Significant progress on joint action for sustainable livestock sector development
The Agenda is build on the notion that demand growth for livestock products will likely continue for decades to come as incomes and human populations continue to grow. Such demand growth will need to be accommodated within the context of a finite natural resource base, and will be faced with the need to respond to climate change, both adapting and mitigating. Sector growth, however, provides also an opportunity for social and economic development including numerous prospects for enhanced food security and livelihood support that many developing countries would not want to miss.
The Agenda initially focuses on three areas with substantial potential for environmental, economic and social gains. During the meeting, stakeholders further refined the programmes for each of these three Focus Areas:
Closing the Efficiency Gap
A large number of the world’s producers rely on practices that are inefficient in their use of natural resources. The wider application of proven but not yet widely used technologies can generate large production and efficiency gains as well as environmental benefits.
Preliminary activities under this focus area in support of the building of the Agenda aim to develop a better understanding of resource use and resource constraints in the livestock sector. Ongoing scoping activities, building on work of several organizations, will illustrate and quantify efficiency gaps, and identify countries, regions, production systems where large potential to achieve social, environmental and economic gains exists. Pilot projects and the possibility to assess the environmental impact of livestock development projects are also being explored.
Restoring Value to Grasslands
The current widespread neglect of grasslands results in a high incidence of poverty in many marginal areas, but also in low productivity of land and livestock, and widespread degradation of land, water and biodiversity resources. Appropriately managed grazing land and supportive institutional and policy frameworks can provide large benefits in the form of carbon sequestration, protection of water services and biodiversity, but also enhance productivity and livelihoods.
Preliminary activities focus on the establishment of networks to synthesize information on non-market benefits of grassland restoration, an assessment of global grassland C sequestration potential, and the development of a carbon accounting methodology for grasslands to be validated in 2013. Many additional activities are foreseen such as an analysis of integrated landscape management practices and of policies and market mechanisms for grassland restoration and management.
Towards Zero discharge
The management of livestock manure has become increasingly important to reduce the environmental impact of intensive and confined pig and dairy production systems. Recovering nutrients and energy contained in animal manure will not only stop pollution but also improve public health. Recycled nutrients help soil fertility and substitute for mineral fertilizer. Recovered energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions and substitutes fossil fuel.
Preliminary activities aim to obtain better information on manure production and management through the preparation of a global inventory of the production of NPK in manures, current manure management practices, actual use of manure as fertilizer and associated nutrient balances. This information will thereafter be used to target and prioritize the development of planning tools and regulatory and incentive frameworks to support viable manure management and create opportunities for recycling.
Stakeholders also agreed an initial Agenda set-up, which will stay in place until the next multi-stakeholder platform meeting. It consists of: i) an open Multi-stakeholder Platform for consensus building on priority issues and actions; ii) a Support Group for the building of the Agenda; iii) a Guiding Group for overall direction, and activities’ guidance and monitoring; and iv) Focus area groups to implement the work programmes.
The official launch of the Agenda is currently scheduled for June 2013.