Food Security:

The Ecological Dimension and Sustainable Solutions

About the UNEP report on food security: Avoiding Future Famines: Strengthening the Ecological Foundation of Food Security through Sustainable Food Systems.

Much of the international food security debate centers around the different social and economic factors that affect availability and access to food. While these factors are certainly important, the debate largely overlooks another vital aspect of food security, namely its environmental dimensions. But scientists and experts now argue strongly that the environment should be front and center in the debate. Avoiding Future Famines addresses this need and conveys two important messages:

  • The world’s food production system -- agriculture, marine fisheries, inland fisheries – is underlain by an ecological foundation and we are undermining this foundation through land degradation, competition for land, overfishing, pollution, and in many other ways. By doing so we are threatening the long-term capability of the system to provide food.
  • The solution lies in "sustainable food systems" which include a wide range of approaches from multi-use landscape management to minimizing food waste and improving the efficiency of the food value chain. 

Avoiding Future Famines was compiled by 12 top experts of various aspects of the world food system, under the coordination of the UNEP's Office of the Chief Scientist, its Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI), and its Division of Technology, Industry and Economy (DTIE). A consortium of key international organizations worked with UNEP in putting together the report including the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Bank, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Resources Institute (WRI).