Climate change: New approach needed to gauge animal health impact on emissions |

Diseases that affect animals – as well as their lifespan and performance – have a significant impact on emissions. However, there is currently no standard method for measuring progress to improve animal health that can be incorporated into national climate commitments.

Supportive partners Greater investment to set up measurement, reporting and verification systems (MRV).

“This report marks a breakthrough in highlighting the importance of animal health and guide countries towards a much more detailed approach to assessing the role and how include national commitments to help mitigate the climate crisis“Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy General Manager.

Animal health is important

The United Nations agency issued the report in conjunction with the Global Dairy Platform, which promotes responsible food production, and the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.

FAO considers animal health an important factor for sustainable livestock production. Animal products are not only a source of high-quality food, but also a source of income for many smallholders and herders, contributing significantly to livelihoods and economies in many developing countries.

Donald Moore, CEO of the Global Dairy Platform, said the livestock industry provides vital nutrition and livelihoods for more than a billion people worldwide.

Address critical gaps

The report shows how governments and industry can work together on climate solutions and is part of a global dairy initiative to reduce emissions over the next 30 years.

“While this report is clear represents an opportunity to improve animal health contributing to climate mitigation, it also highlights the need to address critical data gaps and especially capacity building in low- and middle-income countries,” said Mr. Moore.

The report shows how countries can develop MRV systems at the national level, using detailed methodologies developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Manure management

One approach, known as Level 1, only allows per-animal emissions estimates with regional averages, while Level 2 examines specific local production systems.

Data on different animal feeds and manure management systems are also important because they have a strong influence on emission factors.

Recommendations in the report include establish systems for data collection and maintenance, and improve the capacity of governments and partners to calculate emissions and take into account the impact throughout the value chain.

A Palestinian herder takes sheep to a renovated cistern for water.

© FAO / Marco Longari

A Palestinian herder takes sheep to a renovated cistern for water.

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