Climate change is already transforming humanity’s relationship with nature, and nowhere is this shift more apparent than in the field of agriculture. Farmers worldwide are contending with rising temperatures, proliferating pests, and increasing droughts and floods that require new approaches to crops that have been grown for generations.
It’s a dynamic that leaves farmers exposed to financial ruin and diminishing yields, a prospect that threatens global food security at a time when the global population and its demand for calories continues to grow.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further impacted farmers, often cutting them off from laborers, markets, and government assistance. “Building back better” from the pandemic requires bold climate action that prioritizes smallholder farmers who are struggling to overcome structural and environmental forces outside of their control. That’s why the BKMC is entering a two-year partnership with Global Citizen — to advocate for climate-resilient agriculture by championing smallholder farmers especially in Africa and calling on world leaders to strengthen global food security and increase development aid to agricultural adaptation.
“2021 is the year we recover back better and call for increased political commitments,” said Ban Ki-moon, founder of the organization and 8th secretary-general of the United Nations.
“Partnering with Global Citizen on adaptation, the Ban Ki-moon Centre will join the collective effort to address climate change, focusing on building the climate resilience of smallholder farmers around the world.”
The partnership will involve behind-the-scenes advocacy and public awareness efforts that work hand-in-hand. By identifying governments that have shown broad sympathy for the cause of climate adaptation, the partnership will seek to increase development aid for agricultural adaptation in low-income countries.In support of these outreach efforts, Global Citizen and the BKMC will also seek to improve understanding of the challenges facing smallholder farmers, the complex dynamics of climate change, and how demand-driven research, such as those championed by CGIAR, accelerates climate adaptation on the ground.
In particular, the Program will bring forward the stories of smallholder farmers and how they’re confronting the climate crisis, incorporating agricultural adaptation tools and techniques, and building a better future.
While countries have shifted toward a form of industrial agriculture in recent decades that features massive plots of land and heavy use of chemicals, there are still roughly 570 million smallholder farms worldwide that manage land less than two acres in size. These farms support communities through food production, jobs, and the maintenance of traditional practices. But climate change primarily threatens smallholder farmers who do not always have the resources to adapt to emerging disruptions. Farmers often have to sell or leave their land when faced with rising temperatures, droughts, and other environmental changes. The absorption of small farms into industrial farms, meanwhile, often further contributes to the problem of greenhouse gas emissions.
Today you can start by taking our joint short quiz powered by Global Citizen to understand why the situation facing farmers is so urgent.
The partnership will highlight the lived experiences of female farmers on the front lines of food production; break down how adequately funded research can transform agriculture; explore how young people are reshaping agriculture and unlocking new opportunities; explain how agricultural adaptation practices can actually mitigate climate change, and look at how farming communities can improve rural development more broadly.
Through written content, video, and social media, the partners will put a light on the people who are crucial to the future survival of humanity: farmers.
Whether or not countries can navigate the disruptions of the worsening climate crisis depends in part on how well smallholder farmers can adapt. Farmers require stable weather conditions and steady supplies of water, both of which are becoming increasingly precarious as temperatures rise. Looked at another way, focusing on the plight of farmers can foster society-wide climate resilience. If the people who tilled the land were prioritized in global decision-making processes, then fossil fuels would be phased out more rapidly and inequality eradicated sooner. After all, fewer greenhouse emissions mean less climate change and more favorable conditions for growing food.
Global Citizen, 22 April 2021
“Only through such solidarity can we limit climate risks.”
Countries must use this Earth Day as an opportunity to invest in climate adaptation measures, Ban Ki-moon, the former United Nations secretary-general, said in a statement on Wednesday
The veteran diplomat said that climate change already poses “risks to lives and livelihoods,” and that these consequences will only multiply in the decades to come. Countries have to rapidly accelerate their climate commitments to prevent further environmental decline.
“No nation or community is immune from the impact of climate change, but the vulnerable are feeling the effects first and worst,” Ban said.
Climate change is a neutral force, but it’s happening to societies rife with inequalities. As a result, people living in poverty are more likely to be impacted by climate change. Women are also more impacted than men, and Black people, Indigneous people, and people of color (BIPOC) are disproportionately harmed. The intersectional nature of climate impacts means that all efforts to protect the planet must prioritize climate justice.
This means that at-risk communities must receive the resources they need to prepare for and adapt to climate shocks, setting them up for a resilient future.
The world’s smallholder farmers, in particular, need urgent assistance. In many agricultural hotspots, climate change is making it harder to grow crops. Farmers who tend small plots of land are both losing their sources of income and food in the process. Without money to recover and adapt, these farmers are often forced to sell their livestock and land to avoid hunger.
Supporting farmers means first and foremost reducing greenhouse gas emissions to prevent catastrophic global warming. In material terms, it also means providing them with the technology, seeds, and market access that will allow them to withstand climate impacts. Facilitating farmer cooperatives can help farmers build local networks of power and resources.
The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens is joined by Global Citizen for its advocacy around this cause and overall climate action.
Supporting smallholder farmers would have benefits beyond local harvests and individual income levels. It would also reduce global hunger at a time when hunger is on the rise, bolster local and national economies, support broader community welfare, and mitigate the factors that lead to conflict.
More than 40 leaders are attending the US Leaders Summit on Climate on Earth Day. While they’ll primarily focus on how to align policy with the Paris climate agreement, they can also carve out space to collaborate on global adaptation efforts, Ban said.
“Only through such solidarity can we limit climate risks and build a world of peace, dignity, and prosperity on a healthy planet — leaving no one behind.”
From March 1-5, 2021, the BKMC took part in ENLIGHT European University Network‘s official virtual kickoff, an alliance of nine European universities, striving for students to become lifelong learners and agents-of-change ready to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. The week was packed with exciting lectures, high-level roundtables, student-led sessions, and more!
BKMC CEO and External Advisory Board member of ENLIGHT, Monika Froehler, joined two separate public sessions to share the message of the BKMC and to highlight the importance of instilling global citizenship knowledge, skills, and behaviors in students as well as fostering lifelong learning.
On March 2, CEO Froehler joined a high-level round-table discussion between ENLIGHT Rectors and the ENLIGHT External Advisors. The discussion was themed, ‘Shaping communities – How can universities contribute to local and regional challenges?’ and featured three smaller roundtables on ‘Learning and Teaching,’ ‘Research,’ ‘International Cooperation’ respectively
Taking part in the third roundtable on ‘International Cooperation,’ CEO Froehler underlined the incredible potential for sustainable impact through the ENLIGHT network:
“If only 1/3 of ENLIGHT students become gamechangers, this would make Europe a leading champion in multilateralism.” – Monika Froehler
During the second roundtable on ‘Research’, External Advisory Board member and BKMC Board Member, Irina Bokova (former Director-General of UNESCO), underlined academia’s role in contributing to the sustainable development agenda:
“What is very important is for universities to introduce the concept of interdisciplinarity, lifelong learning & global citizenship education to prepare students for future challenges.” – Irina Bokova
To conclude the discussion, the roundtable participants were asked to reflect on what attracts talented students to universities and the “value proposition” of ENLIGHT. The participants, including university Rectors and Presidents in addition to the esteemed External Advisors, remarked that the consortium will help to increase the talent pool at member universities as students will have the unique chance to benefit from the best educational opportunities available at all 9 universities. Each university has its strengths and together, the Enlight university members form a “virtuous circle” which helps individual universities develop along with the wider regions in which they are located.
On March 4, CEO Froehler joined Flagship Lecture #3 on ‘Global Engagement and Equity’ and presented a keynote themed, ‘Engaging Global Citizens for the Achievement of the SDGs.
During her talk, Monika outlined the key tenants of global citizenship and how the BKMC is working to engage and empower youth and women as actors for the SDGs. She also spoke about the role of ENLIGHT in educating engaged global citizens:
“We hope to fundamentally transform European Higher Education with ENLIGHT by empowering learners as engaged global citizens with state of the art knowledge, skills & innovation potential.” – Monika Froehler
Andrej Findor, Associate Professor and acting Director of European Studies and International Relations at Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia, focused his keynote on the comparative evaluation of equity, inclusion, and diversity (EID) indicators at nine European universities.
“The pandemic has intensified the exclusion of different types of people.For example, some students at Comenius are going through difficult socio-economical situations as their parents or even themselves are now unemployed.” – Andrej Findor
Nata Duvvury, Senior Lecturer and Director, Centre for Global Women’s Studies and Co-Leader of Gender and Public Policy Cluster in the Whitaker Institute at National University of Ireland, Galway, focused her keynote on ‘Approaches to Equality: Mainstreaming or Intersectionality?’ Noting the mainstreaming equality isn’t enough, Duvvury described two clear ways forward to promote intersectionality within universities:
1. Acknowledging and valuing diverse feminist, anti-racist, decolonial, and disability scholarship in the university.
2. Taking actions to decrease class, gender, and racial inequality within the institutions.
The BKMC is excited to be an Associated Partner of the ENLIGHT European University network and to have CEO Monika Froehler represented on the External Advisory Board!
Stay tuned for news on exciting collaborations between the BKMC and ENLIGHT in the year ahead!
To watch what ENLIGHT is all about:
To watch the recordings of the launch:
The COVID19 pandemic and its far-reaching impacts on the economy, climate, health, hunger, and education have halted and reversed the progress made for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Inequality among people, nations, and continents is getting worse. To call for global action, our partner organization Global Citizen has launched a new campaign that will feature their unique pop and policy approach.
The BKMC is very excited to be partnering with Global Citizen for the Recover Better Together Campaign. Building upon our Co-chair Ban Ki-moon’s twin legacies of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs, we are dedicated to being a part of this collective effort and amplifying the voices for the needs of smallholder farmers as well as building the capacity of youth and women to take action on climate adaptation – who are on the front lines of climate change as well as the COVID crisis.
2021 is the year we recover back better and call for increased political commitments. Partnering with Global Citizen on adaptation, the Ban Ki-moon Centre will join the collective effort to address climate change, focusing on building the climate resilience of smallholder farmers around the world.” – Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens Co-chair, Ban Ki-moon
As an environment partner to the Protect the Planet pillar of Global Citizen’s Recovery Plan, we have come together with Global Citizen for a two-year collaboration that will strive for a climate-change-resilient world – free of hunger by Elevating Agriculture Adaptation.
Anchored in the findings of the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), the partnership will help to increase political commitment and public support to build the resilience of 300 million small-scale farming households around the world. Global Citizen and the BKMC will work collaboratively to address agricultural adaptation and strive to secure new governmental commitments for climate-smart agriculture. Learn more about the program here.
Watch the launch of Global Citizen’s Recovery Plan above.
Guest Blog by SIMC Master Student, Adélaïde MORILLOT
As the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) continue to gain importance and visibility in our societies and lifestyles, so too does the need to build a widespread understanding of the issues that relate to these goals. As the Strategy and Innovation (SIMC) students at the Vienna University of Economics and Business we were excited to collaborate with the Ban-Ki Moon Centre on a workshop about sustainable agriculture and food value chains. This workshop was designed by the BKMC to raise awareness about the impact of different agricultural food chains and to encourage more sustainable buying behaviors by capacity building.
After a brief introduction of the BKMC’s work, presented by Communications Officer Katre Olmez, we got to know more about the SDGs and food supply chains through a keynote from COO Katrin Harvey. The workshop continued with an eye-opening interactive exercise, in which as students we were divided into breakout rooms to research the supply chains of certain breakfast items, including almond milk, cow’s milk, avocados, tea, and coffee. We looked into indicators such as transportation methods, cold chain management, and water consumption throughout the process… did you know that it takes ~5 liters of water to grow a single almond?!
The event ended with a lively discussion about each group’s findings on where breakfast comes from. We gained many valuable insights into the impact of the supply chains of some of our favorite food items. This led to an interesting understanding of the ecological footprint of some items, and also to some ideas of how we can consume food more sustainably.
We look forward to more engagements with the BKMC, as we all need to shift towards more sustainable habits for a better future!
NOTE: The BKMC is focusing on a new program, Elevating Agricultural Adaptation (EAA), which aims to tackle the issue of agricultural adaptation of small-holder farmers and strive to secure new commitments. In this context, this event provided a platform to raise awareness about food systems and sustainable agriculture. Learn more about the program here.
The Climate Adaptation Summit 2021 led by Co-chair Ban Ki-moon, hosted by the Netherlands and the Global Center on Adaptation convened over 18,000 registrations, 300 speakers, 160 side events, 32 countries, world leaders, and local stakeholders.
It launched a comprehensive Adaptation Action Agenda and heard of new financial pledges to initiatives to make the world more resilient to the effects of climate change.
BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon led several discussions before and during the summit. On January 22nd, five Nobel Laureates and more than 3,000 scientists from over 100 countries signed up to the “Groningen Science Declaration” calling on world leaders, decision-makers and investors, to change the way we understand, plan and invest for a changing climate to ensure we limit future damage. On January 25th, a Ministerial Dialogue saw over forty countries committing to adaptation.
Watch the summary video of all the events right here:
The opening session on January 25th, led by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, under the patronage of Ban Ki-Moon, demonstrated the world’s leading countries and the international development communities’ commitments to climate adaptation and showcased some of their prominent programs and initiatives. The event gave us a clear message: we need to treat climate adaptation as urgently as we have mitigation within the development agenda towards achieving the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.
Food security is an increasing threat in Africa in face of climate change. The anchoring event on Africa stressed the need for predictable long-term public financing for climate change, which should then allocate 50% to adaptation. Donor countries are urged to provide bridging finance to prepare projects into bankable projects.
The anchoring event on finance and investment highlighted the important fact that the world needs 300 billion USD for adaptation efforts while there is currently only 30 billion USD reserved for it. In order to raise that number and attract more investment, climate risk visibility and evaluation should be integrated into every decision-making, from national planning to financial decisions. In addition, green bond has proven to be a viable and attractive option to raise finance.
BKMC CEO Monika Froehler moderated a panel session on the need for increased commitment to agricultural adaptation focusing on building the resilience of small-holder farmers. The panel hosted sector doyens such as:
●Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development ● Yannick Glemarec , Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund ● Dr. Sinead Walsh , Deputy Director General & Climate Envoy, Development Cooperation and Africa Division Department of Foreign Affairs, Government of Ireland ● Michael Sheldrick, Chief Government Affairs Officer, Global Citizen
IFAD announced its ASAP+ Program which is the world’s largest fund dedicated to small-scale food producers, aimed at raising 500 million USD to benefit more than 10 million people. Read the summary of the event right here.
There is an opportunity right now to utilize the available liquidity for COVID19 recovery to invest in adaptation. The need to start investing in large-scale agriculture resilience in lieu of small pilot projects is crucial.
The BKMC is also excited about its upcoming cooperation with GCA to foster the role of young women in climate adaptation under GCA’s Young Leadership Programme. The Anchoring Event on Youth Leadership on January 25th marked the launch of the program and served to handover the Global Youth Call to Action on Adaptation prepared by young people from 120 countries to Co-chair Ban Ki-moon and other world leaders. The call aims to help bridge the adaptation action gap, especially amongst youth. The BKMC is keen on strengthening the role of young women in this field.
Today, on December 12th, 2020, we are commemorating the 5th year anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement and the leaders who worked vigorously to bring it to life. In 2007, when Ban Ki-moon first assumed his position as the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations, he positioned global action on climate change as a guiding priority of his mandate. He remembers how many people were surprised by this, “but immediately raising this issue of critical significance was necessary to set the tone for my leadership and policy priorities from the outset.”
During his tenure as Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon hosted five major climate change summits and worked tirelessly to place climate action as a priority for national governments. Being the first Secretary-General to attend all the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) sessions, he reflects on COP15 (the 15th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC) “…even though there was no binding agreement, a “political accord” drafted by US, China, India, South Africa, and Brazil was issued. This document would serve as the basis for continuing the COPs until the 2015 Paris Agreement.”
Working up to COP21 in Paris, Ban Ki-moon went on several on-the-ground visits around the world to see the immense impact caused by climate change on communities, countries, and the planet’s entirety. He recalls, “…these travels reinforced my belief that climate change represented humankind’s biggest challenge.”
The UNFCCC’s COP21 in 2015 signified a milestone for global climate action. This was the conference where the Paris Climate Agreement was adopted by world leaders representing 195 nations. This was a remarkable moment in history when all countries unanimously came to a consensus on committing to slow down the rise in temperatures, limit greenhouse gas emissions, and elevate climate-resilient development and adaptation. Ban Ki-moon to this day is still “incredibly proud of the fact that we unanimously achieved this landmark goal, and the Paris Agreement was adopted by consensus in Paris on December 12th, 2015. This was a resounding triumph not only for our earth but for multilateralism as well.”
As we are in the final stretch of a truly unprecedented year 2020, on this anniversary of the landmark agreement, we are reminded of the commitments made five years ago by global leaders on behalf of humanity. The Paris Agreement was the starting point, a valuable blueprint to mitigate the serious threats to our planet.
We need to prepare for our future.
Now, more than ever we need to invest in our collective efforts to break the earth’s fever.
On November 4, 2020, Ban Ki-moon Centre CEO Monika Froehler moderated a breakout session during the “Priorities at the Farm Level” session of the Vienna Energy Forum “Food Systems Track” online series. This year the sessions serve as a platform to discuss pathways to better align the energy transition with the food systems transformation, focusing on opportunities in developing countries.
The “Enablers for Progress” discussion welcomed: Fiona Hoffman-Harland – Shell Foundation, Manssor Ahmad – Agribusiness Impact Investment of The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of UK, Camile Andre Bataille – ANKA Madagascar, Joseph Kienzle – FAO, and Lowell Randel – Global Cold Chain Alliance.
The session (starting at 1:47:10) focused on the enablers for food systems transitions, especially for enabling opportunities when considering #farm-level priorities. The panelists discussed what is needed as a helping hand for smallholder farmers and how to effectively involve women and youth in food system processes.
Joseph Kienzle – FAO, emphasized: “We need transportation, access to modern technology, and capacity building incentive packages. We need to make the private sector understand what smallholder farmers need.”
On how to integrate and reach women and youth on these opportunities, Lowell Randel – Global Cold Chain Alliance recommended that “We really have to pay close attention and provide them with training on, farm and the value of the cold chain. It is educating the youth and women that is critical to keep the cold chain and extend product life”.
Fiona Hoffman-Harland – Shell Foundation called for a need to focus on the entrepreneurial side of women, reasoning that “We must address social barriers and not just provide women tailored products. Women spend more money on their families than their businesses. Both men and women struggle with time poverty. But women struggle more than men with subsidized time, child-care, which go hand in hand with social norms.”
To conclude the session CEO Monika Froehler put together a list of recommendations to provide opportunities for smallholder farmers, she continued: “The full chain value approach needs to be taken into consideration. The three-legged-stool is key; we need training, technology, and finance.”