U.S. Launches Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate

President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate on April 23, 2021. Photo: U.S. Department of State
President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate on April 23, 2021. Photo: U.S. Department of State

AIM for Climate underscores the Biden-Harris Administration’s strengthened commitment to the agricultural sector.

At President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate on April 23, 2021, the United States and United Arab Emirates announced plans to launch the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate). It has endorsement from the United Kingdom’s COP 26 Presidency and support from Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Israel, Singapore, and Uruguay.

The goal of AIM for Climate, which will be advanced at the UN Food Systems Summit in September 2021 and launched at COP26 in November 2021, is to increase and accelerate global innovation research and development (R&D) on agriculture and food systems in support of climate action.

Once officially launched, AIM for Climate will catalyze greater investment in agricultural R&D and innovation to help to raise global ambition and underpin more rapid and transformative climate action in all countries, including by enabling science-based and data-driven decision and policy-making. 

Investments in agricultural innovation and R&D can enhance existing approaches and deliver new ways to sustainably increase agricultural productivity, improve livelihoods, conserve nature and biodiversity, and adapt and build resilience to climate change, all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon.

“The United States is proud to be pioneering the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate initiative along with the United Arab Emirates and several other supportive partners. I was impressed by the ingenuity being applied to food and climate challenges during my recent trip to the UAE, and know that we all stand to benefit by sharing best practices and raising innovation ambition when it comes to climate-smart agriculture. AIM for Climate can serve as a unique platform for cooperation among many countries on these shared challenges,” said U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry.

“I am pleased to see the United States co-leading the creation of the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate initiative. The goal of the initiative is important, to accelerate global agricultural innovation through increased research and development, as it highlights agriculture, science-based solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Together we can address our shared climate challenges and the U.S. Department of Agriculture looks forward to working with others to advance the AIM for Climate initiative,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

The world’s growing population is increasingly dependent on vulnerable food production as the climate crisis undermines longstanding agricultural practices – threatening to damage the sector and keep millions of people in poverty. Innovative climate-smart technologies and approaches are urgently required to improve food security and drive economic growth.

By COP26, AIM for Climate will:

Demonstrate collective commitment to investment in agricultural innovation and R&D for climate-smart food systems by its participants over the next five years;

Outline a framework to discuss and promote priorities across international and national levels of innovation, in order to amplify participants’ investments; and

Identify chief scientists as key focal points for international cooperation on climate-related agricultural R&D, drawing on their unique insights and equities across governmental bodies.

AIM for Climate will focus on, and promote coordination between, three main investment channels:

Scientific breakthroughs via basic agricultural research through national-level government agricultural R&D and academic research institutions;

Public and private applied innovation and R&D for development through support to international research centers, institutions, and laboratory networks;

Development and deployment of practical, actionable research and information to producers and other market participants, utilizing national agricultural research extension systems.

The innovation and R&D areas targeted through AIM for Climate will include: sustainable productivity improvements; land, water, carbon, and other input use efficiency; resilient crop and livestock production; enhanced digital tools; and inclusive, equitable and sustainable food systems.

AIM for Climate underscores the Biden-Harris Administration’s strengthened commitment to the agricultural sector and will help to deliver jobs and economic growth alongside climate change mitigation and adaptation benefits.

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Rakesh Raman