Climate change impacts agriculture and food production environmentally, economically and socially. At the same time, the food production system is a source of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change.

Globally, population growth will lead to an increased demand for food, often under sub-optimal circumstances, such as water shortages. Climate change is also likely to affect yields, quality and availability of food in Estonia. Reducing food waste plays an important role in providing food security to all and mitigating the environmental pressure of food systems.

The success of adaptation and mitigation responses in the agriculture and food sector largely depends on the achievement of wider environmental, economic and social sustainability goals, as set forth by the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the UNFCCC.

The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes targets on climate change (goal 13) as well as on promoting sustainable agriculture (goal 2) that increases productivity and production, helps maintain ecosystems, strengthens capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters, and improves land and soil quality.

The sustainable food system is also closely related with sustainable production and consumption patterns – reducing global food waste and food loss in the production and supply chains (goal 12).

At COP 21 in Paris, Parties to the UNFCCC reached an agreement to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future.

The agreement points out, inter alia, the particular vulnerabilities of food production systems to the adverse impacts of climate change: increasing the ability to adapt to climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development shall not threaten food production (article 2).

In Estonia, the General Principles of Estonian Climate Policy until 2050 and the National Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan 2030 have been prepared which also direct the planning and development of the agriculture sector.

The aim of the Sustainable Development Forum 2016 is to enhance the understanding of interactions between food production, consumption and climate change as well as of the ways to minimise the adverse effects.

The Forum provides a platform for discussion on how global climate change affects food production and consumption in Estonia and vice versa. It will also seek to find answers on how food businesses and organisations can benefit from the need of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The main target audiences of the Forum are Estonian food and agricultural businesses, experts, academia, policy makers, NGOs, etc.

Together with partners, SEI Tallinn has organised seven sustainable development forums since 2001. Previous forums have addressed the topics of wellbeing, EU integration, sustainable society, environmental policy integration, measuring sustainability, the green and blue economy.

The Forum is supported by the Environmental Investment Centre and the Government Office together with the Estonian Commission for Sustainable Development.