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SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction

FAO is partnering with the G20 Presidency in mainstreaming Food Loss and Waste reduction

20 Mar 2015

The G20, in 2015, under the Presidency of Turkey, is emphasising Food Losses and Waste (FLW) reduction as a contribution to sustainable food systems. Interventions involving both high and low-income countries, such as methodological measurement support and support to improve small-scale storing, processing and transport facilities, are on the G20 Agenda. FAO is partnering with the G20 Presidency in mainstreaming FLW in various initiatives and action plans. In this context, the Turkish Presidency asked FAO to set the stage for G20 work on FWL and Food and Nutrition Security in preparation for the Agriculture Ministers’ meeting in May 2015.To this end, a FAO delegation attended a G20 meeting held on 2 and 3 February, 2015 in Istanbul.

FAO presented the findings on FLW achieved so far and a synopsis of the ongoing work. The urgency of reducing FLW was discussed in the context of the challenges the world faces to sustainably feed an additional 2.3 billion people by 2050 – given the constraints on natural resources and threats from climate change. FAO highlighted that, according to findings of the FAO Global Perspectives Studies Team, the bulk of additional agricultural production will have to come from yield increases. This poses a major technological challenge that FLW reduction may significantly contribute to mitigating.

FAO outlined a two-pronged approach to address the FLW issue. On one hand, there is a need to reinforce incentives to reduce FLW by expanding the “decisional space” of both producers and consumers. Producers, particularly smallholders and small-scale processors, through actions such as capacity development, experience sharing, credit facilities, applied research and coordination along value chains, may be incentivised to adopt FLW reducing technologies. On the other hand, there is greater need to make food prices “right” by considering the negative environmental production and the unexpected costs of food consumption. The High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) also made this recommendation at the CFS in 2014. This would incentivize a more careful use of inputs and natural resources in production and processing, while contributing to reduce waste at the consumption level.

FAO pointed out some crucial gaps and needs, such as a commonly recognized methodology to measure FLW, reliable data at the country and global level, and sound cost-benefit analyses of options to reduce FLW. FAO also presented selected ongoing initiatives to address these needs and to operationalize interventions to reduce FLW. These included the FLW Protocol and Accounting and Reporting Standards, The FAO global FWL index and “Save food”.

The G20 delegates appreciated the FAO contributions on FLW and sustainable food systems, which are going to support and shape the formulation of G20 agendas. The organization also highlighted the need for coordinated cross-agency efforts to standardize and implement systematic FLW measurement.

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Tags: G20

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