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From Climate Pledges to Transformative Action

RESEARCH Report by Julia Whiting and Ertharin Cousin
Cow stands in front of a tree line with plumes of smoke indicating forest destruction in the Amazon.
Bruno Kelly

Can the United States deliver on its food systems and climate commitments? We offer recommendations to protect the planet and feed the world.

The momentous 2021 global convenings on food, climate change, and nutrition—the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), and the Nutrition for Growth Summit—each prompted new initiatives and funding commitments. But promises alone, no matter how bold or big, are not enough to transform the global food system, end hunger, and prevent climate catastrophe. Acknowledging the unprecedented potential of recent commitments and international attention given to food systems and climate change, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs convened an expert roundtable with representatives from the private, public, academic, and nonprofit sectors to move beyond abstract goals to identify concrete actionable steps for US agrifood stakeholders. This paper outlines three key areas for action that were identified through the roundtable and offers recommendations to the private sector, donor community, civil society, academia, and government. 

About the Authors
Julia Whiting
Former Research Associate
Council expert Julia Whiting
Julia Whiting joined the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in 2019 and was a research associate with the Global Food and Agriculture Program. She supported the development of research reports on global food security issues as well as coordinated digital engagement and content for the program.
Council expert Julia Whiting
Distinguished Fellow, Global Food and Agriculture
Council expert Ertharin Cousin
Prior to joining the Council, Ertharin Cousin served as executive director of the UN World Food Programme where she led the world’s largest humanitarian organization from 2012 to 2017. She also previously served as US ambassador to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome. Cousin is founder and CEO of Food Systems for the Future.
Council expert Ertharin Cousin