As the incoming COP26 Presidents, the UK has launched the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Dialogue with Indonesia as co-chairs.
This government-to-government dialogue is bringing together the largest producers and consumers of internationally traded agricultural commodities (such as palm oil, soya, cocoa, beef and timber) in order to protect forests and other ecosystems while promoting trade and development.
By flipping the global commodity market in favour of sustainability we can protect forests, and other key ecosystems, while meeting the sustainable development goals and support economic development.
The FACT Dialogue will be difficult. It will be complicated. But it is critically important, and the prize is big.
Addressing the loss of tropical forests has been a policy and campaigning priority for about half a century. There have been some successes, but it is clear that the global challenge has not been met yet.
Ending deforestation and conversion of other natural ecosystems is a pre requisite to addressing the climate and nature crises. In the same way that the energy and the transport sectors are being flipped from high carbon to clean so must our food system be changed.
But we must change in a way that is both collaborative, and which delivers for people. If we fail to end the conversion of forests and other ecosystems, we will not be able to limit global warming to 1.5°C, we will undermine our food security, and increase the risk of future pandemics.
Because the problem is complex, so will be the route to its solution. If the FACT Dialogue is uncomfortable, it is probably on the right track.
Transformation can take time, but actions and results must emerge at milestones along the way – we cannot afford to hold up progress any longer.
Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith
We cannot keep 1.5C alive without transforming our food system.
The Paris Agreement aims to limit the global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. Since 2015 when this Agreement was signed there has been an increase in extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, and wildfires, threatening the lives and livelihoods of communities across the globe.
Without decisive, collective action, the global temperature rise could extend beyond this set target, threatening the future of our planet.
- ~25% of total human Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions come from agriculture, forestry, and other land use practices. In response, governments have recognised the importance of collaborative action to tackle deforestation and make agriculture more sustainable.
- 5.2 Gigatonnes of greenhouse gases, equivalent to around double India’s annual emissions, are released into the atmosphere globally due to deforestation linked with the production of commodities such as beef, palm oil, soya, cocoa and timber. Reference
- 1.6 billion people around the world, particularly those in developing countries, rely on the production and sale of agricultural commodities for a livelihood. In developing the FACT Roadmap for collective climate action, it is necessary to support the livelihoods and development of these farmers and communities. Reference
The dialogue brings together the major producer and consumer countries of the key agricultural commodities. So far 30 countries have participated in the FACT dialogue, and 25 countries have endorsed the joint- principles for collaborative action committing to working together to protect the world’s precious forests while also promoting sustainable trade.
Alongside this government-to-government dialogue the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) are convening and facilitating Multi-stakeholder Consultations, which form another key part of the FACT Dialogue.
These consultations feed into the Government-to-Government meetings, ensuring all relevant parties have a voice and a space to contribute and involve parties from all levels of the global supply chain including; growers, grassroots practitioners, local farmers, foresters, indigenous peoples and local communities, finance institutions, global and local consumer brands, regional suppliers and processors, civil society organisations, academics, youth leaders and consumers at the end of supply chains.
What happens at COP26?
FACT participants will develop a shared roadmap of actions, outlining how, collectively, they can drive forward our shared international commitments and national development objectives.
The FACT Roadmap will be published at the World Leaders Summit at COP26.
What happens next?
Transformation takes time but actions must emerge at milestones along the way.
We hope that the partnership and collaboration we have seen in the FACT Dialogue to date continues well beyond COP26 in order for partners to work together to achieve the ambition set out in the FACT Roadmap.