In an effort to have wholesome meals, we want a wholesome setting

July 22, 2021, Naples

– The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General, QU Dongyu, today urged G20 Environment Ministers to step up joint efforts to increase investment and work more closely with FAO to create breakthrough impacts on the planet achieve.

Qu made the call at the G20 meeting of environment ministers, where solutions for nature and sustainability were discussed – from combating climate change to building sustainable cities.

“Today humanity faces a triple planetary crisis of biodiversity loss, climate crisis and the effects of the pandemic,” said the director general.

“For a healthy diet we need a healthy environment,” stressed Qu in view of the global challenge of meeting the growing demand for food and other agricultural products while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving biodiversity, managing natural resources sustainably, including water, and to protect and restore ecosystems.

Qu campaigned for increasing water use efficiency and promoting sustainable water management to combat water scarcity and improve water and food quality.

The lives of over a billion people are severely restricted by water scarcity or scarcity; nearly a billion hectares of rain and pasture land are severely affected by recurrent drought; and over 60 percent of the irrigated arable land is under high to very high water stress.

These water-related challenges, Qu argued, could be addressed with the help of digital innovation, more effective governance mechanisms and investment.

The FAO Director General also stressed the need to strengthen biodiversity-friendly approaches, including more investment in related policies.

“The current investments are extremely inadequate,” said the FAO Director General.

However, if we could fully fund the goal of restoring degraded land, the goal of stopping deforestation could be achieved by 2030, Qu added.

The benefits of this would be significant. For example, reversing deforestation will help mitigate climate change and reduce the risk of future zoonotic spillovers. Reversing biodiversity loss and land degradation can make $ 1.4 trillion annually.

“We need to repurpose agricultural subsidies that have harmful effects on our climate and biodiversity. We need to invest in long-term research and development to create the innovations and technologies necessary to produce more with fewer emissions and within our environmental limits, ‘said Qu.

The agricultural sector offers key solutions for the biodiversity and climate crisis.

To support these solutions, Qu also called for an enabling environment – including institutions, guidelines, and financial support for small-scale producers, family farmers, and indigenous peoples who are the true custodians of our local natural resources.

The recently launched UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration, led by the FAO and the UN Environment Program, provided “an excellent opportunity to mobilize our joint efforts,” noted Qu.

He stressed that the work of the FAO was guided by the need to reshape the agricultural and food systems, make them more efficient, resilient, inclusive and sustainable – all with the aim of achieving the FAO’s “four better ones”: better production, better nutrition, better environment and a better life that leaves no one behind.

FAO for nature

The planet is losing biodiversity at an alarming rate, and the FAO is calling for urgent action to reverse this trend.

The FAO puts its recommendations into practice and bundles and expands biodiversity-friendly approaches and measures – from developing strategies and facilitating dialogues to implementing projects and supporting countries that do the same – in the food and agricultural sectors.

The FAO and its members and partners contribute to the Global Biodiversity Framework for the period after 2020, which is to be adopted at the next UN Biodiversity Conference, which supports the sustainable use, conservation and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems.

As part of the efforts of the UN Decade to Restore Ecosystems, FAO will focus on restoring ecosystems to improve food security, reshape agriculture and food systems, combat climate change and conserve biodiversity.

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