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Meridian’s COP28 Highlights

19 December 2023

Meridian staff members Alejo Maggini, Alexis Rife, Anne Seefeldt, Holly Foster, Jimena Solano, Liz Duxbury, Melissa Pinfield, Sareh Forouzesh, Tara Shyam (Meridian’s Regen10 Executive Director), and Todd Barker recently returned from a busy and engaging COP28! It was inspiring to see so many people come together to address climate change. Here are some of the highlights from our time in Dubai.

The Meridian COP28 Frontline Community Delegation

During COP28, Meridian was proud to facilitate the attendance of the Frontline Community Delegation. The Delegation was composed of 45 leaders from the Global South that represent Indigenous Peoples, smallholders, family farmers, local community, women, and youth representatives working at the frontline of climate action, community resilience building and food systems transformation.

The delegation spoke at public side events, bilaterals, conferences, took interviews, and met new partners. The delegates’ feedback was positive and full of enthusiasm, and they were interested in continuing to foster a deep relationship with Meridian.

This work was made possible through our partnership with Alianza Mesoamericana de Pueblos y Bosques (AMPB), Global Alliance of Territorial Communities (GATC), Redes Chaco, the World Farmers Organization (WFO), and the World Rural Forum (WRF). 

150 Non-State Actors Signed the Climate Champions COP28 Call to Action  

At COP28, over 150 Non-State Actors signed a Call to Action pushing for a transformation of food systems for people, nature, and climate! Meridian Institute and Just Rural Transition (housed at Meridian) are proud to support this multi-stakeholder consultation process! 

We supported the Climate Champions to develop this Call to Action to stress the need for urgent action to better address how we produce, process, trade, market and consume food so that food systems are part of the solution, not the problem.

The coalition of non-state actors endorsing this call includes: farmers’ groups, Indigenous Peoples’ groups, businesses, civil society groups, cities and city networks, philanthropies, financial institutions, and research institutions. 

We Had a Full House at Regen10 Landscapes Event

Together with 1000 Landscapes For 1 Billion PeopleCommonland and EcoAgriculture Partners Meridian’s Regen10 team hosted an event to discuss how to successfully shift landscapes to a trajectory of regeneration and the role we can all play in enabling this transition. Panelists shared lessons and insights surrounding the costs and benefits of a food systems transition and the need for a common long-term vision and commitment at landscape level. 

Learn more about landscape-level initiatives and the transition towards regenerative by reading their Landscape Discussion Brief.

Family Farmers Were Given a Voice at COP28 with their Statement on Climate Change

With support from Meridian Institute, as well as World Rural ForumGlobal Alliance for the Future of Food, and Forest and Farm Facility, family farmers’ voices were elevated at COP28 through their Family Farmers’ Statement. For the first time, a strong and coordinated family farmers’ delegation attended COP28 to place these messages on the negotiation table. 

The statement advocates for policies that promote the sustainable practices that family farmers are already practicing or are committed to implement on their farms to address the impact of climate change and drive innovation in new climate action initiatives; for active participation in climate policy making; and for proportional access to mitigation and adaptation funds.  

Meridian Circulates Global Food Systems Map at COP28

COP28 notes “climate change is creating severe pressure and risks for the agri-food and water systems that underpin human well-being.” Meridian developed the Global Food Systems Network Map to help foster and enhance collaboration among those working in the food systems space – both aquatic and terrestrial – to optimize investments and efforts. 

Given the varied and dynamic nature of global food systems, it is often challenging to track projects and partners. The Network Map aims to alleviate these challenges by illustrating the landscape of multi-stakeholder initiatives working across food systems, including what issues these initiatives are working on and how they are driving change.

Meridian was able to circulate the map and demonstrate its use, giving COP28 attendees a tool to assist them when they discuss opportunities to collaborate!

Honorable Mention: 

  • Blog from Climate Champions features three members of Meridian’s Frontline Community Delegation (their “best interview from COP”!). They offer insights from an indigenous perspective, sharing what must be done to conserve and protect their territories despite climate change and industry encroachment.
  • “Our message delivered at COP emphasizes the importance of unity, calling on countries, organizations, institutions, Indigenous territories, peoples, NGOs, and individuals worldwide to collaborate and find solutions. Indigenous peoples, while sometimes not experts in politics or technical structures, are professionals in environmental defense. Our knowledge, passed down by our ancestors, teaches us to live with and respect nature.” – Maricela Fernández Fernández, President Costa Rica Kábata Könana Women’s Association