While European, Middle East, South Asian and North American political leaders have held some high-profile summits in Europe and the U.S. recently, a very different type of international gathering will take place next month in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Rio+20 conference – which will encompasses political leaders from over 100 countries, private sector businessmen, scholars, activists, and NGOs – will meet to discuss ways to reduce global poverty, promote social equity and improve environmental protection.
Organized by the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), one of the key subjects at the Rio summit conference is the issue of food security in an increasingly crowded world.
“Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life,” the conference organizers said in a statement.
The summit warned that as soils, freshwater, oceans, forests and biodiversity are being rapidly degraded and climate change puts more pressure on the resources, it is time to rethink how we grow, share and consume our food.
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The summit estimated that 925 million people in the world are hungry --- and that number is expected to more than double by the year 2050.
The Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR), an organization participating in the summit, laid out a seven-point plan to ensure food security in the future – including improved partnerships to maximize the management of agriculture, aquaculture, forest and water resources; a reduction in the unequal sharing of natural resources and their benefits through improved governance and technology dissemination; and adopting measures to restore degraded environments and ecosystems.
Agriculture is the most important industry on earth, accounting for some 40 percent of jobs around the world, CGIAR noted.
“Moreover, as a human enterprise, [agriculture] reflects the single largest use of land of any sector,” the group stated.
”In developing countries, smallholder farms provide up to 80 per cent of the food supply... It is critical for farm and natural resource management and policies to play a more central role in shaping the broader development and environmental agendas.”
CGIAR spokesman Bruce Campbell told BBC: One reason why it is necessary to push attention on to agriculture in Rio is because negotiations are going really slowly.”
We are also looking for an improvement between the links between policy and science so then scientists are so much more linked into the processes that matter, he added.