The 2023 Bonn Climate Change Conference (SB58) held under the aegis of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and recently concluded in Bonn, Germany, set the stage for the upcoming COP28 and the World Climate Action Summit, taking place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 30 November until 12 December 2023.

A delegation of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) joined the Conference in Bonn to make sure that farmers’ needs and expectations are put high on the Climate Action Agenda.

The delegation included Luisa Volpe, WFO Head of Advocacy, Policy and Partnerships, together with Francesco Brusaporco, WFO Policy Officer, Loureen (Akinyi) Awuor, Head of Partnerships at the WFO Member Kenya National Farmers’ Federation (KENAFF), Ceris Jones, Facilitator of the WFO Working Group on Climate Change and Climate Change Adviser at WFO Member NFU UK, and Tobias Gräs, Member of the WFO Working Group on Climate Change and Senior Policy Advisor at the Danish Agriculture and Food Council.

The WFO delegation was involved in a number of meetings and events, and some WFO representatives attended official meetings and negotiation sessions, also on behalf of the UNFCCC Farmers’ Constituency,

Farmers’ key role in advancing Climate Action must be put at the center of any decision-making

Significantly, the Bonn Conference saw the establishment of the Sharm el-Sheikh Joint Work (SSJW) on Implementation of Climate Action on Agriculture and Food Security, a follow-on of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA), agreed upon at COP28.
Speaking at the first informal session, the farmers, who made their expectations about the new work programme clear in a previous submission to the UNFCCC, reminded all parties to consider the diversity of the farming systems into account and recognise farmers’ knowledge and experience in designing and implementing solutions. As the discussions on some elements of the SSJW and its operationalisations will need to continue at COP28, farmers are ready to engage in the negotiations and support the process towards reaching an agreement.

The Bonn Conference also set the stage for the First Global Stocktake (GST1) of collective progress towards the goal of the Paris Agreement, which will conclude at COP28. Speaking on behalf of the Farmers’ Constituency at one of the roundtables with Parties and Non-Parties Stakeholders (NPS) organised by the Presidency, WFO emphasized the need for greater consideration of agriculture in the GST1 and greater stakeholder involvement in the definition of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). “Parties’ active engagement with farmers and farmers organisations besides and beyond the international meetings, and, specifically, while setting targets and developing roadmaps for agriculture is instrumental in enhancing NDCs and raising global climate ambition for our sector.” – said WFO Policy Officer, Francesco Brusaporco.

Here, in a nutshell, are more highlights from WFO participation.

Wednesday, 7 June – WFO co-organized side event: “Investing in Youth and Women for Food Systems Transformation: Inclusion and Targeted Finance”

The multistakeholder dialogue was co-organized by YOUNGO Food & Agriculture WG, Ban Ki-Moon Centre for Global Citizens, International Association of Students in Agriculture and Related Sciences (IAAS), Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD), International Forestry Students Association (IFSA), World Food Forum (WFF), EIT Food, Wageningen University and Research (WUR) and the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO).

This event highlighted the role of women and young people in climate adaptation, which is critical to achieving most of the SDGs, ensuring food security, restoring biodiversity, and reducing poverty and inequalities.

It also focused on the barriers women and young people face in Agriculture while working on climate change mitigation and adaptation practices.

Ms Loureen Awuor addressed the audience, highlighting that “the climate crisis is not gender neutral. It affects women more than men, but women are the most powerful agents of change: if you want to introduce something in agriculture and if you want it done, introduce it to women.”
The solution for a more equitable and effective fight against climate change effects starts by stopping looking at women and youth only as beneficiaries of subsidies, training and new practices in Agriculture: “Let them be partners!” – she nudged.

Friday, 9 June – WFO side event: “Regenerative Agriculture: A Sustainable Solution to Climate Change.”

As part of its engagement, WFO, in collaboration with CropLife, CGIAR, and EY, hosted a side event titled “Regenerative Agriculture: A Sustainable Solution to Climate Change.”
The event aimed to shed light on the transformative potential of regenerative agriculture in mitigating climate change impacts and addressing global food systems challenges.

Moderated by James Stapleton, CGIAR Senior Strategic Advisor, Advocacy for Impact, the event gave panellists a chance to discuss solutions for increasing production, reducing emissions, restoring ecosystems, and improving farmers’ livelihoods.

The panel featured the participation of:

  • Carlo Fadda, Director of the Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture program at the Alliance Bioversity CIAT/CGIAR.
  • Tek Sapkota, leader of the Climate Change Science Group at CIMMYT and Member of CGIAR Climate Investment Committee.
  • Loureen Awuor, horticulture farmer in Nakuru County, Kenya, Chief of Staff and Head of Partnerships at the WFO Member Kenya National Farmers’ Federation (KENAFF).
  • Victor Kommerell, program manager for the CGIAR Research Programs on Maize and Wheat.
  • Romano De Vivo, Vice President of Sustainability at CropLife International.
  • Alessandro Cataldo, Head of EY-Parthenon Transaction Strategy and Execution at EY Switzerland.
  • Karim Hussein, a strategic advisor focused on agricultural research, innovation, and rural transformation.
  • Lucy Wallace, seasoned communications professional and Chief of Staff at EIT Food.

The speakers emphasized the importance of establishing a shared understanding of “Regenerative Agriculture” among all stakeholders in the value chain. They underlined the pivotal role that farmers already play in the restoration of ecosystems, protection of biodiversity, and preservation of nature, all while fulfilling the vital task of feeding an ever-expanding population with fresh, healthy, and nutritious food.

“We really need to take stock of what is already going on because most of the farmers are already practising Regenerative Agriculture somehow”, – stated Loureen Awuor.
She also underlined the urge for a bottom-up, farmer-centric approach to boost the transition toward more sustainable agricultural practices: “Let the research be led by the farmers! Let’s try to have farmers drive the whole process and set the metrics and outcomes we want to measure and achieve“.

Watch the event recording here:

Friday, 9 June – COP Presidency event “Accelerating systemic transformation at the Nexus of Food Systems and Climate”

As the representative of the Farmers’ Constituency, on Friday, 9 June, Ms Loureen Awuor also joined an event promoted by the COP Presidency titled “Accelerating systemic transformation at the Nexus of Food Systems and Climate”.

The event aimed to present the COP28 Vision to accelerate the systemic transformation of food systems; the vision is structured in 5 goals (mitigation, adaptation, nutrition, equity and nature) and 4 pillars (state-level commitments, non-state level commitments, innovation and finance).

Speaking on behalf of the Farmers’ Constituency, Ms Awuor highlighted that Agriculture is on the frontline of climate impacts, with its unique role of being both a source and sink of GHG emissions.
She then stressed the need for climate policy to remain consistent with the Paris Agreement, when it recognises ‘the fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and ending hunger, and the particular vulnerabilities of food production systems to the adverse impacts of climate change”.

She, therefore, emphasized that “the farmers’ participation in the UNFCCC process is instrumental in raising global climate ambition for the agricultural sector, unleashing the great potential that agriculture and its people have in the fight against climate change and in empowering the world’s farmers to adapt to its ongoing impacts”.

She also underlined that a just and sustainable transition for agriculture and food systems in the context of climate change needs to tackle the current concentration of power in the value chain, promoting the central role of the farmers and a fairer distribution of responsibilities among the various actors involved: “Farmers must have a voice in the shaping of decisions that affect them” – she stated.

In conclusion, the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies Meetings represented the last big milestone in climate negotiations before the culmination of the first Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement at COP 28. Negotiations were long and complex, with difficulties in finding agreements on several issues.

The WFO stands ready to sit at the negotiation tables and advocate for farmers’ position on key issues, joining forces with governments and other stakeholders to build together a more sustainable, fair, equitable, and resilient future for our sector, our people and our planet!

Photo: UNclimatechange