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Preface: Livestock & the environment: Finding a balance

THIS REPORT is intended to contribute to solving one of today's most crucial agricultural dilemmas: how to find a balance between a fast growing global demand for food and the need to sustain the natural resource base of land, water, air and biological diversity. It is a direct response to the concern for food security, as expressed at the World Food Summit, and to the concern expressed for the environment through several international conventions, such as the International Convention on Biological Diversity, the Montreal Protocol on the emission of greenhouse gases and the Convention to Combat Desertification. It is also cast in the light of changes in the global trade environment, following the Uruguay Round Agreement, which may bring about significant changes in the patterns of trade in livestock and livestock products.

Fully aware of these concerns, a group of multi-lateral and bilateral donors and other organizations undertook to identify ways to help the livestock sector to satisfy future demands while at the same time preserving the natural resource base. These are the Commission of the European Union, DANIDA of Denmark, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Ministère de la Cooperation of France, BMZ through GTZ in Germany, the Directorate General of International Cooperation of the Netherlands, the Overseas Development Administration of the United Kingdom, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Agency for International Development of the United States, and the World Bank.

Focussing on livestock production and processing, which often have been associated with negative environmental effects, this report identifies how to alleviate the negative and enhance the positive impact of livestock on the environment and thereby contribute to the sustainable use of the natural resource base. This main report is directed at a technical audience in the domains of agricultural development, livestock production and the environment. In parallel, a shorter version will be published directed mainly at policy makers.

We sincerely hope that this document will contribute to finding practical solutions to these important global issues.

Abdoulaye Sawadogo
Agriculture Department
Food and Agriculture Organization

John Lewis
Office of Agriculture and Food Security
United States Agency for International Development

Alexander McCalla
Agriculture and Natural Resources Department
World Bank

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