Re: Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems - E-consultation to set the track of the study

30.04.2013

Australian Contribution to the High Level Panel of Experts for Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) scoping note on the role of Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems

General Comments

Australia supports the proposed scope of the HLPE report on food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems.  We consider food loss and wastage as a key issue affecting long term global food security.

As the issue of food losses and waste is being explored in a range of multilateral fora, we recommend the HLPE consider all activities in this space to ensure there is no duplication of effort. For example, Chinese Taipei is leading a significant 3 year project in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) on addressing food losses.  It is important to look at both activities (CFS/HLPE and APEC) together and to assess how the APEC project can benefit from the CFS (and other) work already done internationally on food waste. We recommend a similar process be undertaken for other food loss and waste projects. This will ensure the HLPE report adds maximum value and has concrete outcomes.

We support the report examining ways to address over nutrition and food being diverted for non-food uses. We also recommend that the report disaggregates results from the perspective of developed, developing and BRIC countries. The report should identify realistic goals in the short to medium term that mitigate against food security risks. For example, zero loss and waste is a laudable goal but unlikely to be achieved on anything less than a generational timescale. It will be important for the HLPE report to identify achievable short to medium term outcomes.

Australia considers that a very important part of the global response will be the incentives in the market and put forward by individual governments that contribute to food loss and wastage, including trade protections and bio-fuel policies. Australia is seeking improved global food security by supporting a rules-based multilateral trading system and open markets, supported by appropriate economic and trade policies and good governance practices at global, regional and national levels. Food loss and waste can be addressed by reducing the use of agricultural subsidies so that resulting overproduction does not discourage production in developing countries. Removing import and export trade barriers so that food can move more freely to where it is needed most will also assist in addressing food loss and waste. We suggest the report examines the positive role open trade can have in this space.  

Concluding Comments

The Australian Government thanks the HLPE for developing a scoping note for their report on food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems. Australia is happy to engage with the HLPE to provide comment on future documents and draft reports.