SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction

FAO Director-General Graziano da Silva: addressing food loss and waste should be one of our highest priorities in the response to climate change

Photo: ©FAO/Marco Longari
24 Oct 2016

Following the celebrations of World Food Day 2016, FAO released its annual flagship publication, “The State of Food and Agriculture” (SOFA) report which assesses the issues of agricultural and rural development in the context of global food security. This year’s SOFA report centres on the double challenge of food security and climate change, presenting alternatives to tackle the two as a whole.

Reducing food loss and waste is critical in ensuring more productive, resilient and low-emission food systems and driving climate action forward in the agriculture sector. FAO and SAVE FOOD continue to highlight this with food loss and waste reduction as one of the seven thematic areas of WFD 2016, where this year’s theme was “climate is changing, food and agriculture must too”. The food loss and waste challenge is also addressed in the SOFA report, which pinpoints the opportunities of limiting food loss and waste as a means to strengthen resilience of rural, food-insecure communities, curb emissions in food systems while improving natural resource management.

Following the adoption of the landmark Paris Agreement at COP21 last year, "2016 should be about putting commitments into action" said FAO Director-General Graziano da Silva at the SOFA launch event in FAO’s headquarters. In his presentation, Graziano da Silva also emphasized the main challenges and key areas that require urgent action and attention in the response to climate change; we must halt deforestation and sustainable practices must be adopted such as zero-tillage as well as the use of nitrogen-efficient and heat tolerant crop varieties. Finally, Graziano da Silva highlighted how limiting food loss and waste will have major impacts towards reducing GHG emissions. “We need to address this as one of our highest priorities in addressing the impacts of climate change” urged Graziano da Silva, while noting the unnecessary pressure we are placing on natural resources such as land and water, in order to produce food that is ultimately not consumed by humans.

Ensuring more sustainable production and consumption patterns, while reducing food loss and waste throughout the food system will also be key to halting deforestation. Agriculture remains the major driver of deforestation and forest degradation, while estimates state that nearly 30 percent of agricultural land is occupied to produce food that is either lost or wasted. We must act now but financing is needed to mobilize actors and implement solutions that can transform our food systems. In his final remarks, Graziano da Silva noted FAO’s recent accreditation to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) but also stressed funding alone will not be sufficient in the response to climate change. It is how we manage issues and build capacity through the integration of all stakeholders in the food system that is fundamental to achieving sustainable results. In order to best respond to the climate challenges facing food and agriculture, we must adopt a horizontal approach, across ministries and sectors, and fill the technical capacity gaps. This was also reiterated by Kostas Stamoulis, Assistant Director-General for Economic and Social Development (ES) who presented the technical findings of SOFA 2016. He highlighted how the report identifies and outlines strategies, financing opportunities, and data and information needs, which together can help put the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC/NDC) into action. It also describes transformative policies and institutions that can overcome barriers to implementation. Finally drawing from the conclusions of the report, Kostas Stamoulis underscored that success in transforming food and agriculture systems will largely depend on urgently supporting smallholders in adapting to climate change.

For more information on food loss and waste and the linkage with environment and climate change, please contact Ms Emilie Wieben: [email protected]

Further resources

SOFA 2016 - Global Press Conference launching the State of Food and Agriculture report

SOFA

WFD 2016

 

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