FAO Urges G20 to Invest in a Healthy Planet so that Healthy Food can be Produced

On Thursday, the director of the United Nations’ food aid agency urged the world’s wealthiest nations to invest more in sustainable living in order to feed the world’s rising population. 

Qu Dongyu, the Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), stressed the issue of producing more food while lowering greenhouse gas emissions in his appeal to G20 environment ministers. 

The FAO director-general stressed the importance of improving efficiency and long-term management to solve water scarcity, which affects more than a billion people. 

Drought is also wreaking havoc on almost a billion hectares of rain-fed agriculture and pastureland. 

Water-related issues, according to Mr Qu, might be addressed through digital innovation, better oversight, and investment. 

He also advocated for enhancing biodiversity-friendly techniques, such as increasing funding in related efforts and reducing biodiversity loss. 

He emphasized that preventing deforestation “would help buffer against climate change” and prevent disease epidemics from spreading from animals to humans and that the economic advantages of reducing biodiversity loss and land degradation might total $1.4 trillion per year. 

FAO and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) have recently established the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which presents a “great opportunity to organize our joint efforts.” FAO is urging immediate action to halt the worrisome rate of biodiversity loss, advocating a broadening of mitigation strategies and measures across the food and agricultural sectors. 

Mr Qu underlined that the UN agency’s work is guided by the need to improve agri-food systems’ efficiency, resilience, inclusiveness, and sustainability – all with the goal of achieving the so-called “four betters”: better production, nutrition, environment, and life, with no one left behind. 

The World Food Forum (WFF), which was founded and is led by the FAO Youth Committee, announced on Thursday the launch of an international competition in collaboration with the non-profit Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) to support and showcase entrepreneurs who are using technology to drive the sustainable transformation of agri-food systems in order to end world hunger. 

On October 2, the WFF Startup Innovation Awards will be handed to the winning candidates who have established businesses that are aligned with the “four betters.” 

FAO Deputy Director-General Beth Bechdol mentioned that the Extreme Tech Challenge AgTech, Food & Water competition category directly targets FAO’s mandate to fight hunger worldwide and ensure high-quality food security for all. 

Meanwhile, the Food Systems Pre-Summit is set to take place next week, from Monday to Wednesday, ahead of the main Summit later this year. 

Journalists who have not yet signed up for the virtual event next week are encouraged to do so here. 

It is being held as part of the Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. 

The high-level meeting’s goal is to bring together key stakeholders from science, industry, policy, healthcare, academia, and other fields to undertake bold measures toward progress on all 17 SDGs, which all rely to some extent on healthier, more sustainable, and equitable food systems. 

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