard: good food and farming are part of the solution. We must act today,’


Coca-cola, a giant in the soft drinks business, has come under criticism by global environment activists for its outsized contribution to the plastic pollution deal and then masquerades as an environmentally sensitive company.

Through an online petition ‘Say NO to Coca-Cola’s Plastic Plans’, activists have called for the removal of the company (Coca cola) and other companies polluting the environment to be banned from being involved in climate talks ad even sponsorship.


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