The delegation of family farmers, coordinated by the World Rural Forum, delivered crucial messages that resonated at key moments during COP28, highlighting the urgent need to recognize the catalytic role of family farmers in the face of the climate emergency. Actively participating in various events, this delegation emphasized the need for global recognition and advocated for policies that promote sustainable practices and proportional access to climate funds.  


COP28: Time for climate action in global agriculture

Despite the lack of more ambitious commitments to reach only a 1.5°C global temperature increase, the World Rural Forum draws positive lessons for family farming.

The recently concluded COP28 witnessed the signing of the Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action by 159 countries. This agreement includes the requirement for agricultural systems to be incorporated into countries’ plans to address climate change, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), by 2025. The Declaration also states that “any pathway” to achieve the key climate goal of 1.5°C must involve food and agriculture.

Additionally, the first Global Stocktake “encourages the application of integrated and multisectoral solutions, such as land-use management, sustainable agriculture, resilient food systems, nature-based solutions, and ecosystem-based approaches.” It recognizes that “adaptation can contribute to mitigating impacts and losses, as part of a participatory and gender-sensitive approach driven by countries, based on the best available scientific knowledge.”

The explicit mention of the word “agriculture” is a milestone. In this regard, COP28 sends a clear signal that the time for climate action in global agriculture has come, and it is part of the solution. Now, there is a long road ahead to materialize and resource these grand declarations.

The family farming delegation united under a joint statement

In a context where food systems and agriculture have taken unprecedented prominence in international climate negotiations, the World Rural Forum facilitated the presence of a prominent delegation with representatives from all five continents, making a strong and active entry into discussions on agriculture, food systems, and climate change.

Seeking to unite this delegation under a single voice, the Statement of Family Farmers, crafted through a participatory and inclusive process, emphasized the urgent need for global recognition of the catalytic role of family farmers. The statement highlighted the severe impact of the climate crisis on millions of family farmers worldwide and advocated for policies promoting sustainable practices, active participation in climate policy formulation, and proportional access to climate funds for mitigation and adaptation.

The World Rural Forum, in collaboration with key allies such as the COP28 Presidency, Consumers International, family farming organizations, FAO, Forest and Farm Facility, IFAD Farmer’s Forum, International Land Coalition, and Meridian Institute, among others, actively participated in four events during COP28, addressing crucial issues such as land rights, the role of family farmers in transforming food systems, the connection between family farmers and consumers, and the innovation of women and young farmers. These events showcased the Forum’s commitment to meaningful participation in global climate debates.

Beyond COP28

Finally, since COP28, the World Rural Forum has full observer status for the upcoming Climate Change Conferences and preparatory meetings, underlining its growing influence in international climate fora.

With a clear and urgent statement, a diverse delegation of family farmers, and participation in key events, such as the official opening of Food Day, the World Rural Forum has laid the groundwork for continued involvement in international climate forums. The Forum seeks to ensure that the voices of those sustaining the foundation of our food systems are heard and included in the formulation of global climate policies and funding for a just transition to more sustainable practices.

The next stage will be the VIII Global Conference of Family Farming: Sustainability of Our Planet, organized by the World Rural Forum from March 19 to 21, 2024, at the Europa Congress Palace in Vitoria-Gasteiz (Basque Country, Spain). In this context, there will be an opportunity to engage with representatives from governments, family farming organizations, regional platforms, research centers, women’s and youth organizations, National Committees of Family Farming from all five continents, international institutions (such as the EU, FAO, IFAD), and development agencies, to discuss the next steps to strengthen the role of family farming organizations as key actors in climate debates and negotiations, and in funding mechanisms.