The agriculture sector must transform itself not only to achieve food and nutrition security for all, but also to help address global challenges such as climate change and antimicrobial resistance, FAO Director- General Jose Graziano da Silva said in Rome today.
In a speech to ministers, government, private sector and civil society representatives attending the biannual meeting of FAO’s Committee on Agriculture (COAG, 26-30 September), the Director-General noted how "agriculture is at the very heart" of a recent series of ground-breaking international agreements, including the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
"Sustainable agriculture is paramount to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, to sustain natural resources, to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change, to achieve healthier food systems and to build resilience against crises and natural disasters," Graziano da Silva said.
But he noted that while past developments in agriculture have led to major improvements in productivity, "progress has been uneven" and that "greater emphasis must be placed on the social and environmental dimensions of sustainability".
Another keynote speaker at today’s COAG opening, Joachim von Braun, Director of University of Bonn‘s Center for Development Research, underscored the need for scientific innovation in agriculture to go hand-in-hand with policy reform.
"Agriculture and food systems are transforming, and that must be supported by a sound cooperation between science and policy," von Braun said.
He told participants that for this purpose, an International Panel on Food, Nutrition and Agriculture should be established to assist the international community in the same way as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) "helps guide global climate policy".