29 September 2014

UNEP and FAO: Healthy Ecosystems Key to Better Food Security

See press release here

Today the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced  the signing of  a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that is set to ensure better support for the functioning of critical ecosystem services that underlie food security. Both organizations are coordinating partners of the Global Landscapes Forum 2014 in December.

“Healthy ecosystems are the lifeblood of food security, especially in developing countries, where a majority of people are supported directly by the land, seas and oceans,” said Achim Steiner, UNEP’s Executive Director and UN Under-Secretary-General.

“The FAO and UNEP bring different and complementary skill sets to the partnership that will make our work on the restoration, and sustainable management of ecosystems for improved food security, more efficient and effective,” he added.

The new MoU formalizes the cooperation between the two agencies, in the context of a post-2015 development agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly with regard to food security and ecosystems services.

“I welcome the excellent work done in recent months and the close collaboration established between the FAO and UNEP teams which show a high degree of professionalism and enthusiasm in expanding our partnership,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

The Strategic Partnership Plan that comes with the MoU outlines four specific priorities:

  • Implementation of the new Sustainable Food Systems Programme of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production, which was adopted by governments at Rio+20, through the United Nation’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Zero Hunger Challenge and other initiatives.
  • New and expanded work to maintain and enhance sustainable, productive ecosystems – terrestrial, freshwater and marine – to ensure critical ecosystem functions are supported.
  • Improve and ensure access to data, statistics and indicators for tracking natural resource use and progress towards achieving the SDGs, and to provide evidence-based information and methodologies for strengthening the science-policy interface.
  • Joint support for the development and implementation of legal instruments, especially those promoting governance arrangements that support the social dimension of sustainable food systems and ecosystems management.

Ecosystems provide a range of services to economies and societies, these include:

  • Provisioning services, such as food production, water, wood and fuel.
  • Supporting services, such as nutrient cycling, soil formation, primary production and habitat provision.
  • Cultural services, such as provision of spiritual, aesthetic, educational and recreational needs.
  • Regulating services, such as climate and flood regulation, water purification.