News Digest | July 16-31

Climate change: New approach needed to gauge animal health impact on emissions

Diseases affecting animals and how long they live and how productive they are having a significant impact on emissions. However, no standardized method exists currently to measure the progress with the aim to improve animal health which can be included in national climate commitments. The partners are advocating for bigger investments to establish systems for measurement, reporting and verification (MRV). With the vision to promote responsible food production and the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gasses, the UN agency issued the report alongside the Global Dairy Platform. FAO takes into consideration animal health vital for sustainable livestock production. Animal products are both a source of high-quality food and income for many small farmers and animal holders. It contributes significantly to economies and livelihoods in many developing countries. The report highlights how industry and governments can work together on climate solutions. It is also a part of an initiative by the global dairy sector to lessen emissions over the next 30 years. In the report, the recommendation contains a data collection and maintenance system while the capacity of partners and governments should be improved in calculating emissions and responsible for impact throughout the value chain.

Why the UN General Assembly must back the right to a healthy environment

The Maldives, Costa Rica, Slovenia, Morocco and Switzerland presented the draft text to the 193-member Assembly last June, following the landmark resolution adoption of the text adopted in October 2021 by the UN Human Rights Council. The resolution acknowledges the right to a healthy, clean and sustainable environment as a human right essential for the complete enjoyment of all human rights. It calls upon international organizations and States to scale up efforts and adopt policies to promise a healthy, clean and sustainable environment for all. It is important for the countries to vote ‘yes’ on this resolution because we are facing a triple environmental crisis. The loss of biodiversity, rapid climate change and pervasive toxic pollution is killing 9 million people every year. It is required to shift quickly to renewable energy because transformative changes to society are needed. It should also be shifted to a circular economy to detoxify society and the right to a healthy environment which is one of the most powerful tools to hold governments accountable. Countries have different challenges. There are some countries which have a very conservative perspective about human rights. Major oil producer countries have some fear about the implications of recognizing this right. Governments have made promises to address environmental issues and the climate emergency for decades. However, having the right to a healthy environment changes the perspective of the people from begging governments to act to demanding governments to act.

FAO warns 90 percent of Earth’s topsoil at risk by 2050

FAO called for five key actions to governments and international institutions, tasked citizens with taking greater action to monitor and care for soil. One achievement of GSP is the partnership with farmers and local governments to improve soil health. Mexico and Costa Rica have registered to the pilot schemes and trained farmers to use the best practices which includes using “cover crops” which prevent crop rotation, erosion and tree planting. Moreover, the GSP has expanded data collection in the form of digital soil mapping. With the help of GSP, the FAO has called for the integration and coordination of sustainable practices through investment in education and development. They planned the programs carefully to facilitate the transfer of information technology regarding soil health. The networks harmonize units, methods and information relevant to soil analysis. Campaigns such as World Soil Day and the International Year of Soils are designed to raise awareness of soils among youth and expand participation in preventing further degradation. State policy makers are necessary actors in implementing a sustainable soil policy while the work of the GSP represents the efforts of non-State partners to increase sustainable soil practices.

UN General Assembly declares access to clean and healthy environment a universal human right

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres welcomed the historic decision and said that the landmark development demonstrates member states which can come together in the collective fight against the crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. It will help the countries accelerate the implementation of their human rights and environmental commitments and obligations. The text presented originally by the Maldives, Costa Rica, Slovenia, Morocco and Switzerland last June and now co-sponsored by over 100 countries describes the right to a healthy environment is related to international law and reminds that the promotion needs the full implementation of multilateral environmental agreements. It also recognized the impact of climate change, the use of natural resources and the unsustainable management, the loss in biodiversity and the unsound management of chemicals and waste. The environmental damage has negative implications directly or indirectly for the effective enjoyment of human rights.

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