The good, the bad, and the ugly of COP26: A conversation with two food sovereignty activists
Keywords:food sovereignty, climate justice, COP26, climate crisis, social movements
The 26th UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP (Conference of Parties) took place in Glasgow, Scotland in November 2021 amidst intersecting global crises. The rising number and intensity of unprecedented extreme weather events in many countries, increased knowledge about industrial agriculture’s significant emission contributions to the climate crisis, and the vulnerability of the global food system in the wake of COVID-19 shocks should have positioned food and agriculture as priority items on the agenda. Yet, agriculture and food systems played only a minor role in COP26 negotiations, and vaccine apartheid limited the presence of the food sovereignty movement and broader grassroots voices in Glasgow. Corporate co-optation and flagrant greenwashing via net zero and false solution narratives dominated, yielding watered-down outcomes instead of the bold actions needed to tackle the climate crisis. In this report from the field, two food sovereignty activists dissect the accessibility of the official COP26 spaces and demonstrate how the negotiations failed to meaningfully integrate grassroots demands related to ecologically and socially just food and agriculture policy. They also reflect on their experiences in civil society-led spaces that fostered social movement building outside the doors of the official UNFCCC conference. It was in these interactions that activists wove threads of hope across sectors, social groups, and movements seeking climate justice.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Jessie MacInnis, Roz Corbett, Annette Desmarais
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