Our food and land use systems offer a huge opportunity to provide for the health and prosperity of people and the planet. But today, our systems are not fit-for-purpose.
Food production and the way we use our land are drivers of environmental degradation, accounting for more than 25% of greenhouse gas emissions, when they should be absorbing more than they emit, as well as a loss of biodiversity, soil erosion and reduced fertility. There is also rising malnutrition and obesity, with 800 million people going hungry and more than 2 billion people overweight or obese. Meanwhile, 500 million smallholder farmers live under the poverty line.
These challenges are set to become more profound. As the global population grows, urbanization and animal protein consumption increase, and the effects of climate change are felt, our systems will have to produce more food on less arable land, with less stable resources.
We must build a shared narrative that empowers people to address today’s failures and build more resilient, prosperous and healthy food and land use systems.
To develop this narrative, we need long-term global and national targets as well as pathways to equip stakeholders to make decisions and policies. And we need to reshape politics, policies, institutions, business models and financial incentives towards sustainable action.
This narrative can feed into a global movement where leading civil society, scientific, public and private actors convince the world that the changes in food and land use systems are both inevitable and appealing, and multiple new coalitions and partnerships are forming at all levels, from local to global, to implement the changes.