We need to fundamentally transform our food systems to provide all humanity with affordable, nutritious, and healthy food within the limits of nature by 2030, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. Multiple threats have pushed the global food system into shock in recent years.
- Nearly 10% of the global population — an estimated 768 million people — were undernourished in 2020, and over 30% — 2.37 billion people — did not have access to adequate food, as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted economies, job markets, and supply chains.
- The impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — a major global food supplier — on the prices of grains, cooking oil, fuel, and fertilizer has pushed ever more people into acute hunger, even those living many times zones away from active battlefields.
- Food and agriculture are currently responsible for up to one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, 70% of all freshwater withdrawals, and is the main driver of deforestation and biodiversity loss. Yet despite this, around 931 million tonnes of food go to waste each year.
- Overall, 45 million people in 43 countries are facing a food insecurity emergency, due to both external (e.g. conflicts and climate shocks) and internal (e.g. low productivity and inefficient food supply chains) drivers of food systems, that are pushing up the cost of nutritious foods.
Innovations that can help transform our food systems already exist. Unfortunately, the adoption and scale-up of innovations in the agri-food sector lag behind other sectors, and bolstering the food innovation ecosystem through increased collaboration is key.