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Compassion urges world leaders to harness momentum from UN Food Systems Summit

News Section Icon Published 9/20/2021

Compassion in World Farming is today (Monday 20th September) urging world leaders to harness the momentum garnered at this week’s first ever United Nations Food Systems Summit (UN FSS) to take clear and radical action towards transforming our broken global food system.

The focus of the Summit, which takes place online this Thursday 23rd September, is on finding solutions to make this revolutionary transformation and tackle the urgent climate, health and nature emergencies. It will then be up to world leaders, at events like COP26 in Glasgow in November, to take the immediate actions necessary to make it happen.

Compassion in World Farming Global CEO and UN Food Systems Champion, Philip Lymbery said: “The opportunity before us is to use the momentum garnered at the UN Food Systems Summit and its powerful emphasis on transforming food systems – not just tweaking them – if we are to save the future for animals, people and the natural world, on which we all depend.

“Transformation is essential if we are to create a liveable future for coming generations. National governments and international institutions have the power to make this happen so our future truly lies in their hands. Yet the issue of food and agriculture is strangely absent from the agenda of crucial forums such as COP26. World leaders must act before it’s too late – there’s no time to lose.”

Food is responsible for about a third of all greenhouse gas emissions and producing it takes up half the habitable land surface of the planet. Industrial animal agriculture is a major driver of biodiversity declines and the biggest cause of animal cruelty on the planet. The livestock sector alone is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the direct emissions of all the world’s planes, trains and cars put together.

“Research clearly demonstrates that a global reduction in meat and dairy consumption is vital to keep us within planetary boundaries,” added Philip. “We must also shift towards higher-welfare nature-friendly farming – such as organic, pasture-fed or mixed crop and livestock systems – to prevent further catastrophic biodiversity loss.”

Philip Lymbery accepted the invitation of Agnes Kalibata, UN Special Envoy for the Food Systems Summit to represent animal welfare organisations in Europe and beyond as a Food Systems Champion in March this year. Compassion in World Farming has played an active role in the Summit’s Action Tracks and Sustainable Livestock working groups and contributed to the Sustainable Livestock Cluster Paper C: Aligning Production and Consumption, which has four calls to action:

  1. Resizing the livestock industry and reducing meat and dairy consumption
  2. Shifting to nature-friendly, regenerative agriculture
  3. Supporting a just transition
  4. Adopting good standards of animal welfare.

To find out more about Compassion in World Farming’s solutions for sustainable agriculture visit

UN FSS Press Release:

Download (PDF Size 0.14MB)

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