The UN Environment Program (UNEP) has called for the global adoption of sustainable food systems in a post Covid-19 pandemic world.
On Tuesday, Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UNEP, said that the disruptions created by the pandemic have offered a chance to radically rethink how to produce and consume food, reports Xinhua news agency.
“The pandemic has exposed the fragility of our food supply systems, from complex value chains to impacts on our eco-systems,” Anderson said during a virtual launch of a report on enhanced food systems that has been co-authored by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) International.
But it has also demonstrated that businesses and people are ready to build back better.”
Anderson called for re-orienting consumption by halving food waste and catalysing a shift towards more plant-rich diets as a powerful climate mitigation tool to take advantage of.
Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF-International, urged governments to include climate and nature positive food systems approaches in revised and more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
He observed that failure to embrace ambitious and time-bound measurable commitments is ignoring one of the main drivers of today’s climate crisis.
According to Lambertini, without action on how to produce and consume food, the world cannot achieve climate or bio-diversity goals, which are the foundation to achieve food security, prevent the emergence of diseases and ultimately deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The report said that improved climate action on food systems can deliver 20 per cent of global emissions reductions needed by 2050.
It added that actions on diets, food loss and waste to national climate plans could reduce global greenhouse emissions by an extra 12.5 Gt CO2e annually.
The report found that countries are missing significant opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and identifies 16 ways policymakers could take more action, from farm to fork.
It called on countries to shift to healthier and more sustainable diets with a higher proportion of plant-based than animal-based foods to avoid emissions.