Croatian President Zoran Milanović supported in the UN on Friday the establishment of healthier, more sustainable and more just food systems and progress in all sustainable development targets, with special emphasis on food security as the most important global target.
He was speaking at a virtual summit on food systems held as part of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres presiding.
The summit sets a foundation for the transformation of global food systems in order to step up recovery from COVID-19 and achieve sustainable development targets by 2030.
We are increasingly witnessing the need for healthier, more sustainable and more just food systems, Milanović said, adding that Croatia supported such campaigns and intentions to achieve progress in all sustainable development targets.
Agriculture has an important role in activities related to climate and the environment, but food security remains our most important goal, he said, adding that the importance of food security was especially evident in the ongoing COVID crisis.
In Croatia, we are witness to the positive effects of agricultural interaction on climate and the environment because of measures we undertook to protect natural resources. However, in order to achieve even more ambitious climate goals, new investment is necessary, which agriculture alone cannot ensure, Milanović said.
This begs the question of how to meet the needs for producing sufficient food on the one hand, and meet the public’s expectations regarding environmental protection, combating climate change, or the well-being of animals on the other, he added.
Changes that lead to sustainable and resilient food systems must be based on an integral approach, and research and innovation must support those changes, Milanović said.
Sustainable food systems begin by developing the best agricultural practices, improving food distribution systems and reducing food waste, he added.
Milanović said the challenges were many and that Croatia was especially involved in dealing with those concerning green production, food quality, and reducing food waste.
He supported the promotion of the One Health concept, saying the health of people, animals, plants and their common environment was inseparable and intertwined.
Milanović said it was necessary to intensify cooperation in all of those issues.
Croatia is ready to share with others its knowledge and experience in dealing with the challenges agriculture faces in the global world, he added.
He said he was confident the Food and Agriculture Organization and the Committee on World Food Security could make a significant contribution to achieving sustainable development targets via the transfer of knowledge and by connecting the international community.