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SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction

NO MORE FOOD TO WASTE Conference, 16 - 19 June | The Hague, The Netherlands

19 Jun 2015

Keynote speech by Ren Wang, Assistant Director General of FAO’s Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department

Excellencies, Delegates, Dear colleagues, Ladies and gentlemen,

Food losses and waste is a global issue, it calls for Global Action. This is why FAO very much welcomes this Conference. Global Action means of course action of international actors but also, and especially, mobilisation of all actors, along food chains, from production to consumption. It also means that action has to be tailored to regional and local specificities and priorities.

The report released by FAO in 2011, and the summary statement that 30% of the food we produce for human consumption is lost or wasted, has triggered a considerable number of reactions in global media and a multitude of initiatives worldwide.

As emphasized by the High Level Panel of Experts on food security and nutrition the very extent of food losses and waste invites to consider them not as an accident but as an integral part of food systems, as a consequence of the way food systems function, technically, culturally and economically., FLW is a systemic issue. It directly impacts all dimensions of food systems, economic, social and environmental. Food represents a significant investment of our limited natural resources. FLW also impacts the future of these resources.

FLW is the result of how a food system functions, with a multitude of causes: technological, economical, including lack of investments and costs of solutions, social systems and weaknesses in organization and management, human behaviour.

As a result, the solutions to reduce FLW are often not straightforward, but need to be thoroughly considered and evaluated on technical feasibility, economic profitability and equity, social and cultural acceptability as well as environmental soundness.

FAO has used its in-depth technical expertise and experience on postharvest losses, to formulate the Global Initiative on FLW Reduction.

The Global Initiative on FLW of FAO recognizes the complexity of the FLW problem, which often calls for new and innovative solutions, and the need for the public and private sector world-wide to work together to effectively reduce FLW. We now also work increasingly with the private sector through the SAVE FOOD Initiative.

FAO has also developed and improved methodologies to analyse the magnitude, impact, and causes of food losses, and subsequently to find and develop feasible, innovative solutions. We are also working with many partners to develop improved ways of measuring losses and waste. More importantly, we are working towards solutions with our private sector partners, including through the SAVE FOOD initiative.

An important part of it is to facilitate knowledge sharing, to bring together good practices. This is why FAO has created with its partners a new Global Community of Practice on Food Losses, a platform where we share approaches, solutions, expertise and issues in food losses.

These actions have been recognized by the G20 meeting in Turkey in May 2015 where FAO was asked together with IFPRI and other relevant international organizations, to establish a platform, building on existing systems, for sharing information and experiences in measuring and reducing food losses and waste [read full Keynote speech]

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