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Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Agriculture holds key to UN Sustainable Development Goals

Agriculture will play a crucial role in addressing the planet’s future needs – whether on food production, health or the preservation of the environment. But transforming the dominant agricultural model could be the greatest challenge of all. Last year the United Nations adopted its post-2015 agenda, setting out 17 Sustainable Development Goals to tackle contemporary global challenges by 2030. The goals span the whole range of policy areas, from rural poverty to global hunger, climate resilience, and population growth. Nine of them are directly or indirectly connected with farming, conferring a special multi-dimensional status to agriculture. (...) At the same time, agriculture has been a heavy emitter for the environment. The latest FAO estimates of greenhouse gas data show that emissions from agriculture, forestry and fisheries have nearly doubled over the past fifty years and could rise by an additional 30% by 2050 if immediate measures are not taken. Total annual emissions from agriculture hit a record 5,335 metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2011, almost 9% higher than the average during the previous decade (2001-2010). Asia comes first with 44% of agriculture-related greenhouse gas emissions, followed by the Americas (25%), Africa (15%), Europe (12%), and Oceania (4%). On an EU level, agriculture accounted for 10% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2012.