Representing farmers and growers at Pre-COP

An image of conference delegates engaged in discussion in a board room

The NFU's climate change adviser, Ceris Jones, joined leaders in Milan for the preparatory forum ahead of COP26 in November. Read her report.

Every United Nations climate summit is preceded by a preparatory meeting called Pre-COP. This year’s Pre-COP took place in Milan from 30 September until 2 October and brought together climate and energy ministers from about 40 countries. They help finalise talks on key political aspects of the negotiations that will be addressed at COP26 in Glasgow in November.

Ceris Jones, the NFU’s climate change adviser was there. She spoke on behalf of farmers and other industries, calling for support from government at all levels to help us achieve our net zero ambitions.

Ceris Jones said:

"It was a really constructive meeting with general agreement that the target of capping global temperature rise at 1.5C is within reach, and that we need developed countries to pay the $100 billion promised to developing countries by 2020.

"However, sticking points remain around the transparency of greenhouse gas reporting and on the role of markets in delivering GHG mitigation."

Representing farmers and growers

Ceris continued:

"As the sole Farmers' Constituency representative at the Pre-COP, I had the opportunity to deliver two statements. I urged ministers to include farmers at all levels of discussion – local, national, regional and international – because our participation is instrumental in untapping the great potential that agriculture and its people have in the fight against climate change.

"It was good to hear about areas of alignment on key issues for farmers, including the accessibility of climate finance and of a desire to move forward. However it was equally sobering to hear that areas of divergence remain. Farmers want decisions to be taken at COP26.

Reflecting back

"I saw ministers talking and listening to each other – in meeting rooms, in corridors, over a coffee – seeking to understand their respective positions and finding areas of compromise.

"As I made my low-carbon way back to the UK on the train, I felt that a successful summit in Glasgow was within in the world’s grasp and that there was a better understanding of the role that farmers can play.

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