Solution Cluster 3.1.1

Halting Deforestation & Conversion from Agricultural Commodities

Globally, the vast majority (approximately 77% ) of deforestation and natural habitat conversion is linked to agricultural expansion, either through large-scale commodity production, or as a result of shifting agriculture. The continuing expansion of production of agricultural commodities such as beef, soy, cocoa, palm oil and paper/pulp are major drivers of natural ecosystem loss. This loss of natural ecosystems or habitat contributes significantly to global biodiversity loss and CO2 emissions, while sustainably managed natural ecosystems provide substantial and cost-effective carbon emission mitigation, while also generating broader environmental, social and economic benefits. There can be no nature-positive agriculture, no long-term resilience to the global food system, no sustained alleviation of rural poverty, and no guaranteed protection for indigenous peoples, if agriculture and the trade in global commodities continues to drive further deforestation and habitat conversion, both in the tropics as well as in all other latitudes. Instead, the production and trade of global commodities needs to be tied explicitly to a scaled-up global effort to protect and restore natural ecosystems, with producer countries committed to sustainable production appropriately rewarded by consumer countries and global markets for these efforts.

This cluster will aim to mobilize the community of nations, civil society organizations and private sector associations involved in the UN Food Systems Summit behind a shared objective: to deliver in the 2020s a new global model of agricultural commodity production which rewards farmers for sustainable practices, while preventing further deforestation and conversion of ecosystems in the production of those commodities. We will aim to build momentum behind this goal en route to COP-26, aligning closely with existing efforts, in particular the Forests, Agriculture, Commodity Trade Dialogue (the FACT Dialogue) led by the UK Government as COP26 Presidency with co-chairing by the Government of Indonesia; as well as in the parallel Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue led by the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA). Our solution cluster is an opportunity to harvest fresh ideas to address the trade-offs and challenges between producers and consumers and the conventional narrative – how do we optimise food production and rural livelihoods, at the same time as protecting/enhancing the environment on which all food production depends.

About this Solution Cluster

Conceptually, and as backed up by the Scientific Committee report on Action Track 3, it is vital to demonstrate at the Food Systems Summit that deforestation-free and conversion-free supply chains are critical to the long-term sustainability of global food systems. The Summit is an important opportunity to build momentum en route to COP26 behind the objectives of the FACT Dialogues; not to do so would be a missed opportunity.

We think this will work because it is a time-bound, ‘all hands-on deck’ effort, involving key players mobilized by the Food Systems Summit, aligned closely with existing efforts, working together in partnership to deliver a strong vision and roadmap of what success would look like, and how to achieve it, and then to implement it by 2030.

This solution cluster will also bring together existing best practices to support this implementation, for example, the Integrated Supply Chain Approach piloted by the Good Growth Partnership (GGP) over the last 4 years on soy in Brazil, beef in Paraguay and palm oil in Indonesia and Liberia, aiming to achieve transformation in key supply chains linked to deforestation. Key learnings from this, and other efforts, will support the achievement of the vision and roadmap under this solution cluster.

Many member states with a role in global commodity trade, as producers or consumers, are already involved in the FACT Dialogues. The FACT Dialogues will produce collective action and a joint roadmap on sustainable land use and trade. The Food Systems Summit thereby is an opportunity to add actionable recommendations to them – such as the Codex Planetarius (which proposes to set minimum environmental standards for the production of foods that enter into the global market) and a multi-stakeholder led vision for how to turn the principles of sustainable land use into a reality. Given that a number of the member states, NGOs, and UN agencies involved in the Food Systems Summit have not been involved to date in the FACT Government Dialogue or the FACT Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue, this cluster presents an opportunity to strengthen and reinforce this process en route to COP-26.

As such, this cluster offers an opportunity to bring the countries involved so far in the Food Systems Summit with countries that are already engaged in the FACT Dialogue: Australia, Japan, Brazil, Morocco, Canada, Netherlands, China, New Zealand, Chile, Norway, Denmark, Senegal, Egypt, Spain, EU, Switzerland, Finland, UAE, Germany, UK, France, USA, Mexico, Uruguay. While member states will not be able to feed directly into the FACT Dialogue through engagement in this solution cluster, and would need to direct their policy recommendations directly into the Government Dialogue, their contributions to our workings can inform the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue. The same principle of inclusivity applies for UN agencies – e.g. FAO – and other partners, e.g. TNC, hitherto more involved in the Food Systems Summit than the FACT Government Dialogue/Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue.

We will also ensure that both the processes leading up to the Food Systems Summit and COP-26  incorporate existing best practices towards achieving deforestation and conversion free food supply chains and take them forward into implementation of commitments over the 2020s. This would include aligning incentives (policies, economic, financial, etc.) towards behavior change through approaches such as the integrated supply chain approach piloted by the Good Growth Partnership (GGP), led by UNDP and including Conservation International, World Bank´s International Finance Corporation, UNEP and WWF. This approach is multi-scale and relies on multi-stakeholder collaboration to achieve systemic change. It works with the inherent complexity of commodity supply chains and strives to engage all stakeholders, from small-scale producers and global corporations to national and subnational governments, as well as local communities and finance institutions, in order to break the silos in the interconnected layers of the global commodity supply chain: production, demand and finance. It would also build upon more than a decade of REDD+; the development and implementation of national REDD+ strategies via multi-stakeholder processes, supported by the UN-REDD Programme, have advanced countries’ understanding forest-agriculture dynamics and served as a vehicle through which to access public and private finance, and to direct investment into interventions for forest positive agriculture.

We also wish to ensure that, at the UN Food Systems Summit itself, it is clear to the Summit’s global audience that there is no long-term sustainability of the global food system if it continues to drive deforestation and conversion of ecosystems – and that there is a path to a better future for farmers and ecosystems alike.

The FACT Government Dialogue and the FACT Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue are the key processes underway, involving significant government backing and strong backing from companies, indigenous peoples, and CSOs.

The workings of this group add value by harvesting additional perspectives and insights from a broader cross-section of actors not currently involved in either of the FACT Dialogue processes.

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