DEFRA Secretary Hilary Benn has called on the United Nations to support investment that bolsters global food security.

Mr Benn met his counterparts in the new American administration, Europe and the United Nations during a visit to New York and Washington DC.

He spoke with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and held talks with US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

They discussed climate change adaptation, food security and the green economy.

Speaking at the Woodrow Wilson Centre, Mr Benn outlined the challenges of sustainable food production, feeding the world and climate change.

“We need the world to come together to deal with our lack of water scarcity, the damaging loss of biodiversity, and the challenge of producing enough food.”

The United Nations and others needed to respond to crises and support investment that would secure supplies in the long-term, said Mr Benn.

“We are today faced with a crisis of sustainability,” he said.

“The most glaring threat is that of dangerous climate change.

“But it is not the only example of the problems we create when we exploit the world’s resources unsustainably.

“These threats are real, they are immediate, and they will affect us all.

“Environmental degradation is putting an increasing strain on our natural resources, and it is both a cause and an effect of climate change.”

Stewardship payments, such as those used by the European Union, ensured farmers farmed in a sustainable way and recognised the public benefits they provided.