Food systems at COP26

In November 2021 COP26 will be hosted jointly by the UK and Italy in Glasgow. This is a great opportunity for Scotland and other states, cities and regions to demonstrate leadership on climate change action, and for cities and farmers to come together for a dialogue on the future of food systems, with a special focus on climate change.

At Nourish Scotland we are working with our partners across national and local governments, civil society and farmers to place food and food systems at the centre of COP26.

Fork to Farm Dialogue: Bringing cities and farmers together at COP26

As cities, regions and other sub-state actors set ambitious climate change targets, including on food, it must be remembered that these decisions increasingly affect primary food producers, many of whom already struggle to make ends meet in current markets while facing the most disruption to their livelihoods from the climate emergency itself. It is in the interest of both cities and farmers to achieve a just transition in food and farming: securing sustainable food for cities and a sustainable future for producers.


The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how exposed our food systems are to shocks. Because of strict lock-down rules across the world, producers are finding it hard to get the labour, inputs, parts and maintenance they need to maintain production. The situation is particularly dire for those countries that rely on imports for basic food and for many poor urban people who have lost their livelihoods, have no place to stay and do not have savings to draw from during these difficult times.

This has highlighted the importance of local food policies to strengthen the resilience of our communities and that a ‘just transition‘ to greener and healthier food systems must include a dialogue with both commercial and subsistence famers, whose voices to date have often been absent from the discussion on climate change.


The Fork to Farm Dialogue will bring together representatives of diverse farming communities, cities, states and regions providing space for a constructive dialogue on food and climate change, improving mutual understanding of each other’s ambitions and circumstances, and to build new connections and partnerships.



Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration

A call to action for all levels of government to tackle climate change through integrated sustainable food policies

A food systems approach holds the key to tackling the climate and nature emergencies, reducing the burden of malnutrition and chronic disease and delivering the SDGs, by recognising how different problems in food systems are deeply interconnected and mutually reinforcing. Yet food is typically split across policy leading to contradictions and gaps. Integrated food policies are needed.


While national governments hold many of the policy levers for change, sub-state actors also have significant powers to shape their local and regional food systems. In recent years, several international networks have evolved to link cities and regional governments working on joined-up food policies. The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, C40, ICLEI and many others connect cities working on sustainable food issues. Here in the UK, 60 cities are part of the UK’s Sustainable Food Places Network and, more locally, Scotland is part of the Under 2 Coalition.

Nourish Scotland and IPES-Food are working with several of these international networks to develop and agree a high-ambition declaration on integrated food policies to tackle the climate emergency, with co-benefits for biodiversity, health and farmers livelihoods, to set the tone for an ambitious Food Summit in 2021. The declaration sets out a commitment for signatory cities and regions to develop and implement integrated food policies. These will support a healthier and greener food system, and recommend national governments establish governance mechanisms to support this.


The declaration text is currently being negotiated and plans for launching the declaration for signatures are underway. Watch this space!


Want to know more?

Contact Sofie Quist at