Global, Scotland Climate action and sustainable development

Uniting local government and farmer voices at COP26


Caroline Hickling, is the COP26 communication and media officer, Nourish Scotland

This November, Glasgow will host government leaders gathering for the UNFCCC 26th Conference of the Parties – our best chance to get the world on track to deliver the significant transformation needed to tackle the climate emergency.

Food systems must be part of that urgent conversation.

The global industrialised food system accounts for one third of total greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the thinning of global biodiversity and malnutrition. Without food system reform, it will be impossible to deliver on the Paris agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. The road from Paris to Glasgow must go through the farm gate.

Our vision is a resilient and sustainable food system – one in which everyone has reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food that is grown, produced and distributed with care for the soil, climate and all the living world, under the shared control of food growers, producers, distributors and consumers alike.

From sustainable farming practices and community supported agriculture, to ethical procurement policies and urban growing, around the world, farmers, communities and local governments are already shaping their own sustainable food systems.

To unite these pioneering voices, Nourish and IPES-Scotland launched the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration, which asks sub-national and local governments to renew their commitment to tackle climate change with a food systems approach and add their voice to the call for national governments and the international policy community to act.

The declaration looks to provide a platform for the growing social movement of farmers and local governments, to change the climate crisis narrative to recognise food and farmers as part of the solution. Current signatories include: Sao Paolo, Brazil; San Giuseppe, Italy; Ekwusigo, Nigeria; Vancouver, Canada and Edinburgh, Scotland.

As sites of leadership in the delivery of sustainable food policies, local authorities across the world hold an important position in creating a more sustainable and just food system. It is local decision makers that best know how to achieve those goals within their own circumstances, be it culture, geography, or economy.

Our work leading up to COP26 looks to build awareness of the complexity and diversity of the food, climate, community, and nature relationship. A better understanding of this interplay can help overcome deeply held barriers, build trust and energize action towards healthy and just food systems. Just as communities rallied together in solidarity through the Covid-19 pandemic, farmers and local governments can do the same in the climate emergency.

The countdown to COP26 is on, and partners IPES-Food and Nourish Scotland need your help to link food, nature and climate on the global stage. To learn more and sign up to the declaration, visit


Want to stay informed on the road to COP26?  Sign up for our free Global Local Recap – each month we focus on key aspect of local government and climate change. 

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