Building an Alliance of Champions
The Alliance of Champions for Food Systems Transformation (ACF) is a strategic coalition of ambitious countries determined to act urgently, together.
Brazil 🇧🇷 | Cambodia 🇰🇭 | Norway 🇳🇴 | Rwanda 🇷🇼 | Sierra Leone 🇸🇱 |
Signatories to the Alliance are committing to driving systemic change, taking a ‘whole of government’ approach and inspiring others to go further, faster to deliver better outcomes for people, nature and climate.
Minister of Agrarian Development and Family Farming, and co-chair of ACF, Brazil
H.E. Dr Eang Sophalleth
Minister of Environment, Cambodia
Anne Beathe Tvinnereim
Minister of International Development, and co-chair of ACF, Norway
Hon. Dr. Ildephonse Musafiri
Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Rwanda,
H.E. Dr Henry Musa Kpaka
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, and co-chair of ACF, Sierra Leone
Raising the bar
Alliance members are committing to:
Strengthen national visions and food systems transformation pathways, inclusive of ten priority action areas and consistent with science-based targets.
Update Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), Long-Term Low Emission Development Strategies (LT-LEDS), and National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) in line with these updated National Food System Transformation Pathways and/or Implementation Plans, by 2025.
Report annually on targets and priority intervention areas.
Ten priority intervention areas
At the heart of ACF membership is a commitment from member governments to act across the ten priority intervention areas.
To effect genuine food systems transformation, progress in all areas is vital, and action in any given field should not undermine another. By showcasing leadership on food systems transformation, ACF countries will inspire others to go further, raising the ceiling of ambition and shifting perceptions of what is possible.
CGIAR has been an early supporter of the Alliance and has validated the 10 Priority Action Areas as a primary framework of action to guide countries on their food systems transformation journey. The Alliance will continue to seek civil society partners to support countries as they implement.
Rationale: Malnutrition is pervasive worldwide, with almost 2 billion people overweight, a further 2 billion suffering from micronutrient deficiencies, and 820 million undernourished. This action area seeks to improve food and nutritional security by ensuring that healthy, nutritious food is affordable and available to all – and is produced in a way that reduces environmental impacts.
• Diversify school meals which, as well as playing a critical role in child nutrition, can also support local agriculture and markets while simultaneously improving health, nutrition and education, making communities more resilient.
• Establish proper safety nets for vulnerable groups.
• Diversify sources of, and increase access to, protein rich foods. Increase sustainable blue food and alternative protein production and consumption.
• Undertake Climate and Health Vulnerability Assessment.
• Revise dietary guidelines in line with the human and planetary health diet to ensure nutrition recommendations align with global climate goals and SDG 12 on sustainable production and consumption.
• Explore other measures, including regulatory, to actively promote dietary shifts.
• Enhance diversification of production systems and development of value chains and market linkages for nutrient rich, biodiverse products.
Rationale: This action area seeks to reduce income inequalities that undermine social cohesion and economic development, ensuring decent standards of living for farmers and creating the enabling conditions for a just transition.
• Identify and implement measures which improve the standard of living of farmers, fisherfolk, and workers in agriculture, including opportunities for women and youth.
• Enhance food sovereignty and promote re-localisation of sustainable food systems.
• Establish safety nets for vulnerable groups and use public resources to support forest and coastal communities.
• Promote the inclusion of women, marginalized groups and youth in the decision-making and development of strategies to transform food systems.
Rationale: Record-breaking floods, droughts and other climate-related extreme weather events are expected to pose particularly significant challenges to farmers and fisherfolk worldwide. This action area seeks to mitigate some of these risks, with a particular focus on support for the most vulnerable (including women, youth, children).
• Promote adoption of climate adapted breeds and crop varieties, and inclusion of long-term accessions in gene banks to provide solutions for future climates.
• Improve access to insurance, shock-responsive social protection and safety nets to support those affected by climate impacts and other shocks to food systems.
• Improve access to climate information services and early warning forecasts for climate-related risks.
• Improve access to, and promote adoption of, sustainable water management technologies at farm and landscape level (rainwater harvesting, drip irrigation, supplemental irrigation, agroecology and managed wetlands, etc.).
• Diversify production systems at all scales to reduce climate risk, including ensuring that all lands and water are under multifunctional land and water use planning.
• Promote an integrated risk management approach through platforms that connect early warning systems with early action and finance.
• Invest in research to support the development and equitable scaling up of digital agriculture and climate services as an integral component of enhanced investments in food system transformation.
Rationale: This action area seeks to enhance the nature contribution of agriculture including improving soil health, fertility, and productivity, which are essential for food security and ecosystem services.
• Increase the share of land under regenerative, resilient and adaptive practices.
• Implement low-disturbance and carbon-enhancing practices such as no-till agriculture, cover crops, crop rotation, intercropping, organic fertilizers, integrated pest management and paludiculture.
• Measure impacts on soil health, yields and livelihoods, contributing to local data collection efforts that support regenerative agriculture systems.
• Improve water use efficiency and management in agriculture through technologies, practices, policies, and incentives that reduce water demand, increase water productivity and conserve water quality.
• Plan and enforce the use of marine and freshwater resources in a way that is equal to that afforded to land.
• Enhance bio-circular economy through recycling of food and other organic waste, and support reuse of biowaste as renewable energy.
• Ensure zero agricultural land expansion on high-carbon landscapes.
• Improve transparency and accountability of finance and major commodity supply chains driving conversion of high-carbon landscapes.
• Develop early warning systems and information management for food demand and supply outlook.
• Support farmers in reducing pesticide usage without compromising production.
Rationale: This action area aims to empower women, IPLCs and other marginalized groups who play a vital role in food production but often face discrimination and barriers in accessing land, resources, markets, and services.
• Strengthen legal frameworks to protect and empower women and marginalized groups in accessing land, resources, markets, and decision-making processes.
• Strengthen institutional capacity and available mechanisms to secure and protect land rights and tenure for IPLCs, women and other marginalized groups.
Rationale: This action area seeks to promote sustainable natural resource management, with corresponding benefits for climate, nature, livelihoods, and productivity, whilst also enhancing links between food security and ecosystem resilience. In particular, the conversion of forests and other ecosystems to agricultural land is a major driver of deforestation and biodiversity loss and increases impacts of droughts and floods.
• Secure effective protection for, and management of, all natural ecosystems.
• Restore forests, degraded lands, oceans, peatlands and other ecosystems through natural or assisted regeneration including (where relevant and appropriate) afforestation, reforestation, rewetting, maximizing use of indigenous species and other NBS.
• Implement zero-deforestation commitments by governments, private sector actors, civil society, and consumers to halt the expansion of agriculture into forested areas.
• Work constructively with other governments and international organisations to agree sustainability standards for the agricultural commodities that contribute disproportionately to deforestation.
• Support farmers in reducing pesticide usage for local ecologies.
Rationale: Food systems, including their energy consumption, account for ~30% of global emissions. Reducing these emissions by 83% is essential to mitigating climate change and meeting existing global agreements and targets (e.g., SDGs, Paris Agreement, Global Methane Pledge). The agrifood system has the potential to contribute actively to the energy transition, in coordination with better use of renewables.
• Reduce methane emissions from agriculture (e.g., rice cultivation, livestock management including enteric fermentation, manure management and herd reduction where necessary).
• Improve nitrogen management including in fertilizer application without compromising food security.
• Abate CO2 emissions throughout the food value chain, including production, processing, distribution, packaging, and retail – as well as consumption, where dietary shifts should be actively promoted. Energy-related abatement could include the replacement of traditional biomass (e.g. charcoal) for cooking in low income countries and households, utilization of renewable energy for agriculture production, processing and distribution (solar-powered irrigation, electrification of the transportation system, low emission maritime shipments), and the direct contribution of agricultural, including forestry, products to energy production, either as primary use (e.g. energy crops) or for residuals (conversion of food waste or underutilized crop residues).
• Reduce nutrient losses through technologies, practices, policies, and incentives that balance fertilizer demand and supply, enhance fertilizer uptake by crops, and prevent fertilizer runoff and leaching into water bodies.
Rationale: 30% of the world’s food supply is currently lost or wasted. This action area addresses these inefficiencies whilst also increasing food availability, reducing GHG emissions, saving natural resources (water, land, energy), and boosting economic growth.
• Improve post-harvest handling and storage of food products (e.g., increase prevalence of temperature and humidity-controlled storage).
• Measure national baselines, identify hotspots for food loss and waste and improve data availability.
• Promote tracking of quantity of food wasted throughout food supply chains
• Raise public awareness, combined with targeted policies, incentives and regulatory frameworks aimed at reuse and reutilization, including the reduction of household waste.
• Encourage private sector actors to implement food loss reduction technologies and practices, and to require their supplies to do the same.
Commit to enhanced monitoring of FLW – and to a 50% FLW reduction target at national level.
Rationale: Digitisation of food and land use systems is occurring through precision farming, gene-editing techniques, and enhanced logistics, enabling producers and consumers to make better informed choices. Similarly, new technology is enabling real-time tracking of natural resources, whilst also enhancing productivity.
• Invest in R&D of innovative, low-emission technologies, practices and products that can enhance the sustainability and resilience of food systems (e.g., cold chain, alternative proteins, irrigation solutions, reducing GHG emissions from crops (e.g., rice) and livestock (e.g., Enteric methane), drought resistant / climate resilient crops, orphan crop breeding, extension services, remote sensing of emissions traceability etc.).
• Improve access to climate adapted varieties and breeds for producers; climate information services and early warning forecasts; and other climate adaptive technologies and practices.
• Provide open access to public sector data (e.g., on land registries, fisheries, soil health etc.). Regulate and incentivize private sector to do same, where appropriate.
• Sign up to the Agriculture Breakthrough.
Rationale: Public finance needs to shift urgently towards supporting more sustainable and resilient modes of production. Similarly, public procurement and tax structures, which can shape consumption choices and thus promote healthy diets, should also be redirected such that they deliver better outcomes for people and the planet.
• Redirect agricultural subsidies to ensure they avoid perverse incentives for forest and ecosystem conversion / degradation. Policy (including subsidy) design should also ensure bioenergy crops do not compete with food crops for land.
• Develop investment pipelines to support agriculture research and innovation – including in alternative proteins R&D and manufacturing capacity development.
• Use government purchasing power to promote, and build demand for, healthy, sustainable diets.
• Align food pricing structures within public procurement and taxation, with consumption guidelines that respect human and planetary health.
• Consider how fiscal incentives can be used to support the development of more sustainable and resilient food systems and consumption by those who cannot afford healthy diets.
• Support sustainable, or regenerative, or nature positive agricultural research and innovation notably on under consumed healthy foods.
There is no time to waste
The world is way off track to meet the Paris Agreement targets, biodiversity commitments and the Sustainable Development Goals.
To stay within a 1.5C global warming limit, CO2 emissions from land use change need to be reduced to zero by 2030 and food systems must be transformed to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
This cannot be done without transforming food systems, which currently account for 30% of GHG emissions.
Food systems are also failing people. 735 million people are suffering from chronic hunger globally and 3.1 billion people can’t afford a healthy diet. Alongside this tragedy of undernourishment, a third of the global population is overweight – and roughly one in ten obese.
Alliance members will ensure their actions drive positive changes across five key interconnected outcome areas
- food & nutrition security
- Adaptation & resilience
- Equity and livelihoods
- Nature and biodiversity
- Climate mitigation
How can you join?
Membership is for governments only and interested countries should submit an enquiry via the ‘Find out More’ page, after which they will be offered a bilateral conversation.
For those countries then wishing to join, the next step is to commit to the Terms of Reference (ToR) at a Ministerial level.
Andrew Steer, President & CEO, Bezos Earth Fund
Paul Polman, Business Leader / Former CEO of Unilever, and Author of ‘Net Positive’
Juan Lucas Restrepo Ibiza, Global Director for Partnerships & Advocacy, CGIAR
David Nabarro, Co-Director and Chair of Global Health at Imperial College’s Institute of Global Health Innovation
Wanjira Mathai, Managing Director Africa & Global Partnerships, WRI
H.E. Mariam Bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, United Arab Emirates
Find out more
The Alliance of Champions for Food Systems Transformation (ACF) will be a coalition of countries united by a shared ambition to transform food systems to deliver better outcomes for people, nature and the climate.
Alliance members will benefit from:
i) Access to extensive learnings and shared best practice
ii) The support of a dedicated secretariat
iii) The expertise and assistance of expert task forces, each focused on helping countries overcome specific barriers to food systems transformation
iv) Targeted technical assistance that will support them with their national food systems transformation needs
v) The high visibility associated with being part of an action-oriented alliance of countries
The alliance will sit outside formal multilateral processes but will ensure a coherent and joined-up approach. It will work in support of, but independently from, the Presidency objectives around food systems transformation.
The ACF draws on similar plurilateral models, such as the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and the Beyond Oil & Gas Alliance, in which a small group of leading countries commit to taking bold domestic action and then, working in collaboration with others, use this to accelerate a global transition.
Membership of the ACF is for governments only. It is open to any government that commits, at a Ministerial level, to meeting the membership criteria set out in the Terms of Reference.
The ACF will be formally launched at COP28 on 10 December 2023 at the Food Systems Pavilion (a dedicated space in the Blue Zone).
Throughout 2023, the Food Systems Collaboration Network (FSCN) has been working with governments, research organisations, the civil society community, funders and multilateral bodies to support the formation of a high ambition alliance dedicated to transforming food systems.
The FSCN is an informal group of civil society organisations committed to help drive transformational change in food systems. It is comprised of the Food and Land Use Coalition, Chatham House, WWF, GAIN, UN Climate Change High Level Champions, World Resources Institute, Just Rural Transition, Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, EAT, the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, CARE, Good Food Finance Network, the Transitioning Urban and Rural Food Systems (TURFS) Consortium, and The Club of Rome. Together, these organisations are uniting as civil society to progress urgent action towards food systems transformation. The FSCN is supported by a range of funders, including ClimateWorks Foundation, Bezos Earth Fund and the Robertson Foundation.
The Terms of Reference (ToR) for membership sets out the requirements for entry into the ACF.
Interested countries should then submit an enquiry via the ‘Find out More’ page, after which they will be offered a bilateral conversation to ask questions about the benefits of membership.
For those countries then wishing to join, the next step is to commit to the ToR at a Ministerial level. Countries wishing to be founding members, and to join other signatories on stage for the official launch at COP28, should aim to return a signed ToR by 24 November 2023.
Numerous countries are currently reviewing the Terms of Reference ahead of the 24 November deadline. The total number of formal signatories will be announced at COP28.
Yes. Upon launch of the ACF at COP28, the Food Systems Collaboration Network (FSCN) will provide a temporary bridging secretariat whilst the permanent secretariat is agreed and approved by ACF members. We anticipate a permanent secretariat will be needed throughout the life of the alliance.
Alliance members are committing to acting across all ten of the priority Intervention Areas as they transform their domestic food systems (and advocate for more ambitious international action). These interventions will contribute to multiple outcomes across food and nutrition security, equity and livelihoods, adaptation and resilience, mitigation, and nature and biodiversity.
Some countries will naturally be able to make more progress in certain areas than others. But to effect genuine food systems transformation, progress must be made across all ten areas, and action in any given area should – at a minimum – not undermine action in another.
In addition, ACF members will be expected to execute their workplans, participate constructively in Ministerial meetings, share knowledge and best practice with co-members, report against agreed metrics (aligned with existing reporting requirements) and support a global public relations effort to promote and demonstrate the benefits of food systems transformation for climate, biodiversity, nutrition, equity and livelihoods.
The ACF Secretariat will stand ready to support all ACF in these activities.