UN and FAO propose changing diets to combat climate change
29 agosto 2019


Sustainable production. On August 8, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations (IPCC), during its 50th session in Geneva, issued a report proposing a change in people’s diets to promote sustainable development, halt soil erosion and combat climate change. It recommends “better soil management” as a first step but clarifies that it will not be the “only solution”. The content of the document will continue to be discussed on 23 September at the Summit on Climate Action to be held in New York. 

According to the UN, a change in the system and food policy, from a diet that prioritizes products of agricultural and plant origin over livestock, would reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by livestock and improve the use of land and water. “Meat analogues such as imitation meat (of plant products), cultivated meat and insects can help in the transition to healthier and more sustainable diets,” says the report, which is supported by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

While the report in its food security section does not directly allude to the need for a reduction in meat consumption, it does consider that “livestock produce one third of global carbon dioxide emissions and occupy two thirds of agricultural land”. It therefore recommends mechanisms to promote the use of alternatives to these products. Along the same lines, the NCD Alliance published its Manifesto to ensure a healthy planet for all, as an emergency response to address the climate and environmental crises highlighted by the UN and FAO. 

Next steps

As part of the Summit on Climate Action that will be held on September 23, in New York, discussions on the IPCC report will resume. The aim will be to issue a declaration that establishes guidelines for action to be followed to mitigate global environmental deterioration. The summit will also address progress on the Paris Accord and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.