Summary report, 14 November 2017

High-Level Roundtables on Climate Action and Zero Hunger

The High-Level Roundtables on Climate Action for Zero Hunger took place on 14 November 2017, in Bonn, Germany, on the sidelines of the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The roundtables were organized by the: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA); Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport (SLOCAT); Paris Process on Mobility and Climate (PPMC); World Bank; Centre for International Forest Research (CIFOR); United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); World Wildlife Fund (WWF); International Union for Conservation for Nature (IUCN); Research for Community Access Partnership (ReCAP); Global Resilience Partnership (GRP); and UN Environment.

A key theme of the roundtables was that hunger, poverty and climate change must be tackled together, including through: appropriate policy interventions; mobilization of financial and non-financial means of implementation; creative cross-sectoral integration of policy and programmatic action; eliminating food loss and waste; restoration of degraded lands and forests; and diversification and better integration of food production systems into ecological processes to create synergies with the natural habitat instead of depleting natural resources, such as agroecology and sustainable intensification.

The high-level roundtables on climate action for zero hunger offered a forum to discuss how effective scaled-up action can be organized, supported and sustained.



Lucy Hockings, BBC, moderated the session.

Enele Sopoaga, Prime Minister, Tuvalu, emphasized that climate change is not only affecting Tuvalu, but the whole of humanity. He underscored the grave danger that Pacific islands are under, including land contamination from seawater leading to unusable lands and brackish water. Sopoaga noted that the whole world is vulnerable already. He called for global action now before it is too late.

José Graziano da Silva, Director-General, FAO, highlighted that in 2015 the number of people going hungry increased to 850 million, due to economic crises and the combined effects of conflict and climate change. He noted the risk of hunger could be increased by 20% by 2050. Graziano da Silva underscored that while agriculture is impacted by climate change, agriculture contributes to climate change with at least 20% of global emissions. He emphasized the need to combine climate-smart practices, tackling hunger and poverty.

Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Minister of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia, noted that Indonesia’s significant challenges to sustainable forest management are exacerbated by climate change. Giving an overview of government initiatives, she noted “social forestry,” a strategy to provide access for legal work in state forests, but not land ownership, and agrarian reform in over 3 million hectares.

Semi Koroilavesau, Minister of Fisheries, Fiji, underscored the vulnerability of food systems to the impacts of climate change. He emphasized that if it is not addressed, the goal to end hunger will be increasingly out of reach.

Thomas Pesquet, Astronaut, European Space Agency (ESA), described the climate research activities carried out by ESA from space. He described the space station as an observation window allowing observing of Earth’s fragility, and how landscapes and ecosystems are shaped by human activity and agriculture. Pesquet emphasized that, having seen the problems from space, he hoped to see solutions coming out from the international community.

In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed: prioritization of agriculture budgets; capacity training; achieving zero hunger; the impacts of drought on rain-fed agriculture education; and fish production as a protein source.


Rene Castro, FAO, moderated the session.

Richard Betts, University of Exeter, elaborated on climate change impact modeling for 1.5C, 2C and 4C warming scenarios. He said some climate change impacts are certain, such as those of sea level rise and heat stress, while others, such as effects on wheat production, drought and river flows, are subject to scientific uncertainty. For the latter, he suggested taking a risk management approach.

Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Samoa, said food security of Pacific islanders is threatened by urbanization and low nutritional quality food imports. She stressed health impacts, including increased risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) due to decreased food security. She urged the enactment and enforcement of food safety regulations in Pacific nations. She noted that, in Samoa, most farmers are organic by default.

Allen Chastanet, Prime Minister, St. Lucia, said achieving sustainable development requires adopting a world minimum standard of living and individual-based bottom-up policies. He compared defense expenditure with that on fighting climate change, and underscored devastating impacts of extreme weather events, such as the estimated 200% GDP cost of Hurricane Maria’s “ravaging” of Dominica.

Valquiria Lima, Programme One Million Cisterns, highlighted technologies to help families and communities to increase their resilience to water stress. She said her programme had helped over 5 million people. Lima noted the impacts of deforestation in the Amazon and other areas on Brazil’s climate and water availability.

Eric Soubeiran, Danone, described trends in alimentation, including reconnecting consumers with what they eat, localization of food, and consumer activism. He described Danone’s investment to stabilize revenue of farmers to allow them to engage in non-transactional discussions about agriculture systems.

Patrick Caron, CIRAD, underscored the need to integrate climate change concerns in food security policy and programmes, increase the resilience of poorer people and consider mitigation as a co-objective of food and adaptation policies. Caron defined SDG 2 (zero hunger) as the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The ensuing discussion addressed issues such as private sector carbon neutral pledges, engagement of the health sector in adaptation measures, and competition for water.


Fekita ‘Utoikamanu, High Representative Office for Land-locked Countries, Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS) moderated this roundtable exploring opportunities and requirements for reducing food insecurity and malnutrition in SIDS.

Inia Seruiratu, Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, and National Disaster Management, Fiji, emphasized the need for climate-informed development without compromising food security or agricultural production.

Tommy Remengesau, President of Palau, called upon states to participate in the Port State Measures Agreement to combat illegal fishing. He also noted there needs to be a paradigm shift in institutions and people to enhance awareness and move towards nutrition and healthy lifestyles. 

Herod Stanislas, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Cooperatives, St. Lucia, warned that SIDS are in the “front row” of the severity of climate change.

Ronald Jumeau, Permanent Representative of Seychelles to UN, said Seychelles’ blue economy model is building financial resilience to improve food security, production and sustainable fisheries.

Aupito Su’a William Sio, Minister for Pacific Peoples, New Zealand, emphasized the support from New Zealand to its neighbors, and underscored the important of combatting illegal fishing.

Koji Makimoto, Japan, noted continued support for technology transfer for sustainable fishing. Roberto Ridolfi, European Commission, stressed the need for policy reform and risk reduction addressing overcapacity and overfishing as part of mitigation and adaptation measures.

Audrey Aumua, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, said the Pacific Ocean supplies 50-90% of animal protein to the Pacific people. Kosi Latu, Director-General, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), emphasized the need to reduce the vulnerability of the SIDS in the context of fisheries and food security.

Chris Hood, President of Kellogg Europe, underscored that Kellogg wants to offer practical solutions to addressing climate change and food security from the private sector. Pa Ousman Jarju, Green Climate Fund (GCF), said the GCF focus is to empower countries, and their investment priorities include resilient climate agendas in sectors that address food security.

Périn Saint-Ange, International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), noted the importance of reducing food waste and of de-risking working with small producers. Meg Taylor, Secretary General, Pacific Islands Forum, emphasized the need to think outside the box, as well as to address food security and nutrition together.


Marc Sadler, World Bank, moderated the session.

Eduardo Mansur, FAO, said world hunger had recently increased due to climate impacts and conflict. He contrasted increasing hunger with increasing obesity and 30% food waste. He highlighted the ongoing shift from sector-based approaches to integrated approaches for climate and hunger.

Siti Nurbaya Bakar highlighted the forest sector’s contributions to food security. She outlined Indonesia’s Social Forestry Programme, including support from Parliament, land-reform schemes, cooperation between ministries, preservation of traditional products, and village climate programs.

Joan Carling, Indigenous Peoples’ Major Group for Sustainable Development, described indigenous peoples agricultural rotation, as a centuries-old sustainable adaptation practice. She noted such practices are often considered illegal due to lack of forest land tenure rights. Noting negotiations on a traditional knowledge platform, she emphasized the role of women in preserving traditional knowledge for food security and sustainable resource management.

Walter Oyhantcabal, Uruguay, said livestock accounts for 74% of GHG emissions in Uruguay, and that 73% of farmers in Uruguay are small family farmers. He outlined policies for sustainable intensification of the livestock sector, including a climate-smart approach, with the aim of feeding 50 million people by 2050.

Rony Granados, National Forestry Institute, Guatemala, emphasized national policies to protect productive soil assets. He described national reforestation programmes as a tool to protect productive soil assets and increase resilience to climate change, including by prevention of mud slides in deforested areas. He noted incentives to small farmers to allow transitioning from yearly crops to long-term traditional forestry crops. Granados said over 200,000 hectares of degraded land have been recovered so far. He emphasized the need to formalize traditional land ownership.

Valentina Savastano, Committee on World Food Security (CFS), FAO, underscored integration of agriculture and forest management for food security. She highlighted the role of forests in providing safety nets, diversified diets, ecosystem services, and as a source of energy and income.

In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed topics including: challenges on climate change and resilience; better integration of agriculture and forestry; how to involve the public in agriculture policies; policy tools to ensure that intensification of livestock does not lead to deforestation; reverting agricultural land to grasslands; and tradition as a barrier to economically sustainable practices.


Bob Orr, UN Secretary-General Special Advisor on Climate Change, moderated the event.

Mailes Zulu Muke, CEO, Save Environment and People Agency, emphasized the importance of providing capacity building to famers on the ground, because that is where action happens.

Jeremy Hill, Fonterra, said robust frameworks, science and facts are needed to support community development throughout the food production value chain.

David Howlett, GRP, noted the importance of involving the farming community and communities down the value chain, so that resilient systems can be built.

Mark Henry Rubarenzya, Uganda National Roads Authority, said a paradigm shift is required in transport to provide efficient access roads to rural communities.

Chris Hood, said Kellogg is helping to tackle the interconnected issues of hunger and food systems in local communities by improving yields, building climate resilience and reducing emissions, increasing overall productivity.

Frank van Steenbergen, CEO, MetaMeta, said roads are carriers of agricultural development and change, but have large impacts on landscape. He said drainage is key to preserving roads. He suggested using road drainage to harvest water and protect people from floods.

Amadou Hott, African Development Bank (AfDB), said that Africa is a net food importer, a trend which is increasing. He summarized AfDB initiatives to turn Africa into a net food exporter, including blended finance, and the Africa Risk Capacity instrument.

Martin Frick, UNFCCC, highlighted that if food waste were a country it would be the third largest GHG emitter in the world. He noted that antagonisms between transport and agriculture can be avoided if the right actions are taken. He said those sectors will feature prominently at COP 24.


Salaheddine Mezouar, Morocco and President of COP 22, said the number of malnourished people in the world has increased. He stressed that people at risk of malnourishment are also at risk from extreme climate events, highlighting an increasing number and intensity of the latter. Mezouar said climate change is a deeply destabilizing factor for vulnerable populations.

Inia Seruiratu said it is critical to pursue climate-informed, climate-smart development, but also to ensure that people are fed.

Aupito Su’a William Sio, quoted New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, stating that “climate change is the nuclear-free moment of her generation.” He highlighted New Zealand’s commitment to zero carbon by 2050, and said the Pacific region is ambitious because it is fighting for survival.

Rene Castro summarized the session goal as finding out whether a low-carbon world of one ton per capita can feed itself. The answer is “yes, we can,” he stated. Castro noted that unless the world agrees on fundamental human rights, such as zero hunger, it will be impossible to reach the climate goals.

Ankit Kawatra, Founder, Feeding India, underscored his aim to solve hunger during his lifetime, emphasizing the need to: increase agricultural yields, reduce food waste; and scale solutions across the planet.

The event closed at 4:26pm.

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