Our food systems need to become more sustainable

No sustainable development without hunger eradication

30/05/2012

On the path to Rio+20, FAO calls for a future with both healthier people and healthier ecosystems - Sustainable development cannot be realized unless hunger and malnutrition are eradicated, FAO said in a policy document prepared for the Rio+20 Summit to be held in June in Rio de Janeiro.

"We cannot call development sustainable while this situation persists, while nearly one out of every seven men, women and children are left behind, victims of undernourishment," said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

"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 Rio Summit we have the golden opportunity to explore the convergence between the agendas of food security and sustainability to ensure that happens," he added.

One of the great flaws in current food systems is that despite significant progress in development and food production hundreds of millions of people are hungry because they lack the means to produce or purchase the food they need for a healthy and productive life, according to FAO's report.

"Improving agricultural and food systems is essential for a world with both healthier people and healthier ecosystems," it says.

The report, Towards the future we want: end hunger and make the transition to sustainable agricultural and food systems, urges governments to establish and protect rights to resources, especially for the poor; incorporate incentives for sustainable consumption and production into food systems; promote fair and well-functioning agricultural and food markets; reduce risks and increase the resilience of the most vulnerable; invest public resources in essential public goods, especially innovation and infrastructure.