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Food Loss and Waste Experts Converge in Rome to Map SDG 12.3 Measurement and Action

©FAO/Sarah Elliot
31 Oct 2017

As the UN agency with the mandate to spearhead Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.3 measurement, monitoring and action, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) convened an Expert Consultation on Food Loss and Waste Reduction on 28 and 29 September at its Rome headquarters in Italy.

FAO has placed SDG 12 – ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns– at the top of its agenda. The third target, 12.3, seeks to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses by 2030.

Aimed at discussing how best target 12.3 can be achieved, the Consultation gathered leading experts engaged in FLW reduction efforts. It focused specifically on developing a common approach for the measurement and reporting on the reduction of food loss and food waste at the national level.

In an opening message, Kostas Stamoulis, Assistant Director-General of FAO’s Economic and Social Development Department, underscored the growing difficulty of achieving a hunger-free world amid systemic crises related to climate change, conflict and a greater competition for resources. Stamoulis highlighted that the Expert Consultation would support joint measurement and action and encouraged a frank and open dialogue. Anna Lartey, Director of FAO’s Nutrition and Food Systems Division, called on attendees to continue to align their national, regional and global programmes with achieving SDG 12.3 and noted that FAO’s Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction would further ramp up its actions to satisfy the new global agenda.

Wide-ranging expertise

25 international development agencies, research and government institutions were in attendance. During the interactive two-day meeting, FAO shared its measurement approach on food loss through its current work on the development of a Food Loss Index. Richard Swannell of the Waste and Resource Action Program (WRAP), a UK government-financed programme promoting improved food consumption habits and the measurement of household and landfill-level food waste, provided a broad overview of food waste assessment methodologies. Swannell’s presentation covered the prevailing assessment guidance available, industry practices and their strengths and weaknesses.

In contributions by its Nutrition and Food Systems Division, FAO shared the work of its case studies in estimating losses in 72 food supply chains and lessons learnt from working on sub-Saharan food supply chains through the joint RBA project on Food Loss Reduction. The Organization also shared the impact of post-harvest management interventions through findings of a pilot study in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member countries.

Bruno Tran, University of Greenwich, provided an overview of the African Post-harvest Losses Information System (APHLIS), a framework which computes and analyses post-harvest losses for cereals under different farming and environmental conditions in East and Southern Africa. Eduardo Nakasone of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) explored existing methods to measure food loss and proposed a new analytical measurement framework cutting across the value chain and accounting for quantity, quality and value losses.

In a working session on policy analysis and interventions, Marco Sanchez Cantillo, Deputy Director, Agricultural Development Economics Division, presented on to the role of economic analysis and policies in driving food loss and waste reduction. Other presentations covered policy considerations for food loss and waste reduction and developing a global assessment of household-level wastage.

During the Consultation, a number of recommendations were made to support the process around the measurement and monitoring of food loss and waste and the prioritisation of actions in the area. These recommendations will be detailed in the final report of the meeting to be shared in coming weeks.

 

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