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The environmental food crisis: the environment’s role in averting future food crises. A UNEP rapid response assessment

Publication date:
C. Nellemann (ed)
Type of publication:

This report provides the first summary by  the UN of how climate change, water stress, invasive pests and land degradation may impact world food security, food prices and how we may be able to feed the world in a more sustainable manner. The report examines the need to get smart and more creative about recycling food wastes. While major efforts have gone into increasing efficiency in the traditional energy sector, food energy efficiency has received too little attention.The report offers the following short-, mid- and long-term recommendations for improving food security.Options with short-term effects:

regulate food prices and provide safety nets for the impoverished – this includes reorganising the food market infrastructure and institutions that regulate food prices and provide food safety nets
promote environmentally sustainable higher-generation biofuels that does not compete for cropland and water resources

Options for mid-term effects:

reallocate cereals used in animal feed to human consumption by developing alternative feeds based on new technology, waste and discards - this can be done by using fish discards, capture and recycling of postharvest losses and waste and development of new technology. This could increase food energy efficiency by 30–50% at current production levels
support small-scale farmers by a global fund for micro-finance in developing diversified and resilient ecoagriculture and intercropping systems
increase trade and market access by improving infrastructure, reducing trade barriers, enhancing government subsidies and safety nets, as well as reducing armed conflict and corruption

Options for long-term effects:

limit global warmingby including the promotion of climate-friendly agricultural production systems and land-use policies at a scale to help mitigate climate change
raise awareness of the pressures of increasing population growth and consumption patterns on ecosystems.