‘Act now for our planet’s farmers’, global Fairtrade movement tells governments at COP27 in open letter

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The international Fairtrade movement is urging member states at COP27 to keep their climate pledges and ‘act now’ for the planet’s farmers, in an open letter addressed to government leaders, global dignitaries and UN delegates convening at the summit in Egypt.

Published as COP27 gets underway, the letter calls on leaders at the critical summit to “step up, take action and honour their climate promises” and to ensure that “the needs of farming communities in historically disenfranchised regions around the world are prioritised in the COP27 outcome”.

The open letter has been signed by Fairtrade International’s Global CEO, Sandra Uwera, representing more than 1.9 million farmers and workers worldwide who are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis – and the thousands of global businesses who source from them. “Unless we clamp down hard and fast on global emissions and support farmers in low- and middle-income countries to build climate resilience, all of us will suffer,” she says.

As the international community meets in Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss its climate ambitions, the Fairtrade letter pinpoints the need for governments at COP27 to set human rights and environmental due diligence policies “that tackle the root causes of deforestation” in supply chains. Fairtrade also wants to see them negotiate trade agreements that support human rights, labour rights and the highest environmental standards, with a view to drastically reducing carbon emissions.

Elsewhere, Fairtrade warns members states that the climate finance commitments they made at COP26 in Glasgow last year may not benefit farming communities unless farmers themselves are given a real say in how funds can best support their communities to build climate resilience, halt deforestation, and prepare for changing weather patterns.

Fairtrade International’s Sandra Uwera says: “At Fairtrade, we are proud to take the lead in calling for a more equitable and sustainable trade system that delivers fairness and climate action to our planet’s farmers and their communities. And… we remain firm in our resolve as we call upon global leaders to do what is right at COP27 and beyond. The time for action is now. We are doing our part to ensure a sustainable and inclusive future for all. Now, it’s up to you to do yours.”

The letter echoes recommendations in a position paper published on Sunday by the world’s leading trade justice bodies: Fairtrade, the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO). Together, they have intensified their call for inclusive climate solutions as smallholder farmers and workers face growing climate threats. The paper highlights the need for climate financing mechanisms to reach smallholder agricultural producers in order to deliver successful and equitable climate action before it is too late. 

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The international Fairtrade movement is hosting and participating in several civil society events at COP27. To interview members of the Fairtrade delegation, contact tomilola.ajayi@fairtrade.org.uk