Philip Lymbery | On The Road To The United Nations
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On The Road To The United Nations

I’m honoured to have been invited to be a keynote speaker at the United Nations in Nairobi, contributing to crucial discussions about the future of our environment and the food system.

Held in Nairobi from 11 to 15 March, the UN Environment Assembly is the world’s highest environmental decision-making body, attended by governments, business and civil society.

This year’s theme is “Innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production”. Importantly, the UN has made it clear that by innovation it doesn’t just mean ‘technology’ “but rather a mind-set or an enabling culture accessible to all countries and organisations alike, which includes also streamlining and simplifying processes and removing barriers to act as an enabler of innovation — doing different things and doing things differently.”

Every passing day brings yet more evidence of the need for us to do things differently. Not a day goes by with publication of yet another report or a news item about threats to the future of life on Earth. Many of the most urgent problems facing us are caused by our food system.

Industrial livestock’s squanderous use of huge quantities of cereals and soy as animal feed has fuelled pollution and overuse of water, as well as expansion of cropland and intensification of crop production. This has led to deforestation, land use change, biodiversity loss, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, nitrogen pollution and soil degradation. The continued use of industrial livestock and arable production will make it impossible to meet the globally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)  that relate to these factors, as well as the Paris Climate Change targets.

Image Credit: Romolo Tavani

To achieve the better and more sustainable future that we all wish to see, we need a food system that works for people, for the environment and the biodiversity on which we all depend.

A food system without the cruelty of factory farming.

In my contributions during the Assembly and this weekend during the Science and Business Forum, I’ll be calling for action in key areas including support for agroecology, improvement of health and well-being and measures addressing the true cost of food, all with the aim of creating a flourishing food system.

I’ll also be seeking opportunities to work in partnership with others on solutions that will bring about the changes we desperately need to see.

I’m hoping to find others who believe, like me, that it’s time for co-ordinated global action to change our food system.

I’m hugely looking forward to meeting like-minded people, to listening and learning. No-one has all the answers but together we can make the difference.

Please stay tuned as I share news and updates from the policy front in Nairobi.

Thank you as ever for your support.