From June 3-13, 2024 the 60th session of the Subsidiary Bodies of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was convened in Bonn, Germany. These sessions serve as a crucial mid-year event, laying the groundwork for COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan. This gathering is an essential platform for young professionals to observe and get involved in negotiations, host and participate in side events to raise important issues, and to amplify youth voices from all over the world.

YPARD participated in the SB60 with the aim of demonstrating the importance of youth involvement in shaping the future of agriculture and climate policy. Xiaoshang Deng, YPARD's Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator, facilitated one of the YOUNGO Spokes Council meetings where youth climate activists delivered powerful speeches advocating for stronger climate policies and increased youth engagement. They highlighted innovative youth-led solutions and emphasized the importance of climate justice. 

One of YPARD’s long-standing positions has also been to advocate for the Sharm el Sheikh Joint Work on Food and Agriculture to agree on workshops and to unify efforts within the food community through various food hubs. This advocacy is carried out through active policy work and involvement in YOUNGO, ensuring that the voices of young professionals are heard and considered in global climate and agricultural policies. YPARD closely followed the negotiations on the Sharm el-Sheikh Joint Work on Agriculture and Food Security throughout the conference.

“All parties have reached an agreement on a draft decision and it is worth highlighting that a roadmap with timeline has been proposed and food systems has been included in the official text as one of the topics of workshops”, Xiaoshang commented at the end of the SB.

YPARD took part in and followed several side events at the conference. Abidur Rehman, YPARD South Korea Representative, joined for the first week, engaging with other youth organizations and attending side events, underscoring the importance of youth networks in climate action. Genna Tesdall, Director of YPARD, was a panelist at the SB60 side event "The Road to Belém & Beyond: Financing & Leveraging Agroecology for Impactful NDCs, NBSAPs, and NAPs” organized by Biovision Foundation, WWF, International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) and South Asian Forum for Environment (SAFE). She discussed the potential of initiatives like FAST to fund agroecology, emphasizing the role of youth in transforming food systems through agroecology.

Photo credit: Biovision Foundation
In her intervention, Genna commented “Youth need decent livelihoods to remain engaged in food and agriculture systems, making agroecology particularly promising. It provides pathways for low-capital involvement in food systems while enhancing working conditions. Most importantly, it centers on empowering individuals, especially young people.”

The Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transformation (FAST) Partnership held a members meeting at the GIZ headquarters during the SB, which YPARD took part in as a Board Member. Trisha Mandal, Communications and Membership Coordinator of YPARD participated in the FAST meeting where members discussed  the specifics of the priority activities to focus on before COP29. Following this, YPARD joined the high level launch of the Harmonia Initiative, a joint project of the COP 29 Presidency and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), designed to foster collaboration between existing initiatives on food and agriculture. These engagements highlighted YPARD’s advocacy for enhancing climate finance and prioritizing farmers, especially women, young farmers, indigenous farmers, and local communities, in the pursuit of sustainable and resilient food systems.

Launch of the Harmonia Initiative

Last year, YPARD was part of the Youth co-host of the Food Systems Pavilion at COP28, and played an important role in the organization of the Pavilion space. At the SB in Bonn, YPARD joined the press conference where the Action on Food Hub for COP29 was announced. The collective initiative of joining the different food pavilions to form a collective space for dialogues on agri-food systems was welcomed by YPARD. 

Below are some of the substantive highlights from the SB60 in Bonn.

Breakthrough for the SSJW

In Bonn, a significant breakthrough was achieved concerning the Sharm el-Sheikh Joint Work on Agriculture and Food Security (SSJWA). After eighteen months of extensive negotiations, a comprehensive work plan was agreed upon. This breakthrough marks a pivotal step forward in integrating climate action with agricultural and food security initiatives under the UNFCCC framework.

The SSJWA roadmap outlines several key activities aimed at addressing the nexus of climate change, agriculture, and food security. Here are some key points on the breakthrough in Bonn:

  • The topics and formats for the workshops have been agreed upon by Parties. There will be two workshops held, conducted in a hybrid format and open to the Constituted Bodies of the Convention and Observer organizations. Each workshop will generate a detailed report. Observer bodies will have the opportunity to propose subjects, formats, and speaker recommendations.

    The first workshop will be organized at SB62 in June 2025 with the title “Systemic and holistic approaches to implementation of climate action on agriculture, food systems and food security, understanding, cooperation and integration into plans”. The second will be held in June 2026 on “Accessing Means of Implementation for Climate Action in Agriculture and Food Security, including Sharing of Best Practices”.

  • An annual synthesis report will be produced, and the online portal will be made operational to facilitate the sharing of best practices and implementation strategies. This portal will be open to contributions from various international organizations, enhancing the collaborative nature of the initiative. 
Negotiations being held in an informal consultation on the SSJW

The breakthrough at SB60 underscores the importance of incorporating a food systems approach to climate action within the UNFCCC. This includes better integration of resilient and equitable food systems into the  Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). Furthermore, it emphasizes the need for increased financial flows towards transforming food systems, particularly by supporting small-scale food producers. Ensuring that food systems, agriculture, and food security remain high on the agenda for future COP meetings is crucial for sustained progress.

Overall, the agreement reached at SB60 paves the way for more structured and effective collaboration on climate action related to agriculture and food security. It highlights the growing recognition of the critical role that food systems play in addressing climate change and sets a clear path for future actions and discussions. The next steps will involve further coordination of joint work, with discussions expected to continue at COP31 in 2026. This breakthrough represents a promising opportunity to address substantive issues, foster knowledge sharing, and advance climate action under the UNFCCC.

SSJW Draft document:

Launch of the Action on Food Hub at SB60 in Bonn: A Unified Front for Food Systems

A collective initiative for COP29 was launched at the SB60 in Bonn: the Action on Food Hub, a unified platform merging three distinct food pavilions from previous COPs into a single cohesive space. This ambitious project aims to represent the entire food systems community, enhancing collaboration and engagement with international climate negotiations.

In the past, the Food Systems Pavilion, Food4Climate Pavilion, and Future Economy Forum Pavilion operated independently, each hosting separate activities and thematic programs at COP28. This year, they will combine forces under the Action on Food Hub to foster greater cooperation and provide more opportunities for the food community to participate in the global climate discourse.

Press conference announcing the Action on Food Hub

The Action on Food Hub is designed to actively engage with international climate negotiations, advocating for food systems as critical solutions to the climate crisis. The hub will support the development of specific policy outcomes aimed at transitioning to healthier, sustainable, just, and resilient food systems for all. It will serve as an inclusive space for dialogue, collaboration, and partnerships, elevating the voices of marginalized communities and stakeholders across the entire food system.

The hub is organized into three main areas: a plenary space managed by the Food Systems Partnership, a roundtable space overseen by the Future Economy Forum, and a policy zone coordinated by the Food4Climate Community. The Food Systems Pavilion is an initiative of the Food Systems Partnership, with EIT Food serving as the secretariat. ProVeg International, a global organization promoting plant-based food systems, coordinates the Food4Climate Community. The Future Economy Forum, supported by NOW Partners Foundation, advances regenerative agriculture, industry, and finance solutions.

Juliette Tronchon, Head of UN Affairs at ProVeg International, emphasized the importance of policy engagement at COP: “The new Policy Zone within the Action on Food Hub will allow us to concentrate more effort on providing evidence-based resources about the role of food systems in climate adaptation and mitigation to negotiating parties, ensuring the food community at COP can better follow and support these important negotiations.”

Merijn Dols, Co-founder of the Future Economy Forum, highlighted the impact of meaningful dialogues facilitated at previous COPs: “At COP27 and COP28, we demonstrated that facilitating meaningful dialogues between key decision makers can lead to concrete outcomes in scaling regenerative agrifood solutions. Co-creating the Action on Food Hub allows us to work with multistakeholder communities from around the world to address challenges in transitioning to more regenerative food systems that benefit people, nature, and economic success.”

Dr. Lucy Wallace, Director of Global Engagement at EIT Food, underscored the urgency and opportunity presented by the hub: “Food systems offer a crucial opportunity to impact climate change. The Action on Food Hub provides an excellent platform to elevate the role of food and food systems within international climate negotiations, especially as creating multistakeholder spaces for problem-solving and sharing solutions becomes increasingly urgent.”

The press conference concluded with a statement from Mateusz Ciasnocha, CEO of European Carbon Farmers, who urged everyone in the audience to visit and interact with farmers before the next COP.

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