On September 25th, the “Global Day of Action” for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, I joined a line-up of chefs, farmers, seed savers, educators, policymakers and consumers in an immersive experience designed to raise awareness of the importance of crop diversity and its connection to healthy soils and resilient, sustainable agricultural systems. Discussions focused on what the future of food could be like if we conserve and use the amazing diversity of our foods.
On September 15th the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) unveiled the fifth edition of its Global Biodiversity Outlook, taking stock of the world’s efforts towards conservation and environmental sustainability. And the outlook is not good. The report was partially intended as an appraisal of the international community’s progress towards achieving the Aichi Targets, the set of goals and indicators that have underpinned global efforts to reduce and reverse biodiversity loss for the last ten years, and whose deadline is 2020. If we accept the “report card” analogy used in the official press release, world leaders have earned themselves a solid suite of failing grades.
Before COVID-19 appeared in everyone's life, 2020 was declared to be a super year for nature. World leaders and environmental activists had many expectations for the several international conferences that were supposed to give decisive political direction for slowing the climate breakdown and reversing biodiversity loss. The postponement of many of these critical conferences to 2021 has undoubtedly lowered the expectations, but many observers believe that the spirit of a super year for nature is still alive.
In 1995 the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Agriculture came into force, providing a framework for long term reform of trade in agriculture and domestic policies covering market access, domestic support and export competition and was seen as an important step towards making world agricultural trade fairer and more competitive.
Forget about sharks, crocodiles, snakes, or even humans. The deadliest animal on earth is the mosquito. These creatures have been taking millions of lives every year, as they transmit numerous diseases; zika, yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, and malaria are just some of them.
The world grows hungrier …
The SOFI 2020 Report is clear – global hunger remains entrenched, large numbers of the world’s population have little or no access to regular, safe and nutritious food, a situation that has been gravely exacerbated by the onset of COVID-19. Global efforts to end hunger, food insecurity and all forms of malnutrition need to be intensified.
The Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) will set the level of ambition for actions by countries and other stakeholders to reduce biodiversity loss and protect our planet for the next decades. It marks the completion of the Aichi Targets agreed to ten years ago and, although there was progress made in some areas, we are far away from having accomplished all.
The Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), the premier platform for global and African leaders from both the public and private sector, is set to take place in just a couple of days over the period of 8th to 11th September 2020. This forum is the first of its kind due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and will live to be remembered for a long time to come.
The recent SOFI report brings troubling news, that nearly 690 million people are hungry– this is up by 10 million people in one year and that close to 750 million, or nearly one in ten people in the world, were exposed to severe levels of food insecurity and, potentially, that an estimated 2 billion people in the world did not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food.
The 2020 meeting of the High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development is certainly one that will be remembered for a long time to come - it was the first time a meeting of this magnitude was held in an entirely virtual manner at the United Nations. Held over the period Tuesday, 7 July, to Thursday, 16 July, under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council, the session included a three-day ministerial meeting of the forum from Tuesday, 14 July, to Thursday, 16 July and a High Level segment was held on Friday 17, July.