Creating sustainable agrifood units: laws and governance

Qu Dongyu, Director-Basic, FAO

Nosipho Nausca-Jean Ngcaba, Lasting Agent of South Africa to FAO,

Razan Al Mubarak, President, International Union for Conservation of Character

My many thanks for the kind invitation to discuss right now. Our food items techniques account for all around a person-third of greenhouse gas emissions and practically two-thirds of boidviersity decline – via land-use modify, by way of use of pesticides, by way of agricultural run-off, via emissions these as methane and carbon from transport.

All of these impacts drive the triple planetary disaster of climate alter, nature and biodiversity decline, and pollution and waste – which comes back again to haunt food stuff methods by harmful foodstuff safety and producing pitfalls to producers.

The Ukraine disaster and the COVID-19 pandemic showed even more weaknesses in our devices, such as an over-reliance on a little number of crop versions and prolonged distances to marketplaces. FAO’s State of Food Security and Nutrition stated that the variety of hungry people in 2021 greater by 150 million due to the fact the get started of the pandemic. The ripples from the Ukraine conflict are anticipated to improve this amount all over again.

A thing has to modify so that meals systems add to our all of the international aims – on almost everything from slowing local weather improve to ending poverty –, and that clearly contains objective 6 on h2o purpose 12 when it will come to dependable administration of chemical substances and waste as properly as foodstuff waste reduction intention 13 on climate aim 14 on existence beneath h2o and aim 15 on existence on land.

At the moment, most policies and interventions do not replicate a food items units method or website link with environmental outcomes. For case in point, couple Nationally Established Contributions (NDCs) refer to food stuff procedure methods. Nonetheless a larger focus on land-use improve, foodstuff reduction/waste and sustainable diet plans in NDCs could deliver about 20 per cent of the weather mitigation essential by 2050 to keep world-wide temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Good friends, the meals systems transformation we desperately will need ought to be underpinned by environmental rule of law, which includes robust environmental laws.

Food units have to have rules and procedures that produce an enabling environment for sustainable agriculture and sustainable consumption practices.

This usually means sectoral policies and laws to change absent from damaging methods to programs these as agroecology and agroforestry, sustainable fisheries, regenerative and weather good agriculture and agriculture that works by using significantly less water and cuts down chemical substances in the ecosystem.

This means promoting green trade: trade principles need to promote high-ambition environmental requirements, not undermine domestic environmental legislation and protections.

This indicates legislating and pursuing via in supporting sustainable city food items systems — especially for the poorest. This is vital as 70 per cent of food is eaten by urban habitants.

Crucially, this usually means sectoral legislation to inspire sustainable land tenure.

In Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, around 60 per cent of all working girls are in agriculture, but deficiency safe land legal rights. Without a doubt, 76 international locations, out of 190 analyzed limit women’s assets legal rights. Globally. In these a environment, children, youth, women, Indigenous Peoples and neighborhood communities have minor say in how the land that they farm is managed or know how extended they will have entry to it.

And with the absence of land rights and house possession, this significantly inhibits women’s obtain to economical products and services, like credit history and banking providers.  And the absence of credit can normally, for that reason, inhibit obtain to agricultural services, equipment and enter. In fact, the absence of land rights thus, can be a strong disincentive to make improvements to the land, its slopes, terraces or watershed and thus enhance the extended phrase sustainability of the land.

So, certainly, we do need to have far more guidelines and legal guidelines to renovate our food stuff units.

Currently, the suitable to a clean up, balanced and sustainable atmosphere is getting debated in the Basic Assembly. It is my company belief that a recognition of this appropriate can assistance individuals land rights and food stuff process-linked legislation just take root and sprout at the nationwide stage.

The UN Specific Rapporteur on human rights and the natural environment was right on target when he reported that a “rights-centered approach … is an critical catalyst for transformation from unsustainable food items units to a potential where by anyone enjoys wholesome and sustainable foods, staff are dealt with quite and degraded ecosystems are restored.”

The Human Rights Council has regarded the right to a healthy environment. Many nations have regarded this appropriate. And itdeed, this correct was a central point of dialogue at the modern Stockholm+50 worldwide conference and its recognition was mirrored in the Chair’s Summary. But universal recognition by the Basic Assembly would be a powerful catalyst for accelerated action.

Adopting this resolution would support States to regard, safeguard, and fulfil the appropriate. And it would provide a far more predictable and dependable worldwide regulatory atmosphere for enterprises.


In excess of 100 international locations dedicated to nationwide foodstuff systems pathways after the Food items Systems Summit. This is progress. But many governments still lack the understanding to design and employ these pathways – by way of legal guidelines, procedures and other steps.

This is why UNEP, FAO and UNDP are coming up with a manual for collaboration throughout food devices – a guideline I be expecting will helps governments get shifting a lot quicker. And it is why UNEP and the A person Earth Network Sustainable Food Systems Programme , a multi-stakeholder partnerhip aimed at catalyzing catalyzing additional sustainable foods use and production patterns,will start a Expertise Hub to guidance put up-Food stuff Summit plans.

 It is the position of our 3 agencies to assist governments, cities and companies transfer faster on reworking foodstuff techniques. And I glimpse forward to hearing your thoughts on how we can do this work superior.

Thank you.

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