UN report flags changes in food system to boost climate action

Addding diet and food loss to climate change plans can improve mitigation and adaptation contributions towards food systems by as much as 25%

By Meenakshi Sushma
Published: Wednesday 02 September 2020

The world has missed out on significant opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it is not too late, a report published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on strengthening food systems in the age of climate crisis stated.

Food loss and waste has been ignored widely, according to the report. However, by simply adding these aspects to national climate plans, policymakers can improve their mitigation and adaptation contributions from food systems by as much as 25 per cent, the report said.

This will enhance the process of achieving the Sustainable Development (SDG) goals by 2030, it added.

“Currently, diets and food loss and waste are widely ignored in national climate plans, but by adding them, policymakers can improve their mitigation and adaptation contributions from food systems, by as much as 25 per cent,” said UNEP, during the press release.

The reportEnhancing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for Food Systems, was released on September 1, 2020.

The report identified 16 ways to address the issue and put it forward in the public domain for policymakers to take action.

According to the 2015 Paris Agreement, all member countries are expected to revise or resubmit their NDCs every five years. The meeting was scheduled for September 2, 2020.

The report was put forward to help policymakers adopt food systems solutions and set more ambitious targets and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, in turn, improve biodiversity, food security, and public health.

Food security, hunger and food wastage are being discussed largely, especially in the wake of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID -19) pandemic, which exposed the fragility of the food supply chain. On the other hand, the pandemic has demonstrated how business need to rebuild food systems.

“This crisis offers us a chance to radically rethink how we produce and consume food,” Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UNEP, said to the media.

“For example, reorienting consumption by halving food waste and catalysing a shift towards more plant-rich diets is also a powerful climate mitigation tool to take advantage of,” she added.

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