Speaking at the UN Climate Summit, the Food and Agriculture Organisation chief said that overcoming climate change is central to achieving a sustainable future for the planet's growing population, and warned that food security must lie at the heart of such efforts.
While in the past, efforts to feed the world focused on boosting agricultural output to produce more food, today's challenges – including climate change – demand a new approach, noted Graziano da Silva.
"We need to shift to more sustainable food systems – food systems that produce more, with less environmental damage – food systems that promote sustainable consumption, since nowadays we waste or lose one third to half of what we produce," he said.
Noting that global hunger persists despite the fact that the planet produces enough food to feed all of humanity, he added that producing enough food for all is necessary, but not a sufficient condition for food security.
"We cannot call development sustainable while hunger still robs over 800 million people of the opportunity to lead a decent life," he said, referencing the latest UN report on world hunger.
"People are not hungry because food is not available, but because they do not have access to it."
"There are many alternatives to address climate change and ensure sustainable food security," Graziano da Silva said. "We need to keep all the doors open to face the adaptation needed to cope with the climate change and assure food for all in the near future."
One valuable approach, he noted, is ‘climate-smart agriculture’ which involves adjusting farming practices to make them more adaptive and resilient to environmental pressures, while at the same time decreasing farming's own impacts on the environment.