On Monday, 12 September, ProVeg International and the 50by40 network, supported by more than 160 partner organisations from civil society, sent a joint statement letter to the Egyptian presidency of COP27, encouraging the organisers to serve nutritious, locally sourced, and sustainable plant-based foods at the high-level climate conference this November.
Putting sustainable food on the table
COP, the United Nations’ annual climate-change conference, is the leading high-level forum for international climate negotiations. This year’s COP27 will take place in Egypt in November and will, for the first time, engage with issues around food systems. Despite accounting for approximately a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, the environmental impact of food systems has never been seriously discussed at previous editions of COP.
This year, food systems are included in the conference’s programme – if only marginally – and, for the first time, there will be several food-related pavilions, including the Food4Climate Pavilion, spearheaded by ProVeg and its partners. However, while it’s crucial that food-system sustainability feature on the COP agenda, the food offered at the conference itself needs to be sustainable, too.
ProVeg’s UN Advocacy Team had a busy time in June, spreading the Diet Change Not Climate Change message at two high-level UN climate conferences in Stockholm and Bonn. ProVeg seized the occasions to network with influential stakeholders, host policy discussions, and advocate for a shift towards plant-centred diets and food systems. Both events are key stops on the road towards this year’s COP27 UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
Showcasing the benefits of healthy, sustainable plant-based food
The climate experts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have acknowledged that shifting to more plant-based diets will be essential to fulfilling the Paris Agreement and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Global decision makers need to lead by example by serving sustainable food at the conference. In our joint letter, ProVeg and partners therefore encourage the Egyptian COP27 Presidency to put nutritious, locally-sourced, and sustainable plant-based foods centre stage on the catering menu.
With its cuisine renowned for high-quality plant-based dishes, Egypt is ideally positioned to show real climate leadership.
By putting plant-based food items on the menu, the Presidency could demonstrate that more sustainable, affordable, and healthy diets that support local farmers are achievable and effective. Global leaders must walk the talk and take ambitious action to facilitate a just transition towards healthier and more sustainable food systems and diets.