This year, Better Cotton will be participating in COP28, the 28th session of the UN Climate Change Conference of Parties. We have recently been accepted as an observer to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and will be hosting our own side-event at the conference, as well as speaking at and participating in various other events.
Lisa Ventura, Public Affairs Manager at Better Cotton, and Director of Development Rebecca Owen will be the organisation’s representatives at the conference, which will convene from 30 November to 12 December 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Ahead of the event, we caught up with Lisa to learn about Better Cotton’s plans and objectives at COP28.
Why is it important for Better Cotton to be at COP28?
By attending COP28, we are demonstrating Better Cotton’s commitment to global collaboration and underscoring the importance of multilateralism in crafting effective and inclusive strategies for climate action.
I also feel that sustainable agriculture has a greater space on the COP agenda this year. To that end, we believe it is important to participate and share how climate-smart agricultural practices play a fundamental role in tackling climate change.
At COP, we aim to craft innovative public-private partnerships to carry our work forward and advocate for nature and farmers to be at the heart of political processes. Climate action must be inclusive to be meaningful.
What are Better Cotton’s objectives at the conference?
Our main objective at COP is advocacy. Better Cotton strives to improve the lives and livelihoods of cotton farmers, farm workers and their communities. Therefore, I want to ensure that no one is left behind in such a high-level event.
Last year, at COP27, the Loss and Damage Fund was established, aiming to provide financial assistance to the most vulnerable nations being impacted by the effects of climate change. Now, the negotiations on this topic will cover who will pay into the fund and how much, as well as who will be eligible to receive funding and on what grounds.
As such, our hope for the conference is that the fund delivers on its promise and provides accessible climate finance tools, especially for smallholder farmers and communities that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change
We constantly see the communities we serve in a vulnerable position due to the climate crisis and we hope the results of COP28 will support a just transition towards sustainable production.
What’s on the agenda for Better Cotton at COP28?
We will kick off our COP28 activities on 4 December with a side-event titled ‘Trade tools for climate action’ which is being hosted by Bonsucro and RSPO, with the support of other sustainability standards including ourselves. We are thrilled to join forces with these organisations to highlight how sustainability standards drive climate action in the Forest, Land, and Agriculture sectors.
On 9 December, we will speak at a side-event hosted by Partnerships for Forests (P4F) and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce, called ‘Growing Ingredients in Harmony with Nature’, where our focus will be on how sustainable standards contribute to promoting responsible sourcing practices.
Then, on 10 December we are very excited to be hosting our own side-event on ‘Mainstreaming Climate-Smart Agricultural Practices’ as part of the Standards Pavilion by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The session will aim to increase awareness of sustainable agriculture as a robust climate crisis solution, and identify new partners to drive the adoption of climate-smart practices.
We have a fantastic set of speakers lined up, including:
- Rebecca Owen, Director of Development, Better Cotton (Moderator)
- Sarah Leugers, Chief Growth Officer, Gold Standard
- Hannah Pathak, International Managing Director, Forum for the Future
- José Alcorta, Head of Standards, ISO
Finally, I will also be speaking at the U.S. Center on 11 December as part of the ‘Just Transition through Trade: Empowering Small Enterprises’ event hosted by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the US Department of State, where we will discuss how trade can play a pivotal role in fostering an inclusive and equitable transition aligned with the Paris Agreement’s goals, fostering social, economic, and environmental benefits. Better Cotton has also signed ITC’s pledge ‘Uniting Sustainable Actions’ to contribute to a more resilient, responsible, and inclusive global economy.
Is there anything you would recommend reading to prepare for COP28?
Yes, so many. Here are a few that I have found insightful and which remind us of the context of previous decisions by COP:
- New Scientist: What is ‘loss and damage’ and why is it a central issue at COP28?
- The New Yorker: The Road to Dubai
- International Institute for Sustainable Development: Food Systems and Agriculture: What’s on the menu for the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP 28)?
- World Economic Forum: 3 key outcomes from previous COPs – and the progress the world has made
- reliefweb: Why agrifood systems must be at the core of climate action: a COP28 preview with FAO climate expert
Is there anything else you’d like to highlight?
If you’re going to be in attendance at COP, please do join us for our side-event on 10 December! Full details are here, and if you’d like more information, please reach out to me via email: [email protected].