Governments and the private sector must commit to a doubling of their investments in agricultural research, innovation and deployment in developing and emerging economies, a report launched at Cop26 on Saturday suggests.
Global Action Agenda for Innovation in Agriculture says an additional $15bn every year will combat climate change and protect nature. This amounts to $120bn by 2030 for the benefit of lower income countries across a decade of action.
The report was produced by the ClimateShot campaign, which is co-chaired by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).
The campaign is backed by the government ministries and national agriculture research institutes of 18 major food producing count. It secured the support of more than 160 allies, including large agriculture and food businesses, NGOs, international development institutions, national banks, SMEs, youth leaders, and impact investment funds. All have committed to mobilising $5bn for sustainable businesses.
The report sets out four critical actions which global leaders attending Cop26 must implement.
1. Increase investment in agricultural research and innovation
This will create more climate-resilient, low-emission technologies and practices in agriculture, it says, suggesting this investment will deliver effective, high-value-for-money incremental changes that will help us make very substantial progress towards international goals on food security, water conservation and climate change.
It says the investment will deliver technologies and practices that reduce the risk of hunger, reverse the impact of climate change on the yields of key crops and reduce emissions.
2. Deliver demand-driven solutions across food systems
To deliver truly transformative changes in global agriculture that are required, the report says we must shift at least a third of all agricultural research and innovation investments worldwide to delivering demand-driven solutions that work across food systems, and which specifically protect nature and limit climate change.
3. Leaders to accelerate impact investment
Public and private sector leaders are told to find ways to accelerate the work of impact investment funds and initiatives promoting business models and public-private partnerships that deploy agricultural innovations on the scale needed.
These funds cannot only address the climate crisis but also the food security challenges we face. now from overpopulation and the pandemic, it says.
4. More inclusive dialogue to forge a consensus
Better and more inclusive dialogue is needed to forge a consensus on the evidence of what works, where and how for appropriate public, private and community-led solutions.
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“So much of the cash spent on agriculture today is frankly wasted, we need to put it to much better use.," said Dhanush Dinesh, CCAFS Head of Partnerships and Outreach.
"We know what works, we just need to be more ambitious and deliver innovation on the scale needed to meet the climate challenge. That's why we need a ClimateShot."
"The farming technology and practices used today won’t get us even halfway in reaching the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement, particularly when it comes to mitigating the effects of climate change."
Echoing the thesis propounded by Bill Gates earlier in the week, he said innovation could solve the problem but it would be costly.