Multi-stakeholder action for sustainable livestock
Exploring novel forms of partnership for sustainability in food and agriculture
A side-event organized during the 38th FAO Conference provided the opportunity to share experiences from existing and new multi-stakeholder initiatives.
During his opening remarks, Ren Wang, the FAO Assistant Director General, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, reminded the audience of the complexity of challenges facing the livestock sector. “FAO will need to work with all partners to address the issues,” he stressed.
His introduction was followed by a presentation on development issues in the livestock sector by Berhe Tekola, Director for Animal Production and Health at FAO.
“The livestock sector needs to produce more from less resources and its growth needs to benefit all,” said Tekola as he described the challenge of having to feed a growing world population, from diminishing natural resources while protecting the millions of smaller holders, often poor, who depend on livestock for a living.
The floor was thereafter given to partners to share their experiences on existing multi-stakeholders initiatives for sustainability in the sector.
Officially constituted in 2009, the Brazilian Roundtable for Sustainable Livestock (GTPS) is an example of a national multi-stakeholder partnership.
“Our members are committed to zero deforestation, with the creation of the conditions and forms of compensations to make it viable,” said Eduardo Bastos, GTPS president. He explained that rallying around a common goal is important to partnerships’ success.
In May 2012, GTPS signed a Memorandum of understanding with the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture to recuperate 15 million ha of degraded pastures. “It is possible to increase production and reduce deforestation at the same time,” Bastos explained.
Ruud Tijssens, President of the European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation, emphasised the benefits multi-stakeholder processes on sustainability can bring both to the public and the private sector. The private sector action in this realm, however, is far more effective in partnership with the public sector.
“It is important to identify common priority topics and to share the work and the costs,“ he said when listing pre-conditions to success. “Timelines need to be compatible, however, industry moves fast,” he added.
Founded in 1967, BAIF Development Research Foundation has a long experience of working closely with farmers to develop sustainable livestock-based livelihoods in India. As part of this, BAIF facilitates the dialogue between farmers, policy-makers and the scientific community.
“Sustained work with major stakeholders and integration within existing farming systems is important for small and marginal farmers,” said Ramesh Rawal, BAIF Executive Vice President, as he outlined a list of lessons learned.
Formally established in 2011, the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) aims to advance the continuous improvement in sustainability of the global beef value chain. GRSB is also stimulating and supporting the establishment of roundtables at national level.
“Beef supply chains should be environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable,” explained Ruaraidh Petre, its Executive Director. “Our end point is practice change.”
The Global Agenda of Action in support of Sustainable Livestock Sector Development is a multi-stakeholder partnership. It aims to catalyse and guide the continuous improvement of livestock sector practices towards a more efficient use of natural resources.
Neil Fraser, the Agenda’s Guiding Group Chair, reiterated: “The initial on-the-ground actions of the Agenda are geared towards the identification of opportunities where practice change ensures important environmental, social and economic gains.”
“The improvement of practices is key to food security. The Agenda will be integral to the implementation of the UN’s post 2015 agenda,” concluded Bernard Lehmann, the Swiss State Secretary for Agriculture which is one of the financial supporters of the partnership.