Mr Luc Stevens, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative,
Mr Young Woo Park, Regional Director, UNEP,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I’m pleased to address this World Environment Day Celebration. I would like to thank UNEP, for inviting FAO to participate and contribute to this event.
We all know that the world produces sufficient amounts of food to feed the current population of about 7 billion people. However, globally, some 1.3 billion tonnes of that food is lost or wasted every year while 870 million people go hungry. So, if we could just save a quarter of the food that’s lost or wasted each year we could easily feed the 870 million hungry people in the world.
Food loss and waste not only reduces food availability, it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. It also wastes resources used to produce and distribute the food. And, on top of that it adds disposal costs for the food gone bad.
Small changes by us as consumers and by food retailers and the food service sector can contribute enormously to reducing the mountains of food lost or wasted each year. In the Asia-Pacific region, the capacity to improve food harvesting, processing, storage, transport and marketing must be improved. Building this capacity among farmers and others in the food supply chain is the only way to reduce the high levels of post-harvest losses.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the importance of this year’s World Environment Day theme, “Think, Eat, Save” should be clear to all of us. The time has come when hunger, malnutrition and high food loss and waste can no longer be tolerated. As responsible citizens of the earth, we must all play our part by consuming food responsibly minimising the environmental damage caused by post-harvest losses and food waste.