Food Day @ UNCCD COP15

Many of today’s global challenges are related to food systems, particularly the way our land is used and managed to produce food. Mitigating and adapting to climate change, halting biodiversity loss, combating desertification and providing nutritious food, depend on restoring landscapes and maintaining soil health.

The way our food systems work has a direct impact on biodiversity, climate and livelihoods. Today, agriculture accounts for 70% of all freshwater withdrawn and drives 80% of deforestation worldwide, causing natural habitat conversion into croplands. It also contributes around 25-30% of global greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from changing land use, livestock production, and soil and nutrient management, leading to climate change. Unsustainable land use such as intensive agriculture also results in soil degradation and reduced nutritional value of food through lower concentrations of vitamins and micronutrients.

Land degradation and biodiversity loss are among the most pressing environmental challenges facing humanity. Land degradation has reduced the productivity of nearly one-quarter of the global land surface, affected the well-being of about 3.2 billion people and cost about 10% of annual global gross domestic product in lost ecosystem services.

Even with all these impacts, we are failing to provide nutritious and healthy diets to everyone. Globally, our diets are too narrow. Of the thousands of plants and animals used for food in the past, less than 200 currently contribute to global food supplies and only account for 70% of total crop production. Rice, wheat and maize alone provide more than 50% of the world’s plant-derived calories. In only 48 years, from 1961 to 2009, diets worldwide have become increasingly homogenous, dominated by staple crops rich in energy but poor in macronutrients. Everywhere in the world, people are not consuming enough nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, nuts and seeds, vegetables and whole grain. This is particularly true for the poor. As a result, people often do not acquire the adequate amounts of the full range of nutrients essential to human health.

Through this first Food Day @ UNCCD COP15 we aim to call upon countries, private sector and other actors to take up food systems approaches in the LDN targets, the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and the biodiversity targets. We will do so by applying three levers recommended in the report on LDN for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security.


Date Time (GMT) Event title CGIAR speaker
May 11 18:00-20:00 FAO – State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture (SOLAW21) – Launching the full report  Juan Lucas Restrepo, CGIAR/Alliance of Bioversity-CIAT
May 11 18:00-20:00 CGIAR – Transforming agricultural innovation for land, life and legacy: Launch of the Glasgow breakthrough on agriculture  Robert Zougmore, Alliance (moderator) 
May 12 09:00-10:00 Food Day – Opening session  Juan Lucas Restrepo, CGIAR/Alliance of Bioversity-CIAT
May 12 11:30-12:30 Food Day – Healthy Soil for a Healthy Planet: Building resilient food systems for increased food and nutrition security  Leigh Winowiecki, CIFOR-ICRAF 
May 12 13:30-14:30 Food Day – Agrobiodiversity session  James Stapleton, CIP (moderator);
Juan Lucas Restrepo, CGIAR/Alliance of Bioversity-CIAT;
Carlo Fadda, CGIAR/Alliance of Bioversity-CIAT
May 12 14:30-15:30 Food day – Food Systems Transformation – ways to strengthen implementation of the Rio Conventions  Carlo Fadda, CGIAR/Alliance of Bioversity-CIAT
May 13 08:00-10:00 CIFOR – Multi-stakeholder action for scaling soil health globally through evidence-based public and private investment  Leigh Winowiecki, CIFOR-ICRAF 
May 16 13:00-15:00 University of Bern WOCAT – Launch of the new UNCCD-WOCAT gender-responsive SLM tool and discussions with its developers and users  Stephanie Jaquet, Alliance of Bioversity-CIAT