Lobbying for a global blue foods mandate on agriculture and food security

Lobbying for a global blue foods mandate on agriculture and food security

Stakeholders from civil society and faith-based groups in the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar are lobbying for the inclusion of ‘blue foods’ in global climate discussions (UNFCCC). (Photo from FAO)

Building from the momentum that the Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network Africa (JENA) initiated during COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt when it led the Ecojesuit engagement in the summit, particularly on discussions relating to food security in the context of climate adaptation and mitigation, policy lobbying at the UNFCCC level on agroecology and food justice continues.

In collaboration with faith-based and civil society organizations and networks, a blue foods mandate for agriculture and food security calls for the inclusion of aquatic food production systems, or “blue foods”, in the Sharm El-Sheikh Joint work on implementation of climate action on agriculture and food security (SSJW).

The submission is a contribution to the process of the 58th Session of the Subsidiary Bodies (SB 58) or the Bonn Climate Change Conference on 5 to 15 June 2023. Stakeholders are invited to share views on possible program and workshop topics referred to in paragraphs 14 to 15.

The Environmental Science for Social Change (ESSC), a Jesuit research and training institute in the Philippines, and an accredited non-government organization with observer status at the UNFCCC, accompanied the submission.

As stated in the submission, “(b)lue foods are a central consideration for climate action related to agriculture and food security…[providing] at least 20% of animal source protein for 3.3 billion people around the word.” However, aquatic food production is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change despite its significant contribution to climate mitigation, as featured in this article from Nature on the environmental performance of blue foods.

The submission lays out the following calls to integrate blue foods in the SSJW:

  1. Engage with UNFCCC processes already generating outcomes on blue foods
  2. Include blue foods in the joint work’s reporting and evaluation processes
  3. Hold a workshop on blue foods that include subtopics on adaptation, decarbonizing production systems, small-scale fisheries and aquaculture, and nutrition-sensitive governance.

On 8 June, in celebration of World Oceans Day, JENA is joining civil society and faith-based groups in a side event of the Bonn Climate Change Conference entitled Perspectives of Faith and Local actors on the New Joint Work on Agriculture and Food Systems and organized by Caritas Internationalis and the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD).

“Building resilience and enhancing means of implementation for the joint work on agriculture is critical in national climate action plans. Caritas organizations from Africa and Asia and partners will highlight experiences from local communities and provide options for a holistic approach.” The keynote address is by the Holy See and and panel discussions include experiences from local communities on agroecology practices and governance synergies from Caritas Africa and Caritas Asia, with representatives from FAO and an IPCC expert joining the side event.

On 12 June, the Aquatic Blue Food Coalition will host a side event Strengthening Aquatic Blue Foods’ Role in National Food Systems to Meet Climate and Nutritional Targets: The ‘Why’ and the ‘How To’ where insights on how blue foods can help achieve global climate commitments will be discussed. To join, please fill out the Google form invitation.

These are important efforts in engaging in global processes that drawing from local concerns on food security and care for the oceans in the context of climate justice. The voices and actions emerging from these processes need to be uplifted and amplified ahead of COP28.

The following organizations support the submission of ESSC to the UNFCCC of A blue foods mandate for agriculture and food security, for consideration during SB58:

African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD)

Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR)

BEOLOBE – the power of local communities

Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD)

CIDSE – International family of Catholic social justice organizations

Coastal Oceans Research and Development-Indian Ocean (CORDIO) East Africa

Environmental Defense Fund

Global Alliance for the Future of Food

Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)

Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network Africa (JENA)

Lancaster Environment Centre-REEFS

Marine Stewardship Council,

MIHARI – Locally Managed Marine Area Network in Madagascar


Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA)

Power Shift Africa

Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions


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