Earlier today, the United Nations Environment Programme has made public a new report stating that, unless high officials begin paying closer attention to the ecological foundations of the global food industry, goals such as putting an end to hunger and pushing for sustainable development will never become a reality.
As we have already mentioned, today marks Global Food Day
, which is why it should not come as a surprise that the UN saw fit to draw attention to the issue of security in terms of food production and availability.
More so given the fact that, according to various estimates, the global population stands to reach nine billion individuals by the year 2050 and thus place considerable strain on food industries worldwide.
This latest UN report emphasizes the fact that, up until now, most of the debates and discussions focusing on food security have failed in giving due consideration to the ecological foundations of the food system.
To cut a long story short: there have been relatively few who have bothered to look into how practices such as overfishing, unsustainable water consumption and the inappropriate use of fertilizers in agriculture impact on the environment, and could eventually translate into less food being produced on a global scale.
Achim Steiner, presently employed as UN under-secretary general and UNEP executive director, pointed out the fact that, “The era of seemingly ever-lasting production based upon maximizing inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides, mining supplies of freshwater and fertile arable land and advancements linked to mechanization are hitting their limits, if indeed they have not already hit them.”
Furthermore, “The world needs a green revolution but with a capital G: one that better understands how food is actually grown and produced in terms of the nature-based inputs provided by forests, freshwaters and biodiversity.”
Interestingly enough, climate change is listed as a noteworthy threat both to agriculture, which presently provides 90% of the world's total caloric intake, and to global fisheries, which provide the remaining 10%.
Therefore, all attempts to deal with the looming food crisis must also deal with the environmental aspects linked to it.
“While we can’t avoid famine simply by making the food system environmentally friendly, neither can we go on producing food by wearing away its ecological foundation. In the end we’ll find - no foundation, no food,” concludes one UNEP specialist.