How to feed the world in times of pandemics and climate change? Opportunities for innovation in livestock systems
Progress towards Zero Hunger must be protected from the dual challenges of pandemics and climate change. The frequency of infectious disease outbreaks – including the emergence of novel viruses and zoonotic diseases – is expected to continue rising as livestock, food security, economies, and global health are increasingly threatened by a destabilizing climate. At the same time, malnutrition is unacceptably high across all regions of the world. In 2019, nearly one in ten people in the world were exposed to severe levels of food insecurity. The 13th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) in 2021 is seeking recommendations, guided by four questions about “How to Feed the World in Times of Pandemics and Climate Change?”: 1) How can food systems emerge strengthened from the COVID-19 pandemic? 2) How can the agricultural sector contribute to preventing further pandemics? 3) How can food systems become more climate-resilient? 4) How can food systems contribute to climate change mitigation better than before? In this brief, the four questions posed by the GFFA are addressed from the perspective of livestock systems. The crucible of COVID-19 is an opportunity to acknowledge vulnerabilities in order to “build back better” by applying the lessons learned from emergency and rehabilitation activities of past zoonotic disease outbreaks and natural disasters. This means investing in sustainable, inclusive, and resilient food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and better lives.