and Support for Ecological Farming, Based on Agroecology and Other Low-external Input Methods, as a Solution to Addressing the Climate Crisis
Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM) is a multi-billion dollar initiative by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to promote agritech (biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, AI) as a primary solution to the climate crisis.
Over the next few years, AIM is utilizing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process and other national and international fora to raise tens of billions of dollars to support agritech research and implementation. This endeavor includes convincing governments, corporations, philanthropic organizations, and civil society that these technologies are necessary tools for addressing the climate crisis and should be utilized globally.
Agritech and the industrial agribusiness model it furthers are not a solution to the climate crisis but rather a significant part of the problem. The efforts of AIM and its partners to impose these dangerous technologies on the world’s farming communities present an existential threat to what is really needed—transitioning away from industrial agriculture and toward ecological farming. Moreover, AIM’s attempt to make agritech the center of climate action subverts the growing awareness of agribusiness’ major culpability for the climate crisis and it must be strongly opposed.
AIM was first previewed in April 2021 during U.S. President Biden’s Leader’s Summit on Climate. It was presented as a joint effort by the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The initiative was originally a USDA effort focused on significantly increasing U.S. funds for agritech research. However, under the leadership of USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, AIM was significantly amplified to become a global initiative.
AIM was officially launched at COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021. Since that time, Secretary Vilsack has utilized his powerful U.S. government position and his influential international contacts to develop AIM into a major international force to stimulate public and private investment in agritech. This was accomplished primarily in closed-door negotiations. As a result, many civil society organizations are not even aware of AIM’s existence nor the threat it represents to ecological farming around the globe. (For more on the dangers AIM presents see climateandag.org)
AIM’s rapid progress in advancing agritech as a climate crisis solution includes:
- Raising more than 4 billion dollars prior to its launch at COP 26 and then doubling that to 8 billion dollars in the subsequent year;
- Gaining 30 national partners at the time of launch, which has now expanded to 42 partner countries for COP 27;
- Establishing partnerships with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the UN Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA);
- Receiving the COP President’s Endorsement for COP 26 and COP 27;
- Expanding corporate partnerships from 70 corporations at COP 26 to more than 200 corporations going into COP 27. Among these partners are Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), BASF, Bayer, The Biotechnology Innovation Organization, CropLife International, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Syngenta, and the World Economic Forum.
Secretary Vilsack underscored AIM’s organizational mission when speaking as Chair of AIM’s First Ministerial Meeting in Dubai in February 2022. With ministers from 30 countries present, Vilsack stated that AIM funding would primarily go toward areas of agritech such as “nanotechnologies, biotechnologies, robotics and AI.” Speaking during a subsequent interview with Forbes magazine, Vilsack spoke of AIM funding other emerging technologies involving “precision agriculture.” He noted that this includes financial support for “everything from sensors and drones to understand specifically each acre or hectare of land…” Clearly, many of AIM’s corporate partners stand to profit substantially from this initiative and its invasive, comprehensive expansion of agritech.
AIM has announced that it will be a major presence at COP 27 and COP 28 — which as noted will be hosted by the UAE, an original co-sponsor of AIM. The initiative will once again use the UN forum to attempt to significantly increase the number of its nation-state, corporate, philanthropic, and civil society partners as well as working to have billions more committed to agritech research and promotion.
Yet as COP 27 approaches, there has been no coordinated international response from civil society or governments to oppose and expose AIM’s agritech agenda as a dangerous false solution to the climate crisis. Given the rapid advances AIM has already made, organized opposition at COP 27 and beyond is urgently needed.
One of the primary goals of the International Alliance on Climate and Agriculture (IACA) is to organize opposition to AIM and advocate for ecological farming, based on agroecological and other low-external input methods and principles, as the real climate solution.
Join IACA in opposing AIM and supporting ecological farming by signing on the following statement.
We the undersigned oppose the Agriculture Innovation Mission (AIM) for Climate’s funding and promotion of agritech. AIM advances a corporate, profit-driven, and dangerous false solution to the climate crisis. We urge all civil society organizations, governments, and philanthropic organizations to reject partnership with and support of AIM. Instead of advancing agritech and industrial agriculture, we affirm that ecological farming, based on agroecology and other low external input methods and principles is the way forward for a just climate and food-secure future.