Minister Hackett: ‘We have a shared responsibility to act’ on climate change

The importance of collective responsibility in helping international countries tackle climate change along with poverty and hunger was a focus of the 13th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture.

Minister of State Pippa Hackett has today (Friday, January 22) welcomed a joint communiqué agreed by agriculture ministers from across the globe.

Having participated in the agriculture ministers’ conference at the forum, which took place online for the first time, the minister said she “very much welcomes the agreed statement which calls for action to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, prevent further pandemics and tackle climate action”.

“The communiqué highlights the need to assess the sustainability of food systems including hidden costs to societies; and it acknowledges the crucial role of smallholders and small family farms, as well as the importance of improving their access to market,” the senator said.

“I also welcome the emphasis on the importance of local livestock breeds and local crop varieties managed by farmers.

“Of course, I also endorse the commitment to supporting actions which prevent further forest losses and ecosystem degradation, and to improving soil carbon and soil health.”

Forum focus this year on feeding the world in times of pandemic

The forum is an international conference held annually in Berlin during International Green Week.

This year, the focus was on how to feed the world in times of pandemic and climate change. The text of the joint communiqué was agreed at the meeting by 76 agriculture ministers.

During the conference, Minister Hackett participated in a breakout session on climate change mitigation. She stated:

“We know that countries internationally which are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change include those which are already suffering from poverty and hunger. Therefore, we have a shared responsibility to act.

“Here in Ireland, Ag Climatise, our roadmap for the agricultural sector, will enable us to begin our journey towards meeting our commitment to develop a climate neutral food system compatible with the Paris temperature goals, by 2050.

“It is our responsibility as policymakers to protect our environment, and it is right that the communiqué refers to the need to explore options for policy measures to improve the sustainability of food systems.

It is up to everyone along the whole of the food production chain to play their part in helping mitigate climate change. To be effective, we must support our farmers in taking steps to mitigate emissions as well as to improve their own resilience.

“We should also remember that environmental, social and economic sustainability are not either/or. Many of the practices that are proven to be impactful in terms of mitigating emissions of greenhouses gases can have co-benefits for farm productivity as well as biodiversity and, indeed, farmer wellbeing.”