NAIROBI — The UN Environment Programme has unveiled an ambitious seven-point plan to feed the world without polluting it further by making better use of resources and cutting down on massive waste.
A survey of the current state of food production and consumption released to a forum of the Kenya-based UNEP and world environment ministers showed colossal waste but also came up with green solutions.
“Over half of the food produced today is either lost, wasted or discarded as a result of inefficiency in the human-managed food chain,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said of a 104-page report released on Tuesday.
“There is evidence within the report that the world could feed the entire projected population growth (of about three billion by 2050) alone by becoming more efficient while also ensuring the survival of wild animals, birds and fish on this planet,” he said.
Researchers roved from the Arctic to Australia, noting for instance that 30 million tonnes of fish were discarded at sea annually, while “almost one-third of all food purchased in the United Kingdom each year is not eaten.”
Prodigious quantities of cereals currently used worldwide as livestock fodder could feed people, the report said.
But waste of food produced is only one aspect of a wide-ranging survey that covers issues ranging from climate change, drought and land degradation to the negative impact of fertilizers and pesticides on crops and the food chain.
“We need a green revolution in a green economy but one with a capital G,” Steiner told the Nairobi conference which runs to Friday.
“We need to deal not only with the way the world produces food but the way that it is distributed, sold and consumed, and we need a revolution that can boost yields by working with, rather than against, nature.”