Ramon Paje, vice president of the United Nations Environment Assembly, is calling for more investment in research and development on alternatives to food production, as the agriculture sector is the second biggest contributor to pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
The use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) had been banned in northern countries, but old inventories of pesticides and toxic chemicals containing POPs continued to be disposed in many countries of the global south, Paje said.
The global population will balloon to 10 billion by 2050, he said.
“Behavioral change is important for sustainable production and consumption and the role of the government in incentivizing and disincentivizing actions toward desired behavioral outcomes that affirm the environment,” according to the former secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in a keynote delivered during a session on the agriculture sector at the Global Dialogue on Oceans in Puntarenas, Costa Rica early this month.
He said the private sector has the capacity to solve many problems regarding pollution.
Paje cited the Philippine experience in combating persistent use of chemicals in the agriculture sector and highlighted the need to focus on the dangers of using POPs that harm the health of human and ecosystems, particularly its insidious qualities such as the ability to stay in the environment for a long time, span wide areas and bioaccumulate through the food chain.
Although food production is the second leading driver of greenhouse gas emissions after energy production, efforts to tackle climate change have largely focused on energy output.
The Global Dialogue was organized by the Government of the Republic of Costa Rica and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
The Global Dialogue on Oceans was held back-to-back with the Joint Retreat of the Bureau of UNEA and the Committee of Permanent Representatives to UNEP. Preparations for the Third Session of the UN Environment Assembly, which will be convened from December 04 to 07 under the theme “Towards a Pollution-Free Planet,” were also discussed.