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2016 World Food Day calls for more resilient, productive and sustainable food systems

  |   SUN Country Network, SUN UN Network

world-food-day-header-imageOn 16 October 2016, World Food Day was celebrated around the world under the global theme “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too“. Led by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the day drew attention to one of the biggest issues related to climate change: Food security. The world’s poorest – many of whom are farmers, fishers and pastoralists – are being hit hardest by higher temperatures and an increasing frequency in weather-related disasters.

The global population is growing steadily and is expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. To meet such a heavy demand, agriculture and food systems will need to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and become more resilient, productive and sustainable. Growing food in a sustainable way means adopting practices that produce more with less in the same area of land and use natural resources wisely. It also means reducing food losses before the final product or retail stage through a number of initiatives including better harvesting, storage, packing, transport, infrastructure, market mechanisms, as well as institutional and legal frameworks.

A number of events were organised to mark the occasion including:

The next climate change conference, COP22, from 7-18 November 2016 in Marrakech, Morocco.

Everyone has a role to play in mitigating the effects of climate change. You too can help reduce your environmental footprint by becoming a more conscientious consumer and changing simple day-to-day decisions: waste less food, eat nutritious pulses, recycle.

Here are 7 facts around climate change and some of the things FAO is doing to mitigate its effects on agriculture.

  1. Livestock contributes to nearly two thirds of agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and 78% of agricultural methane emissions.
    FAO is working with countries to improve livestock management and mitigate the effects of climate change.
  2. Climate change’s negative impact on natural resources underlines the increasing importance of using these resources sustainably.
    The negative impact of climate change on natural resources, from declining global water supplies and quality to soil degradation, underlines the increasing importance of using these resources sustainably. Good soil and forestry management, for example, can lead to the natural absorption of carbon dioxide, thereby decreasing GHG emissions.
  3. FAO estimates that agricultural production must rise by about 60% by 2050 in order to feed a larger population.
    Climate change is putting this objective at risk. Climate smart agriculture helps guide actions to transform and reorient agricultural systems by sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and income; adapting and building resilience to climate change; and reducing and/or removing GHG emissions, where possible.
  4. Over 1/3 of food produced worldwide is lost or wasted. That amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year.
    The Save Food initiative, managed by FAO and Messe Düsseldorf, encourages dialogue between industry, research, politics, and civil society on food losses and brings together stakeholders involved in the food supply chain for conferences and projects to support the development of effective measures.
  5. By 2050, catches of main fish species are expected to decline by up to 40% in the tropics, where livelihoods, food and nutrition security strongly depend on the fisheries sector.
    FAO’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries guides governments and private actors in conserving and managing the world’s oceans, rivers and lakes.
  6. Deforestation and forest degradation account for an estimated 10 – 11% of global GHG emissions.
    The Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) toolkit FAO developed collates a large number of tools, case studies and other resources, organised in modules to provide forest owners and other stakeholders access to resources for managing forests sustainably.
  7. The world aims to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030; climate change is a challenge that must be addressed in order to continue the fight against hunger and achieve this goal.
    FAO is helping countries to improve the global food system, by working to facilitate dialogues between government and the private sector.


World Food Day was recognized by FAO’s Member Countries at the 20th General Conference of the Organization’s in November 1979. The event was ideated by Dr. Pal Romany, the former Hungarian Minister of Agriculture and at the Food Hungarian Delegation a constituent of the 20th Session of the FAO Conference. The day has since habitually observed in more than 150 countries world-wide and raises different issues for discussion to fight against hunger and poverty.

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