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Role of agriculture in sustainable development to be debated



A conference set to take place on Thursday in New York will debate the role of agriculture and food systems in sustainable development and aims to draw attention to the issues.

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The CGIAR Development Dialogues 2014 is an invitation-only one day event but will be streamed online. It intends to focus global attention on the role of agriculture, livestock, forestry, fisheries, landscapes, and food systems in sustainable development. The event will link research in agriculture to the emerging UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

SDGs refer to an agreement made at a UN conference held in Rio in 2012 to develop a set of future international development goals. The current development agenda target date is next year and as a result a new framework beyond 2015 needs to be agreed. The goals will cover a wide range of sustainability areas, from energy and sustainable cities to food and water.

CGIAR, a consortium involvement 15 agriculture research centres, recently announced that it will invest at least 60% of its budget in helping 500 million farmers adapt to more stressful growing conditions as the effects of climate change take hold.

Research has suggested that climate change could slowdown crop yields and significantly affect food prices and availability in the long term. The World Bank also recently warned that climate change could severely disrupt the global food system, triggering a food crisis.

Speaking to the BBC, CGIAR chief executive Frank Rijsberman, commented, “Not everyone in other areas of development sees the role of agriculture or food systems as critical to the Sustainable Development Goals. 

“We believe [this sector is] critical to a number of SDGs and we would like to explore those linkages.”

He added, “By and large, I think that many of the other sectors have not come to grips with how central agriculture is and how food, food systems, nutrient, health and well-being are all interrelated.”

Photo: MMNoergaar via Freeimages

Further reading:

Sustainable Development Goals need to consider poverty and climate change

Private investment needed to fund UN’s sustainable development goals

UN urged to embrace sustainable development goals

EU agricultural policies criticised on biodiversity

FAO: agricultural emissions have doubled in 50 years