From June 19-21, 2024, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens’ (BKMC) Program Manager Meera Shah joined the 29th High-Level Meeting  “Pathway to the COP29: Sustainable and Resilient Future” organized by the Nizami Ganjavi International Centre. This event marked a significant step towards ensuring the success of COP29, in Baku, Azerbaijan. The BKMC’s involvement highlighted its commitment to elevate agricultural adaptation.  

BKMC Program Manager Meera Shah spoke at the panel “The Special Case of the Food and Agriculture Sector” with other esteemed speakers including Ismail Serageldin, Co-chair of NGIC and former Vice-President of the World Bank, Ilhama Gadimova, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Azerbaijan, Filip Vujanovic, former President of Montenegro, and Abdulaziz Altwaijri, former Director General of ISESCO. This session was moderated by Ismahane Elouafi, Executive Managing Director of CGIAR. 

The discussion focused on transforming the food and agriculture sector from a major greenhouse gas emitter to a key player in GHG removal. This transformation offers multiple benefits: reducing emissions, addressing poverty and hunger, and increasing adaptation and resilience. Such a shift would also enhance the sector’s efficiency and effectiveness in reducing poverty and abolishing hunger while protecting ecosystems. 

Mrs. Shah highlighted the urgent need for adaptation among Africa’s smallholder farmers. She emphasized that improving soil health, updating water management, and using resilient crop varieties are essential steps that can simultaneously reduce agricultural emissions and improve farmers’ productivity and income. However, she pointed out that many farmers are unaware of these solutions, cannot afford them, or face challenges because these solutions were designed for a less rapidly warming world. 

To tackle these issues, she underscored the importance of knowledge sharing, capacity building, education, training, and investing in extension services. She called for mechanisms to de-risk investments that farmers need to make and stressed the necessity for significant innovation in the sector.  

Mrs. Shah stressed that adequate financing is crucial for transforming agriculture in Africa, empowering farmers to invest in quality seeds, fertilizers, irrigation systems, and new technologies that enhance efficiency and reduce vulnerability to climate impacts. Such investments would also enable research institutions like CGIAR to continue innovating. She concluded that COP29 in Baku must prioritize adaptation to rebuild trust in climate negotiations and achieve the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG). A successful COP29 hinges on placing adaptation at the forefront of the agenda. 

The BKMC’s active participation in the 29th High-Level Meeting in Baku underscores the necessity of a unified and comprehensive approach to climate action. By fostering collaboration and innovation, the BKMC is helping to pave the way for a successful COP29 and a more sustainable future for all.

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The BKMC @ the 29th High-Level Meeting  “Pathway to the COP29: Sustainable and Resilient Future” in Baku

Check out the summary videos of the event:

Part I

Part II