Food policy changes could reduce global emissions, says UNEP Report.

4 September 2020.


The United Nations Environment Programme recently released a report, “Enhancing Nationally Determined Contributions for Food Systems”. According to the report, adding diet and food loss to climate change shall improve mitigation and adaptation contributions towards food systems by 25%..


The report suggests ways to address the issues in food system activities. These are as follows:

  • To reduce land use changes. This includes forest degradation, deforestation, coastal peatland conversion and coastal wetland conversion.
  • Efficient Crop land management. This shall be achieved by cover crops and crop rotation. This will improve soil fertility and water holding capacity
  • Around 11% of global nitrous oxides emissions come from rice cultivation. Therefore, this has to be reduced. This can be done in the following ways
    • Water and residue management of rice fields
    • Promote early season drainage
    • Encourage improved management practices
    • To increase use of low-methane rice
  • Adopt Agro-forestry systems. This will enhance micro-climate. It will also increase soil carbon sequestration, improve farm productivity and enhance biodiversity.
  • Improve use of synthetic fertilizers
  • Reduced or Zero tillage.
  • Diversify Crop systems
  • Reduce emissions from livestock
  • Improved management of pasture and grazing land.


 For the Policy makers

The report suggests the following for the policy makers:

  • To focus on supply chain management and storage infrastructure. This will reduce post-harvest food loss
  • To support short supply chain management
  • To invest in energy efficient cold chains
  • To adopt and implement policies and target food loos and waste reduction.

Acording to the report The Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved by 2030 if food loss and waste are added to climate action plans. According to the 2015 Paris Agreement, the member countries of the United Nations are required to revise and submit their Nationally Determined Contributions every five years. The report helps the policy makers to adopt food system solutions in their updated NDCs

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