Science and Ireland’s Response to the SDGs with University College Dublin
Session 1: Food Systems Sustainability (1hr 15 mins)
Abstract: Our current food systems fall short in meeting the necessary economic, social, and environmental requirements for ensuring food security and nutrition for everyone. They face urgent and complex challenges, both locally and globally. Shockingly, one in ten people suffer from undernourishment, while one in four are overweight. Moreover, over a third of the world’s population cannot afford a healthy diet. Our food supplies are constantly disrupted by extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, floods, droughts, and conflicts.
To make matters worse, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a 15% increase in the number of people experiencing hunger. The global food sector is responsible for about 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, significantly harming the health of our planet. Poor farming practices further exacerbate the problem by degrading soils, polluting and depleting water supplies, and diminishing biodiversity on local and global scales.
Recognising the urgency of the situation, leaders from around the world, who participated in the United Nations Food System Summit in October 2021, reached a consensus: a radical transformation of our food system is necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 (https://www.un.org/en/food-systems-summit) and effectively tackle the interconnected challenges of climate change, malnutrition, and obesity.
Two years later and two years closer to the 2030 deadline, where are we on the sustainable food systems transformation journey? What’s working, what’s not and what can we learn from each other?
Ireland is known for being the “green island”, a traditional farming and food production system lies at the heart of an indigenous agrifood economy. Food is one of our greatest exports. How can answering the question about how we transform our own system and the difficulties we face help us and help others facing similar challenges? We look forward to sharing our experience and to hearing from our panel of leading experts from global government, industry, food production and academia as we strive to find a sustainable, equitable food system that can feed people and planet.