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January 2021 marked a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, with over two million people dead. Since the new strain of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) emerged on the global stage in early 2020, an historical and unprecedented effort has been deployed to quell this global health crisis. As we settle into a new year with increased optimism following the successful development of vaccines against COVID-19, we are turning our sights toward the future, with critical policy questions in mind.
When populations experience economic growth, their appetite for more food and more resource intensive food grows. While this is welcomed in many parts of the world in which communities suffer malnutrition and hunger, the gap between the haves and have nots is growing. The Chefs’ Manifesto is championing a better food future, inspiring people to make changes in their kitchens and communities and empowering them to call on governments and companies to play their part.
Awareness that gender biases exist in land‐based activities has grown significantly. Yet, weak legal and social protections for women’s land use continue. This leads to women’s needs, realities and knowledge being overlooked. Although land supports humanity in many ways, progress remains slow in the global efforts to move towards a future where more balanced relations make it possible for women and men to interact with and care for land in equitable and non-hierarchical ways.
Some international agreements emerge quickly. But the birth of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification was a long tortuous journey. In particular, it was undermined by the perception that it was a development Convention. Yet the evolution of its sister Rio Conventions on Climate Change and on Biological Diversity shows that a purist approach to environmental conservation is at best misguided, and at worst dangerous.
Iceland will reach carbon neutrality before the year 2040. This is the ambitious goal that my government set in September 2018 when it introduced a new climate action plan to get us there. We are taking actions that tackle the three major global environmental challenges – on biological diversity, climate change and desertification – simultaneously.
It is my experience that ecological restoration creates jobs, spurs innovation, and offers new opportunities in the green economy. The growing recognition worldwide that there is a connection between healthy robust ecological processes and a healthy robust economy will continue to spur the demand for ecological restoration, which demand businesses are poised to meet