Financing food system transformation: insights from global climate projects

by Abrar Chaudhury and Saher Hasnain

29 Nov 2021
Journal of the British Academy
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Abstract: Climate change poses unprecedented and complex challenges to global food systems. Critical vulnerabilities, continuing inequalities, and unsustainability have demonstrated that food systems need significant intervention in order to deliver safe, just, and healthy food for all, against the backdrop of a changing climate. Innovative interventions and effective financing are needed across the food system to achieve these grand ambitions. While there is recognition of a systems approach in the face of complex issues such as climate change, interventions and financing mechanisms have historically focused narrowly on production or specific sectors within food and related systems. Given the diverse array of stresses and shocks, this approach will not achieve the desired paradigm shifts necessary to secure global food systems and meet the Paris Agreement climate targets. Through a comprehensive review of projects funded through the Green Climate Fund (GCF), this paper shows that paradigm shifting interventions can benefit from a food systems perspective by moving beyond specific sectors and activities and delivering outcomes across the socio-economic and environmental spheres. Climate change and food system challenges are complex and necessitate system approaches, and financing instruments need to be designed and structured with systemic complexity in mind.

Keywords: Food system, climate finance, Green Climate Fund, climate change, systems approach.

Article posted to the Journal of the British Academy, volume 9, supplementary issue 10 (Climate Policy, Regulation and Governance)

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