SDG Summit: FAO Ministerial Dialogue underscores the links between biodiversity, climate and food security

FAO Director-General stressed the importance of increasing investment and cooperation to address “substantial’’ challenges

FAO Director-General participates in the Ministerial Breakfast event at the UN Headquarters.

©FAO/Roberto Schmidt


New York - On day two of the UN SDG Summit and just ahead of the General Debate, the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu, held a Ministerial dialogue at UN Headquarters on the opportunities of scaling up action and investment for agrifood systems transformation as a solution to the biodiversity and climate crises.

Speaking at the event, which was co-hosted with Canada, Qu reminded Ministers of the importance of investing in the environment as biodiversity provides the genetic resources that underpin agrifood systems; a wide range of species; and healthy ecosystems to provide water, regulate climate and strengthen resilience against variability and disasters.

Currently, the impacts of the climate crisis affect agriculture and productivity, and therefore the availability, accessibility and affordability of food. At the same time, the way the world currently produces and consumes food contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, land use change and pollution that further negatively affect climate change and biodiversity loss.

The FAO Director-General told Ministers about the importance of understanding the connection between economic, social and environmental issues, and said that as the current challenges are substantial, leveraging the experience of local governments is crucial.

Overall, the event focused on the need for a Biodiversity-Climate-Food Nexus approach, which can allow nations to address those three critical issues, providing opportunities for accelerated progress.

These interconnections are receiving increasing global recognition including with the establishment of the Sharm El Sheikh Joint work on implementation of climate action on agriculture at last year’s UN Climate Conference COP27, the continued attention to agrifood system solutions by the incoming COP28 Presidency, and the direct links to food systems found in at least half the targets in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework – a landmark agreement that sets out an ambitious vision for a world living in harmony with nature.

According to the latest FAO-led State of the Food Security and Nutrition in the World report, 783 million people go hungry, and 2.4 billion people are moderately or severely food insecure, and the demand for food, feed and fibre are expected to intensify.

In that context, in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, agrifood systems must be transformed to be more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable.

A critical moment

The 2023 SDG Summit is a crucial moment to assess progress and challenges in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Two major challenges are biodiversity loss and climate change, and addressing both relies heavily on agrifood systems, including crop and livestock farming, forestry, fisheries, and aquaculture.

Boosting the use of biodiversity-friendly approaches in agrifood systems (related to SDGs 14 and 15) can also help combat climate change (SDG 13), improve food security and nutrition (SDG 2), and advance various other SDGs. This approach offers a pathway to ensuring enough food for the growing global population without harming the environment.

This is especially vital for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), which face challenges like fragile ecosystems, unique species, high vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters, and widespread malnutrition and food insecurity.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) coordinates efforts with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). FAO also collaborates with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF).

The FAO Director-General reiterated the Organization’s commitment to supporting countries and invited Ministers to attend the upcoming World Food Forum in October in Rome, which will have a special focus on climate action and science and innovation.

The event had the participation of Roger Baro, Minister for Environment, Water and Sanitation of Burkina Faso; Ahmed Hussen, Minister for International Development of Canada; Michael Usi, Minister for Natural Resources and Climate Change of Malawi; Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of The Philippines;  Abraão Aníbal Fernandes Barbosa Vicente, Minister for Culture and Creative Industries and Minister for the Sea of Cabo Verde; Silveria Jacobs, Prime Minister of St. Maarten (in representation of The Netherlands); Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya, Minister of Environment of Rwanda; Yill del Carmen Otero, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Panama;  and Vivi Yulaswati, Deputy Minister for Maritime Affairs and Natural Resources of Indonesia. 


Laura Quinones FAO News and Media [email protected]

FAO News and Media (+39) 06 570 53625 [email protected]