On 12 May Rio Conventions Pavilion hosted its first-ever Food Day at UNCCD COP15, with representatives of international organizations, civil society and the indigenous leaders discussing the science and approaches that can help reshape our relationship with the land to secure the future of our food.
We cannot achieve Land Degradation Neutrality, biodiversity or climate targets without changing the way we produce and consume food. The advantage of the current generation, stressed the UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw, is that we can be the leaders of this change. Agroecological approaches that emerged from the 2021 Food Systems Summit can enhance productivity and resilience, reduce emissions and chemical inputs while also meeting people’s needs. The recently published 2nd edition of the UNCCD Global Land Outlook presents the scenarios of the future, and the “business-as-usual” scenario will lead us to the future that no-one wants.
With the agricultural sector as the leading emitter of greenhouse gases, we urgently need to invest in land restoration and sustainable land management, restoring the land area five times as large as the United States if we want to secure the future of our food and the health of our planet. If we restore nature, we can provide more than one-third of climate mitigation needed to limit global warming to 1.5 °C by 2030.
As the food tastes better when it is shared at a common table, so the approaches to reshaping our food systems need to be shared as well, helping us reduce environmental and humanitarian crises and create a nature-positive future. The meeting participants highlighted that powerful change can only take place when the efforts of the UN conventions for land, biodiversity and climate as well as their partner agencies are integrated, particularly in planning and reporting.
In the spirit of sharing, the indigenous activists from Kenya and Chad presented the perspectives of their communities for whom land is their culture, identity and life-giving source. They stressed that securing women’s right to secure and equal access to land is a key incentive for sustainable land management, together with strong legislation adapted to the needs of ecosystems and local communities. The evidence is strong that community-led initiatives bring lasting results, improve access to livelihoods for women and youth, reduce conflict and encourage responsibility for sustainability. Stay with us for more thematic days coming up at the UNCCD COP15 Rio Convention Pavilion: https://www.unccd.int/cop15/rio-conventions-pavilion