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Appetite for Change

Appetite for Change

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Download this publication in English.

This report assesses the main ingredients needed to navigate the transition towards agreed nitrogen sustainability targets.

Global nitrogen losses pose a serious threat to environmental sustainability and compromise the ability of the agricultural sector to feed a growing population. The first ENA Special Report ‘Nitrogen on the Table’ showed how encouraging more plant-based diets can promote human health and reduce nitrogen emissions. Building on these foundations, the present report ‘Appetite for Change’ explores pathways towards sustainable nitrogen and food choices.
This report, prepared by the Expert Panel on Nitrogen and Food of the UNECE Task Force on Reactive Nitrogen, presents the main ingredients and a suggested recipe to navigate the necessary sustainability transition towards agreed nitrogen targets. It shows that a combination of diet change towards plant-based diets and technical measures across the food chain can halve nitrogen waste. It thus sets out a path to reaching targets set in the Colombo Declaration, the EU Farm to Fork Strategy and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. Importantly, diet change can reduce pressure on land resources and mineral fertilizers, reduce energy dependency and increase resilience to food and energy crises.

‘Appetite for Change’ emphasizes how the nitrogen cycle, food system, environment and health are inextricably interlinked. It goes on to identify ambitious and systemic actions to transform the food system. There are great opportunities for reducing nitrogen losses from food production and consumption with co-benefits for nutrition and public health. To be sustainable in the longer term, nitrogen management needs to be based on a systems approach and requires responsive governance action across inter-connected policy sectors, engaging a wide set of food system actors.