IUCN – Nature + food: Can we feed the world Sustainably?

8. september 2012

Nature + food: Can we feed the world Sustainably? – den anden af fem “World Leaders Dialogues” ved IUCNs biodiversitetskonference i Korea 08.09.2012 – 88:52 min. video.

Oplægget til nature + food

Food production systems rely on the richness and diversity of natural ecosystems. One billion people worldwide rely on fish as their primary protein source, while bush meat provides 80% of the protein and fat intake for rural communities in Central Africa. Pollination services are worth an estimated USD 153 billion annually. Agriculture everywhere relies on adequate and well-managed water resources. Fisheries production also relies on healthy marine and freshwater ecosystems – and at the moment is far from sustainable. To secure food supplies, equitable and sustainable use of natural resources is required. Food security is also linked to human security on a broader level.

Are we serious about redirecting ‘perverse’ subsidies that currently wipe out biodiversity
on land and in the sea?
What impacts are biofuels likely to have on food production and food security?
What is the role of technology in feeding the world?
Can sound environmental management help prevent or reduce conflicts and improve
human security?

Key messages from the dialogue¹

Nature-based solutions to food security.

Tinkering at the margins does not help; food security needs structural changes. We can feed the world but we need to think more innovatively and globally — Amita Shah, Gujarat institute of Development Research.

Food Security is recognized as a core conservation issue today.For the first time the Forum is exploring conservation issues related to Agricultural Landscapes along side discussions on traditional topics such as biodiversity, protected areas and ecosystem management. Out of these sessions the following trends are noted:

Ecosystem services serve as a foundation for an integrated approach to food security

Ecosystem services and nature-based solutions can provide a strong foundation for rethinking food security and sustainable food production. Food production needs to integrate resilient ecosystems with diverse systems of production, taking into account community and gender rights.

There is a clear need to compile and disseminate knowledge to influence policy and practice, in particular around:
• The importance of diverse ecosystems in providing resilient food systems
• The importance of conserving wild resources that contribute to food security

As noted in a workshop, a joint statement of the heads of the biodiversity conventions makes it clear:

“Biodiversity can indeed help alleviate hunger and poverty, can promote human health, and be the basis for ensuring freedom and equity for all.”

The true cost of food needs to be reflected in price

“A sustainable way of life is only possible when prices reflect the real cost of production” — IUCN Tweeter

To promote food security the price of food needs to reflect the actual cost of production including the impact on biodiversity and ecosystems – which is referred to as “natural capital accounting”.

To foster global food security there is need to create tools that measure the contributions of biodiversity and ecosystem processes to food production. It is essential that the benefits derived from natural systems that support food productions be taken into account when valuing the agricultural products — especially those that are linked to maintaining crucial ecosystems services. Managers of agricultural systems need to be aware of the immediate and down stream environmental and social costs of food production. A base line standard for “natural capital accounting would go a long way to achieving this goal.

At a national, and even regional scale, it is crucial that the contributions of nature be recognized for their contributions to national/regional economies. To achieve global food security, social and environmental costs should be taken into account when calculating costs of food production. The discussion must go beyond profit and subsidies and focus on how to promote competitive advantage to those who internalize ecological costs.

To achieve global food security requires a spectrum of capacities ranging from local farmers/fishers to large industrial-scale production

Small and medium scale farming and community managed food production play an important role in food security as well as in conservation of natural resources. Lessons can be learned from small-scale fisheries in coastal areas, community-based forest management strategies that recognize the importance of traditional management systems and promote sustainable livelihoods.

The role ecosystems play in augmenting rural incomes and providing resources for food production needs to be documented and communicated to policy makers.

As noted in the World Leaders Dialogue, there is no doubt that food production and conservation can be compatible if adequate policies are developed and implemented.¹

Moderator wrap up²

Changing climate and declining biodiversity pushes the limits of food supply and at the broader level of human security. In light of this and with the prediction that human population will increase to 9 billion by 2050, the issue of food supply is a hotly-debated topic and the focus of the second World Leaders Dialogue convened today at the 2012 IUCN World Conservation Congress.

Five prominent figures from government, the scientific community, conservation and the private sector shared their expertise, wisdom and opinions on a range of concerns related to food production including the role of technology, energy consumption and agriculture.

The message was clear from the lively dialogue; the security of food supply is dependent on equitable and sustainable use of natural resources.

“We have the capacity to equitably and sustainably feed the world, we just have to do it,” said Ms Camilla Toulmin, Director of the International Institute for Environment and Development.

The panel also discussed various solutions that can help solve some of the hunger problems faced by some communities today but also considering the health of the environment. Solutions highlighted included expansion of options on food sources, change in consumption patterns and changing the type of production for food products.

The role of scientific technology in agriculture, especially in the case of genetically modified crops drew a lot of interest from the audience.¹


Mr. Tae Pyong JANG – Former Minister for Food, Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries, Korea.
Mr. Michael MACK – CEO, Syngenta.
Mr. Valli MOOSA – Former IUCN President.
Dr. M.S. SWAMINATHAN – Member of Parliament Rajya Sabha, India.
Ms. Camilla TOULMIN – Director, International Institute for Environment & Development.


Ms. Solange MÁRQUEZ ESPINOZA – Journalist & Political Analyst.

Links til de fem dialoger

1) IUCN – Nature + climate: Can Nature save us?
2) IUCN – Nature + food: Can we feed the world Sustainably?
3) IUCN – Nature + development: Green growth: myth or reality?
4) IUCN – Nature + people & governance: Can conservation tackle poverty?
5) IUCN – Nature +: Saving nature, why bother?

Se samtlige fem IUCN World Leaders Dialogues.
Se samtlige indlæg om IUCN 2012.
Se alle indlæg i kategorien biodiversitet.

Nature + food: Can we feed the world sustainably? IUCN 2012.

Nature + food – Key messages from the IUCN Congress Forum, IUCN 09.09.2012.¹

We can feed the world sustainably, (audio) IUCN 2012.²