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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Director-General  Qu Dongyu
A statement by FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu
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Statement by DG at 31st Meeting of Parties (MoP31) to the Montreal Protocol

Thursday 7 November 2019

Good morning. I am very pleased to welcome you all to FAO and to the High-level Segment of this important Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol.

The Montreal Protocol is not only a successful environmental agreement that has helped the recovery of the ozone layer and contributed to the fight against climate change; it is also of great importance in protecting the food chain. 

In that respect, allow me to outline a few aspects that are of relevance from FAO’s perspective:

Food Loss and Waste: Today, about 1.3 billion tonnes of food is lost or wasted per year across the world.

Food loss and waste contribute to climate change by generating nearly 8 percent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions.  This is not only harmful to the environment but also to farmers’ incomes.

Just last month, we launched The State of Food and Agriculture in the World (SOFA 2019), which estimated the global food loss, that is up to, but excluding, the retail level at 14 percent of the total food production.

The report clearly shows that reducing food loss will directly contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions per unit of food consumed.

The establishment of cold chains can help address food loss and ensure that farm products reach the markets in good condition, and improve the shelf life, which would benefit the environment, farmers and consumers.

But in the meantime we need more efficient climate smart technology for cooling, as mentioned by my colleague, to phase out HFCs, extend the lifetime of food products and reduce food loss and waste.

Another big challenge the world is facing today is plastic pollution, which is also partially generated from agricultural activity.

More attention is needed to address the use of plastics in the agricultural value chain, especially in food packaging and the food cold chain.

We intend to collaborate with all partners in addressing plastics pollution in the agriculture and food sectors.

Part of the solution for the challenges that I just mentioned is innovation: New technologies and innovative approaches are required.

Synergy balance among different sectors, and we need to increase the productivity and effectiveness based on innovation and good management.

Also, promote digital farming and digital rural development, through the new business model, which helps with improving the efficiency of food production, supply chain, value chain and end up with more efficient, environmental friendly  use  of the natural resources.

That’s the good, larger picture, which we have to work together. Of course, we have to identify environment friendly practices, and we have to work together, hand in hand.

In that context, the Montreal Protocol gives us great inspiration as it is an excellent example of successful multilateral cooperation, driving collaboration between various international, regional and local actors from across governments, private sector, academia and civil society, even consumers, ourselves.

As a professional, dynamic, and inclusive Organization, FAO will continue to actively engage all key players in identifying solutions for the global challenges.

We need to aim big and do concrete! Step by step and then we will reach our common goal, we only share one planet.

I wish you fruitful deliberations and a successful meeting, and have a good stay in FAO buildings. Please take your time on the 8th floor terrace, it is reportedly the best terrace in Rome. If you do not go there to take a photo, it’s as if you don’t come to Rome at all.

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