Agriculture Business Climate Community Development Food

Egypt, FAO launch FAST Initiative to transform agri-food systems, improve food security

COP27 President

Egypt’s COP27 Presidency and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched the Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transformation or FAST, at COP27 yesterday. The new initiative will increase climate finance contributions for agriculture and food systems to support the most vulnerable communities.

FAST will reimagine agrifood systems to deliver triple wins for people, climate action, and nature. It will be supported by countries through its multi-stakeholder partnerships that will ensure food systems are reinforced through climate policies that contribute to concrete actions in support of adaptation and maintain a 1.5-degree pathway for food and economic security.

Speaking about the launch of the FAST initiative, COP27 President H.E. Sameh Shoukry said: “The impact of climate change is disproportionately impacting vulnerable communities around the world. To address this imbalance, we need to develop sustainable farming and food systems and meet the urgent needs of food-importing developing countries. Through the FAST initiative, we will be mobilizing the world to unlock finance flows to increase climate resilience and implement urgently needed transformation across agrifood systems.”

Deputy Director General FAO Maria Helena Semedo, said: “Bold transformative actions are needed to boost Agrifood system transformation, support countries, and ensure that resources reach food producers across the value chain.”

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Mr. Simon Stiell said: “We need to undertake a thorough overhaul of our food systems, which is another way of saying our relationship with the natural world. There is only one way to achieve this. It can be summarized in one single world: implementation.”

Minister of State, Department for Food, Rural Affairs and Environment, United Kingdom, H.E. Lord Benyon said: “The challenges we continue to face are vast. The only way we can overcome them is through collaboration and innovation. We are committed to taking this forward: through the Policy Dialogue, Agriculture Breakthrough, and collaboration with the new FAST initiative. We fully support the FAST initiative, spotlighting access to finance, capacity strengthening, and policy dialogue. I’m sure that it will bring a major push on food and agricultural transformation

FAST will focus on three priorities for action:

    1. Access to Finance: Enhancing countries’ capacities to identify and increase access to climate finance and investment. 
    2. Knowledge and Capacity: Providing the necessary analyses, developing voluntary guidelines and supporting capacity development
    3. Policy Support and Dialogue: Ensuring agrifood systems are fully embedded in climate change policies, such as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), National Adaptation Plans (NAP) or Long-term Low Emissions and Development Strategies (LT-LEDS). Ad-hoc technical advisory groups for ensuring responsiveness and efficiency, and for the timely delivery of mutually agreed high-quality outputs.

The FAO, in collaboration with other UN agencies, will play the role of neutral facilitator, providing: objectivity, independence and credibility that are prerequisites for the success of the initiative. A set of guiding principles for implementation aim to ensure the effective delivery of agreed outputs, with initial principles identified through a series of multi-stakeholder consultations and in partnership with the COP27 Presidency High-Level Champions under the Marrakech Partnership.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende