Policy Support and Governance Gateway

Sustainable Livestock

The livestock sector plays a key role in addressing many sustainable development goals – for instance, by supporting the livelihoods, generating income, contributing to healthy diets and climate resilience. Livestock are associated with externalities including climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss. This situation calls on member states to set up an enabling environment and policies to mitigate the impacts of climate change while pursuing the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development (SDGs). 

In the livestock sector, strong policies are needed to optimise its contribution to achieving SDGs.  

FAO supports policy work towards sustainable livestock from a social, economic and environmental perspective, and the development of methods and tools to support science and evidence-based policies. It carries out pilot studies and assessments of technical and policy options, supports capacity building, and facilitates intergovernmental and multistakeholder dialogue.

FAO promotes sustainable, inclusive and efficient livestock transformation for better production, better nutrition, better life and better environment, leaving no one behind.

Key policy messages

·        Member countries and other stakeholders should recognise the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as the overarching framework guiding the development of the sustainable livestock sector.

·        The development of evidence-based livestock and climate change policies must recognize the diversity of livestock systems and the voice of smallholder farmers. 

·        Countries should mainstream climate change into livestock development programmes to improve policy coordination and governance within and across sectors.

·        The Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture can play a crucial role in enabling finance and investment in the livestock sector.

·        In 2018 ministers at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture emphasized the role of the livestock sector in four domains of sustainability: ensuring food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, conserving natural resources and addressing climate change, and improving animal health and animal welfare to enhance synergies and manage trade-offs in strengthening livestock policies.

·        Legal and institutional frameworks are essential for the implementation of grasslands and rangelands management. Governance of the livestock sector and  zero-deforestation commitments from governments are important policy measures: they can ramp up carbon offsets by promoting a low-emission and sustainable livestock sector and foster the capitalisation of nature-based solutions. FAO supports sustainable governance of land tenure - including the community-land used by pastoral communities for grazing.

Featured resources

Share this page