Diseases that affect animals – but also how long they live and how productive they are – have a significant impact on emissions. However, there is currently no standardized method to measure progress so that improved animal health can be included in national climate commitments.
Around the world, people are transforming agri-food systems to become more nutritious, equitable and sustainable.
Hear how a city in northern Italy sparked a global movement to bring about change in local agri-food systems 👉 https://t.co/EGDKqVcdhR pic.twitter.com/T5muhxiwBU
— FAO (@FAO) July 21, 2022
The partners advocate greater investment to build measurement, reporting and verification systems (MRV).
“This report highlights” a breakthrough in emphasizing the importance of animal health and guide countries towards a much more granular approach to evaluating their role and what it should be included in national pledges to help mitigate the climate crisis‘ said Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director General.
Animal health vital
The UN agency released the report together with the Global Dairy Platform, which promotes responsible food production, and the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.
FAO considers animal health essential for sustainable livestock farming. Animal products are not only a source of high-quality food, they are also a source of income for many smallholder farmers and livestock farmers, contributing significantly to the livelihoods and economies of many developing countries.
The livestock sector provides essential nutrition and livelihoods for more than a billion people worldwide, said Donald Moore, Executive Director of Global Dairy Platform.
Address critical gaps
The report outlines how governments and industry can work together on climate solutions and is part of a global dairy industry initiative to reduce emissions over the next 30 years.
“Although this report clearly demonstrates the potential for improved animal health to contribute to climate mitigation, and also highlights the need to address critical data gaps and capacity building especially in low- and middle-income countries,” said Mr. Moore.
The report shows how countries at the national level can develop an MRV system using detailed methodologies developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
One approach, known as Tier 1, only allows estimating emissions per animal with regional averages, while Tier 2 examines specific local production systems.
Feed data for different categories of animals and manure management systems are also critical as they have a strong influence on emission factors.
Recommendations in the report include: setting up a system for data collection and maintenance, while increasing the capacity of governments and partners to calculate emissions and accountability for impact across the value chain.