What you eat matters: climate change, food security and public health

What you eat matters: climate change, food security and public health

BONN, 17 November 2017- The interaction of climate change with food security and public health was the main theme of the seminar, “What You Eat Matters” that took place during the UN Climate Change Conference, COP23. The seminar, organized by Japan’s University of Nagoya and the Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization (IDE-JETRO), showcased specific examples from developing countries.

The session provided an overview of the global interaction between climate change, public health, and agriculture production with a specific case study at the end. In the first presentation Prof. XUE Jinjun, Graduate School of Economics of Nagoya University, and ZHU Liu, Associate Professor, Nagoya University, shared analysis data and figures to illustrate the general trend of climate change globally, how much climate change negatively affects public health, and how daily consumption affects climate change.

The second presentation by Nicola Cantore from UNIDO’s Institute for Capacity Development elaborated on the impact of climate change on agricultural production especially agri-food industry thorough data supports, from prospective including productivity, supply and demand, migration, and so on. Challenges and prospects of organic agri-food industry were also presented.

UNIDO’s research shows that the agri-food sector has significant potential to sustain growth and employment especially at low and middle levels of GDP per capita. It is one of the key sectors within manufacturing to act as an engine of growth and to contribute in the accomplishment of SDG9: promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization.

Cantore highlighted how important is to reconcile the industrialization objective with green agri-food industry. According to him, “Organic products  represent a good opportunity to reunite growth and climate compatible production practices, sound policies and enhanced international cooperation are needed to mitigate the drawbacks related to organic production such as high prices for final consumers, lower productivity and scarce integration of producers to international markets and certification issues in low income countries.”

The last presentation, by LEI Lei, Research Fellow at IDE-JETRO, demonstrated the impact of agriculture on climate change and public health through food consumption with a case of China. The case provided a new prospect to study the climate change issue.

Strengthening the labelling system for consumers, market instruments to incentivize conversion to organic practices and support to emerging certification procedures such as internal control systems or participatory guarantee systems were among the conclusions drawn.

For more information

Nicola Cantore

Industrial Development Officer