FAO ‘Pocketbook’ Highlights Environment, Food Security, Nutrition Links

17 November 2014: The world produces more food than it needs, leaving deep resource footprints in terms of carbon emissions, environmental degradation and land and water use, yet it is off track in achieving the World Food Summit (WFS) target of reducing the number of hungry people by 2015, according to ‘Food and Nutrition in Numbers.’

The publication from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) provides a “pocketbook” compendium on the global state of nutrition.

FAO released the compendium in advance of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN 2), which convenes on 19-21 November 2014, in Rome, Italy. The meeting is expected to adopt a declaration on nutrition and a framework of action on guidance for national policy commitments.

The pocketbook provides global, regional and national level data on the impacts of food systems, with the aim of highlighting the external aspects of nutrition. It addresses a range of topics on nutrition and health, including micronutrient deficiencies, obesity, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), food prices and trade. It also includes food security indicators and indicators on links between the environment, health and nutrition and data on agriculture-related carbon emissions and land use.

Data included in the publication provide “the starting point for evidence-based food policy analysis and for getting a more complete picture of health and environmental impacts associated with nutrition,” emphasized Josef Schmidhuber, FAO’s Statistics Division. Schmidhuber underscored “how much more food agriculture has produced over the past decades,” but said that “what is equally remarkable is that in this world of plenty, we still have 800 million who don’t consume enough calories and 2 billion who don’t eat well.”

FAO’s Nutrition Division Director, Anna Lartey, highlighted the importance of nutrition in development, stressing that countries that do “not pay attention to the nutrition of its citizens will pay dearly in health costs and loss of productivity and this can significantly reduce its economic development.” [UN Press Release] [UNRIC Press Release] [Publication: Food and Nutrition in Numbers] [IISD RS Coverage of ICN 2]