When we run a sector as more climate smart, we need to first identify the risks. How can I know whether an investment in food systems makes the situation better if I only have an opaque or no understanding of the climate risk to a commodity or geography, or which parameters I need to review? The reporting would not have much substance without an established process to reach consensus on what “good” looks like. An investment could be a positive adaptation or one with positive intentions but not doing any good since we didn’t understand the climate risks in a given investment context correctly.
We’ve also started looking at agricultural subsidies. There is a real movement in the world now to make them more beneficial for the planet, people and prosperity, ie achieve the triple win, but there is more to be done.
Food systems are all over what we want to achieve. Agriculture is one of the most controversially negotiated subjects in the COP process, so our work is cut out for ourselves.
Are there some changes that give you optimism that this transformation of food systems being called for is possible?
What gives me hope that things will change is a very young generation, still in school or university or about to start their career. They see their future being severely compromised unless we make inroads on food systems quickly. We depend on them, shouting it from the rooftops and pressurizing us to do better and their generation into decision-making roles, to act now while there’s still time.
Do you have specific thoughts for the role of a network like the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, related to the need for improved coordination of donor support?
The role of the Donor Platform could really make inroads on good coordination, and that’s more important than ever before. There will be a coordination and follow-up body by the Rome-based Agencies following the Summit but nothing concrete has yet come outside of the usual G7, G20, and other Nations’ clubs on what the expectations are beyond “business as usual”. There is a strong role for donor coordination and monitoring on the back of the Summit, to ensure it doesn’t join other UN summits that demonstrate good will and policy debate but have no follow-up and accountability.
That’s the key role of the Donor Platform in the coming years, to complement what the Rome-based Agencies will do and keep a donor perspective in a forum for debate and a policy donor perspective on how to bring their combined weight into the follow-up.
Thank you, Iris, for your time and for sharing your reflections, experience and vision.