UN chief Antonio Guterres on Thursday urged nations to reconsider their food priorities, saying the world needs food systems that protect the environment.
“The war on our planet must end and the food system can help us build that peace,” the secretary-general told a UN meeting in New York.
Guterres said the food system could “play a vital role” in meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Goals include poverty alleviation, protection of the ecosystem and ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns that limit waste.
Guterres told delegates at the Food Systems Summit on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly that the world needed a “natural solution”.
He noted that the food system currently accounts for one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions.
“It is possible to feed a growing global population while protecting our environment,” he said.
“It takes solutions based on sustainable consumption and production methods and nature. It takes smart, sustainable management of natural resources – from farms to fishing.”
The United States heeded Guterres’ call and announced that it would invest more than 10 10 billion over several years to promote food regime change.
The world’s top diplomat said the international community was “fighting a war against nature – and reaping a bitter harvest.”
He cited “wasted crops, declining incomes and failures in the food system.”
Guterres added that the world needs to “expand” emergency food and nutrition systems in areas affected by conflict or climate emergencies, and invest in early famine warning systems.
Guterres notes that three billion people cannot afford a healthy diet. He added that two billion are overweight or obese, with 462 million underweight.
He reminded the delegates that about one-third of all food produced is wasted or wasted and said that changes in the food system could lead to a global recovery after the epidemic.
Guterres called on governments and businesses to work together to increase access to healthy food, lamenting that nutritious food is “often expensive or inaccessible.”
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