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Producing more with less: The Danish agriculture and food cluster’s recipe for accelerating progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Countries across the globe were gathered last week at the UN’s headquarters in New York to discuss how to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). During the week, the Danish agriculture and food cluster presented concrete examples of proven solutions that can make a tangible contribution to achieving the SDGs.

The 18th of July the white paper Producing More With Less was launched at a side event to the United Nations High Level Political Forum 2018 (UN HLPF 2018). The annual event gathered countries from across the globe to evaluate progress on selected SDGs and discuss new ways to spur progress.

The challenge of providing nourishment for a world that soon will number nine billion in a sustainable way

One of the goals being evaluated at this year’s HLP is Goal 12 Responsible Consumption and Production, which aims to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. The global population is projected to hit nine billion by 2030. That is over one billion more than we currently house today, all of whom at a minimum will need to be fed, sheltered and clothed. While agriculture sustains life, it is also resource intensive, accounting for 70% of global water withdrawals and 30% of global energy consumption. Therefore, concrete solutions that can produce an ample amount to sustain a growing world without compromising scarce resources or adding to global warming are needed.

Producing More With Less

Developed in collaboration between State of Green, the Danish Ministry for the Environment and Food, the Danish Agricultural Council and Agro Business Park/The Danish Innovation Network for Biomass, the white paper Producing More With Less presents concrete examples from Denmark via the use of case studies that detail how an environmentally and economically sustainable agriculture and food sector can be achieved.

The aim is to share solutions and experiences from Danish agriculture and food cluster on how to decouple increases in agricultural production with resource consumption. While global aggregate agricultural production is stagnating and consumption of natural resources is rising, over the last twenty-five years, agricultural production in Denmark has increased by 30%. At the same time, greenhouse gas emissions in the sector have fallen by 20% and similar figures exists across a range of parameters, such as water consumption, phosphorous use etc. Therefore, the sector is eager to share some of the solutions it has to realising progress on the SDGs.

The circular bioeconomy: An agenda for innovation, sustainability and growth

The white paper discusses the concept of the circular bioeconomy, which is a new economic paradigm that focusses on using, reusing and upcycling renewable biological resources from the soil, the sea and residual and by-products to create high-value products such as foodstuffs, animal feed, medicines, fertilizers and much more. The emphasis is on eliminating unnecessary resource use and waste.

As a small island nation with modest natural resources, the agriculture and food cluster has been compelled to do more with less

Providing answers to the challenges of meeting the SDGs in New York

The white paper was launched during a side event to the HLPF at the Danish Permanent Mission to the UN’s office in New York, where Daniel Crespo Calleja, Director-General for Environment, European Commission, Andrew Steer, CEO and President of the World Resourses Insitute, Adam Monroe, President of the Americas and VP for Public Affairs and Sustainability, Novozymes, Karen Hækkerup, CEO of the Danish Agriculture and Food Council and Finn Mortensen, Executive Director of the Danish public-private partnership, State of Green, discussed the role of the agricultural sector in realising the SDGs.

You can download the white paper, Producing More With Less here.

Would you like to know how a Danish fund contributes to UN Sustainable Development goals in developing countries? Click here.

Source: State of Green