UN: Adopt less meat-intensive diet to save Earth’s depleting resources


NEW DELHI: What we eat may be a matter of our choice, but a comprehensive UN report on ‘global environmental outlook’ has advised the world to adopt “less-meat intensive” diets and opt for climate-smart agriculture to produce food-grains so that the planet’s degraded resources can be protected for future generations.

Taking note of the fact that more water is used to produce a kilo of beef or pork than rice or wheat and how meat production currently uses 77% of global agricultural land, the fourth UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya on its concluding day on Friday adopted a blueprint for a more sustainable future.


Countries pledged to promote sustainable food systems by “encouraging resilient agricultural practices”. The UN report (sixth Global Environmental Outlook), comprising advisories on food production and consumption, was released on Wednesday. The report also flagged how 33% of the global edible food is currently wasted with 56% of it being wasted by developed countries.

Innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production were the twin themes of the fiveday assembly.

“While the current scale and pace of action is not enough to achieve sustainability, it is still possible for us to radically reorganise the way we produce, consume and invest,” said Niklas Hagelberg, climate specialist with UN Environment.

Referring to the UN Environment’s Emission Gap Report of 2018, Hagelberg noted that food systems from production to consumption have the potential to mitigate up to 6.7 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent, which is second only to the energy sector.

“We need a global food transformation in the next 12 years in which food waste is halved and diets and health are improved through decreased animal protein intake. We also need to incentivise climate-smart and sustainable agriculture and end the current unjust food situation in which over 820 million people are undernourished,” said Hagelberg.


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