Техническая платформа по измерению и сокращению продовольственных потерь и пищевых отходов

2021 International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste global virtual event

On 29 September 2021, the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste (IDAFLW) was observed for the second time. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) organized a virtual, global event to exchange and discuss recent worldwide advancements and issues, as well as to enhance awareness.

Reducing food loss and waste is of significant importance as it contributes to the realization of broader improvements to agri-food systems to achieve food security, food safety, improve food quality and deliver on nutritional outcomes. Reducing food loss and waste can contribute notably to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as pressure on land and water resources.

With less than nine years left to achieve SDG12, target 12.3 – by 2030 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 – the second observance highlighted the urgent need to accelerate collective action to reduce food loss and waste.

On the occasion of the 2021 virtual global event a clear call to action was made to the public (national or local authorities) and private (businesses, including producers) sectors and individuals. They were called to prioritize actions and move ahead with innovation to reduce food loss and waste and contribute to restoring and building better agri-food systems.

Máximo Torero Cullen, Chief Economist, FAO, welcomed the heads of the United Nations Rome-based agencies (RBA) and UNEP, and highlighted that “Decreasing food loss and waste would be a triple win for the people and the planet: better food security and nutrition, better health and a better environment”.

H.E. Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner, Health and Food Safety, European Commission, stressed that “food loss and waste is unjustifiable – for those who go to sleep hungry every day and for our environment and climate. We need systemic action including legally binding food waste reduction targets across the European Union (EU).” H.E. Jože Podgoršek, Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry and Food of Slovenia, holding the European Union Presidency said, “We need to change the fact that a third of all the food produced is wasted. This means that we also need to change ourselves and the social norms.” Representing the RBAs host country and G20 Presidency, H.E. Stefano Patuanelli, Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies in Italy highlighted that, “The fight against food waste is one of the Italian Government's top priorities. Italy has long been committed to combating food waste and distributing food to the most vulnerable sections of the population.”  

A Keynote on Food loss and waste and their nutritional impacts: an agri-food systems perspective was delivered by Nancy Aburto, Deputy Director, Food and Nutrition Division, FAO. In the framework of the 2021 International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, is key to highlighting that maintaining quality and assuring safety across the supply chain, from production to consumption, reduces loss and waste and increases the availability of fruits and vegetables for consumption. “Reducing food loss and waste can enable healthy diets by increasing availability and accessibility of nutritious food for today, and protects natural resources and the environment to enable healthy diets for future generations” she said.

The Food is Never Waste Coalition, as created in the framework of the United Nations Food Systems Summit, concluded in New York the previous week, was presented in a video, click here to listen to a message from the coalition members.

From the world, a roundtable panel titled “Accelerating the pace of food loss and waste reduction toward improving agrifood systems outcomes” discussed scalable innovations that contribute to accelerating the pace of reducing food loss and waste globally, so as to deliver on better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life. The following presentations were delivered from around the world.

A focus on food loss and waste reduction in Rwanda was presented by Beatrice Cyiza, the Director General, Environment and Climate Change at the Ministry of Environment. Cyiza stated, “Sustainable cooling has the potential to turn food loss and waste into nutritionally available food to satisfy food security and combat prevalent malnutrition in Rwanda and in Africa.” 

Vivian Hoffmann, Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute described: Innovations in aflatoxin management for food loss and waste reduction to improve food safety, nutrition and healthy diets. Hoffmann stressed how, “Action is needed to combat food safety losses, most are undetected with serious health consequences.”

Packaging innovation: a scalable option to reduce food loss and food waste was illustrated by Claire Sand, Global Packaging Expert. As an entrepreneur, and based on her experience emphasized that, “Science-based packaging solutions to food waste align business goals.”

Ankit Kawatra, Founder and Director, Zomato Feeding India talked about the emerging reality of Community food-sharing platforms and their impacts on food security. Kawatra explained how he operates a smartphone app where restaurants and individuals can sign up to donate food, which is then collected and distributed to people in need. 

Not to forget the Social impact platforms – Too Good To Go was described by Christophe Diercxsens, Global Public Affairs Manager of “Too Good To Go app”, who stated, "Reducing food waste is the #1 most immediate and impactful way to fight climate change.”

Drawing on his longstanding experience in Italy and Europe in assessing food waste issues, Andrea Segrè, Professor of Comparative Food Policy, Waste Watcher International Observatory, University of Bologna presented Food waste prevention policies in Europe. Segrè reminded us that, “Healthy eating and the prevention of food waste should not be considered as separate efforts since they contribute to the common objective of transitioning to more sustainable production and consumption.”

Governance and the political framework is key in all countries around the world for the achievement of SDG 12.3. Examples of Food loss and waste legislation were given by Nie Fengying from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, where she is Deputy Director General of the Agricultural Information Institute. She highlighted that, “Reducing food loss and waste requires systematic approaches and collaboration across the whole food system.”

In the spirit of joy and energy of the individuals who are constantly engaged in the field, from farm to table passing through a stellar kitchen, Massimo Bottura, UNEP Goodwill Ambassador, Chef and Food System Activist, enriched the event with an energetic video message and stressed we have, “No more excuses,” we must reduce food loss and waste.

Finally, Kazuki Kitaoka, Manager of the FAO World Food Forum (WFF) 2021, stressed how youth are core to our future engagement in reducing hunger and fighting food waste by raising awareness and supporting their readiness to become the next generation of entrepreneurs. For this reason, on 28 September 2021, a WWF Master class celebrated the IDAFLW, enriched by a keynote by Rosa Rolle, FAO senior enterprise development officer, with a contribution from Iseult Ward, chief executive officer and co-founder of Food Cloud.

We thank all panellists, participants and members of CoP on food loss and waste reduction for having joined this 2021 celebration of the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste. 

Please access the 2021 IDAFLW global event recording to hear your favourite speaker or watch the event.