Stories tagged: United Nations

MAR102014
United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

The fifty-eighth session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 10 – 21 March 2014 (TBC).

In 2014, the priority theme of the Commission will be “challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls”. Participants will review women and girls’ access to education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work.

More information will be announced soon – follow the Commission on the Status of Women website for more information.

Farming First Launches Infographic: Food and Farming in 2030

This week in New York the first Open Working Groups will begin to discuss the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) when they expire in 2015. In an effort to inform the SDGs, Farming First has launched a creative infographic that skips forward in time to 2030, when the SDGs will be set to expire to show what the future of food and farming could look like, depending on decisions made now.

Just as you must decide on a location before you set out on a journey, when setting goals you must be certain of what you are trying to achieve. With that in mind – why don’t we reposition the “post-2015” agenda, and instead think about the measures we must put in place “pre-2030”? The infographic gives us this clear view of what we must achieve in terms for food, people and the planet by 2030, and how innovations in agriculture can help get us there.

So what does the world look like for food and farming in 2030? Global wealth is expected to continue growing, but mostly in the emerging economies.  Resources will become even more scarce, especially on a per capita basis. The end of hunger and malnutrition could be in our sights, but we’d have to work harder to put this on the agenda for it to happen.

In terms of population growth, most of this will happen in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.  For sub-Saharan Africa, this will increase demand considerably — poverty will persist and net food imports will get bigger.

regional poverty in 2030

food imports in 2030

 

Water scarcity is going to be a big threat — with about half the 2030 population being impacted. Agriculture’s expected water use needs alone will surpass currently predicted levels by 2030.

water use in 2030

Land use efficiency will continue to improve, showing how modern agricultural practices are making the most of what land resources we have, but we must improve this even further to prevent further biodiversity losses by promoting R&D and technologies with high potential impact

Land Use Efficiency

While most forecasts look forward to a range of dates – from 2020 to 2050 and beyond – this is the only collection of 2030 data that gives a focussed look on where we could stand at the expiration of the SDGs.

Join us in asking policy makers to consider this possible future outlook, if agriculture is not empowered to play an important part in the SDGs.

Is this the future you would like to see?

 

 

NOV252013
EVENT (25 Nov): Eradicating Hunger and Malnutrition in our Lifetime

Farming First is hosting a high-level luncheon “Eradicating Hunger and Malnutrition in our Lifetime” at the United Nations (West Terrace Dining Room) in New York this Monday, 25th November, 1-3pm.

Participation is limited so please RSVP to info@farmingfirst.org to secure your place.

Farming First UN flyerAgriculture should be central to the post-2015 development process and the formulation of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Supportive policies are needed to encourage investments in agriculture and innovation that lead to food security, economic development, rural employment and national security. The intersection of food security with development is not only an immediate measure of hungry mouths, but also the long term implications on a country’s well being.

The luncheon will be organized in eight roundtables dealing with the proposed Post 2015 topics and have a roundtable discussion on the key metrics for that goal. Facilitators and rapporteurs will be assigned to each table to guide and record the specific discussion points which arise.

  1. End hunger and protect the right of everyone to have access to sufficient, safe, affordable, and nutritious food.
  2. Reduce stunting and anemia for all children under five.
  3. Increase agricultural productivity with a focus on sustainably increasing smallholder yields and access to irrigation.
  4. Adopt sustainable agricultural, ocean and freshwater fishery practices and rebuild designated fish stocks to sustainable levels.
  5. Reduce postharvest loss and food waste.

Please RSVP to info@farmingfirst.org to secure your place.

 

FAO at Rio+20: A Sustainable Future Must Be Hunger Free

In preparation for the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) at the end of this month, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has released a new policy document outlining how sustainable development cannot be achieved unless hunger and malnutrition are eradicated, and that better governance of agriculture and food systems is key to achieving both targets.

Director-General of FAO, José Graziano da Silva said:

The quest for food security can be the common thread that links the different challenges we face and helps build a sustainable future. At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) we have the golden opportunity to explore the convergence between the agendas of food security and sustainability to ensure that happens.

Food has already been outlined as one of the seven priority areas for the Rio+20 negotiations. The global food and agriculture system requires a complete transformation if we are to nourish the one billion estimated to be hungry, as well as the extra two billion people that will inhabit our planet but 2050.

In this new policy document, FAO outlines three key messages:

1. The Rio vision of sustainable development cannot be achieved unless hunger and malnutrition are eradicated

FAO asserts that reducing hunger and malnutrition starts with fair access to resources, employment and income in rural areas where people directly depend on agriculture, fisheries or forestry for their incomes as well as their food supply. Growth in the agriculture sectors of low-income and highly agriculture-dependent economies is twice as effective as that of other sectors in reducing hunger and poverty, creating employment and incomes. However to make sure this becomes reality FAO argues that improved policies, investment and governance are crucial.

FAO also advocates for the implementation of social protection programmes, such as the Fome Zero programme in Brazil, that can address hunger in the short-term, thus supporting longer-term growth in the form of a healthier, more productive workforce.

2. The Rio vision requires that both food consumption and production systems achieve more with less 

If agricultural output is to be intensified, FAO argues we must improve current practices to ensure that negative impacts to the environment are reduced. These avoidable impacts include soil, water and nutrient depletion, greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, and degradation of natural ecosystems. The implementation of sustainable and climate-smart systems already in practice can help significantly reduce these impacts.

It is also essential to reduce waste and losses of food. FAO research shows that global losses and waste are estimated at roughly 30 percent for cereals, 40–50 percent for root crops, fruits and vegetables; 20 percent for oil seeds; and 30 percent for fish.

3. The transition to a sustainable future requires fundamental changes in the governance of food and agriculture and an equitable sharing of the transition costs and benefits

Priority areas for policy action identified by FAO in this policy paper include:

  • Establish and protect rights to resources, especially for the most vulnerable
  • Incorporate incentives for sustainable consumption and production into food systems
  • Promote fair and well-functioning agricultural and food markets
  • Reduce risk and increase the resilience of the most vulnerable
  • Invest public resources in essential public goods, including innovation and infrastructure

The challenge for participants at Rio+20 and beyond is to support better decisions by building more inclusive and effective governance for agricultural and food systems.

Click here to read the full paper.

Farming First collaborates on fourth Agriculture and Rural Development Day

Ahead of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), Farming First is co-organising the fourth Agriculture and Rural Development Day in Rio de Janeiro, which takes place on 18th June. The UNSCD (or Rio+20) marks the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro and will bring together world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection to get to “the future we want.”

Agriculture and Rural Development Day is organised by a consortium of global agricultural organisations, including Farming First, the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to name a few. Policymakers, farmers, scientists and development organisations are all represented within the ARDD consortium, embodying their vision for collaboration as a solution to food security.

In previous years, Agriculture and Rural Development Day has been held annually in conjunction with the United Nations climate negotiations (COP 15, 16 and 17 in Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban respectively) and seeks to ensure that sustainable agriculture, which is inextricably linked to both climate change and a green economy, features prominently in discussions as well as the outcome documents of the conference. Following the last Agriculture and Rural Development Day in Durban, the UNFCCC agreed to consider the adoption of a work plan to support research on climate change mitigation and adaptation science and policy in agriculture, as well as country level readiness and capacity planning. Back in March, Farming First submitted its views to the UNFCCC Secretariat on how these agriculture-related issues might be prioritised, to be discussed by the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) at its 36th Session later this month.

The goal for ARDD at Rio+20 is to ensure that the vision for a sustainable green economy includes clear steps for building a sustainable food system, as sustainable intensification of food production as been highlighted as a priority area in the zero draft for the conference.

During the morning session of Agriculture and Rural Development Day, entitled “Lessons in Sustainable Landscapes and Livelihoods”, attendees will see keynote presentations from leaders in sustainable agriculture, as well as a panel discussion on how agriculture will address the Rio+20 challenges. A number of Learning events will also take place in the morning, sharing successful, concrete examples of best agricultural practices from around the world.  These include:

  • Livestock Plus. How can sustainable intensification of livestock production through improved feeding practices help realize livelihood AND environmental benefits?
  • How can developing countries advance towards a more sustainable agriculture? A concrete experience on development of a science-based tropical agriculture in Brazil
  • Achieving and measuring sustainable intensification: the role of technology, best practices and partnerships

The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) will host an afternoon programme, entitled “Science of a Food Secure Future”. During the afternoon, groups will hold parallel events on a range of issues such as addressing gender equity in access to natural resources, household nutrition security, sustainable intensification of small scale farming and strategic partnership.

Register for the event here: https://www.agricultureday.org/registration.php

Follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag: #rio4ag

World Turns Attention to Water for World Water Day and 6th World Water Forum

Today is World Water Day. The order of the day is to highlight the inextricable link between water and food security. We may only drink between 2 and 4 litres of water per day, but the food we eat also demands water. One kilo of wheat for example, requires 1,500 litres of water, and a steak demands ten times that, 15,000 litres.  This video explains how water is in fact “All you eat”.

On their website – the United Nations recommends that to feed a growing population in which one billion people are already hungry, we must find ways to ease the pressures on our water supply, by consuming less water-intensive products, reducing food wastage and producing more food, of better quality, with less water.

Last week saw delegates from 140 countries gather in Marseille for the World Water Forum, a six-day event held every three years to discuss solutions for the world’s water, energy and food challenges. The forum is the world’s largest meeting on water, that aims to unite stakeholders at a local, regional and national level in order to establish a common framework of goals and concrete targets to reach regarding the world’s water supply.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon opened the event in Marseille. He stated:

 The challenges are huge and the problems are deep-rooted. The number of human beings who have no access to clean water is in the billions. Each year, we mourn millions of dead from the health risks that this causes. This situation is not acceptable — the world community must rise and tackle it.

The fourth edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report: Managing Water under Uncertainty and Risk was launched to coincide with the World Water Forum and warned that unprecedented growth in demand for water is threatening global development goals. It explains that while 86 per cent of the population in developing regions are expected to have improved access to safe drinking water by 2015, there are still nearly 1 billion people without such access and, in cities, the numbers are growing.

Agriculture is responsible for up to 70% of water use globally. It is therefore essential to recognise and react to the responsibility that the agriculture sector has to reduce water wastage. The OECD has also recently launched a report entitled “Water Quality and Agriculture, Meeting the Policy Challenge’. It addresses challenges such as reducing water pollution caused by agriculture, (for which it remains the main source) which is costing billions of dollars annually. It explains that as agricultural production is set to intensify to feed a growing population, pressure on water systems is certain to increase, and the need to ensure water quality is more apparent than ever.

The report provides recommendations which countries could consider to move towards sustainable management of water quality in agriculture, including:

  • Use a mix of policy instruments to address water pollution rather than a single policy instruments such as a pollution tax, which have been proven to be less effective
  • Enforce compliance with existing water quality regulations and standards
  • Set realistic water quality targets and standards for agriculture that are easily measurable and have a clear time frame.
  • Establish information systems to support farmers, water managers and policy makers. Technical and socio-economic information about the impacts of policy changes are critical.

Despite good progress being made towards the Millennium Development Goal of 89% access to drinking water, nearly 800 million people are still without access to safe water. The MDG target to improve basic sanitation, such as latrines and hygienic waste collection, is also a long way from being met. Several organisations have criticised the World Water Forum for favouring the interests of large transnational corporations, rather than the policy reform that is urgently needed.

Daniel Yeo, WaterAid’s senior policy adviser for water security said:

They will have the big debates there, but it’s not where change happens. The real situation is that dirty water kills more kids in sub-Saharan Africa than TB, malaria and Aids combined. We have the technology to change this; what we need is the political will and the internal capacity to deliver it in developing countries.

Further reading:

Read how Rainwater harvesting can boost crop yields

Read The Independent’s article on water wastage, by Sarah Morrison

Read the AlertNet blog on the 6th World Water Forum

Visit the WaterAid board on Pinterest