“Unless we make bold changes in the way we produce our food and manage our land, we will not be able to cut emissions sufficiently and keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius,” says Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. “The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report clearly demonstrates how critical sustainable land management is for climate action and for human well-being.”
The IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land, released Thursday 8 August, cautioned the global community to stop the irresponsible exploitation of the planet’s natural resources, or reach a point of no return in the climate crisis.
Agriculture, forestry, and land use changes are responsible for about 23 percent of global greenhouse emissions. Reducing global emissions therefore requires not only radical changes in the transport and energy sector, but also in land use. Natural land processes absorb carbon dioxide equivalent to almost a third of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry.
“This transformation will not be easy,” says Steiner, “but it is necessary and it is possible. The solutions are at hand. Now we must scale them globally to work towards a zero carbon, climate-resilient future.”
Elsewhere, the report finds that about one third of food production is lost or wasted, and that climate change will increasingly affect food security. Working to eliminate food waste and eating a balanced diet are essential to reducing emissions from our food system. Coordinated action to address climate change can simultaneously improve land, food security and nutrition, and help to end hunger.
UNDP is working with partners to support 105 countries in protecting and restoring their natural resources. The organization supports nature-based solutions that promote sustainable land management and landscape stewardship, through integrated land use planning and management, adoption of sustainable agriculture practices and land governance approaches that build resilience of landscapes, ecosystems and communities.