New York, 23 September 2021 - Today, for the first time, the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) takes place at the UN General Assembly in New York. The Summit was launched by the UN Secretary-General on World Food Day last year to advance the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. One of these goals addresses global nutrition and how future food systems must be designed to be sustainable for the planet as well as the people. Topics such as school meals for children, the avoidance of food waste or climate protection in agriculture, keyword: methane emissions, are currently on the agenda. The global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS welcomes the summit, but sees the discussion as too one-sided: The agenda of the summit is largely determined by representatives of global food corporations. Scientists and civil society organisations, however, are given little presence.
Dr Martina Stephany, Director of Farm Animals and Nutrition at FOUR PAWS, sees the discussion as important, but critical due to the focus on large corporations:
"Compliance with the 1.5°C limit on global warming, which was signed in the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, is directly related to global food systems. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) states that the keeping of farm animals alone is responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. There is an urgent need for action here. Reducing meat and fish consumption and shifting towards plant-based and innovative alternatives must be at the center of the discussion here. Instead, the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) convened by the United Nations is largely dominated by meat and dairy industry agendas. The United Nations needs to listen more to expertise from the scientific community and break up the one-sided discussion of profit-driven actors in favour of sensible and ethical measures against a climate catastrophe.”