SAVE FOOD: Iniciativa mundial sobre la reducción de la pérdida y el desperdicio de alimentos

Regional commitment to combat food loss and waste

10 Oct 2022

Istanbul, Türkiye – On 5–6 October the regional conference on food loss and waste in Europe and Central Asia “Enabling the change” took place to explore and discuss strategies, tools, and practical interventions to reduce food loss and waste and to identify the essential elements of environments conducive to the transition to sustainable food value chains. The event was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Türkiye, the Economic Cooperation Organization Regional Coordination Centre for Food Security, with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of The Netherlands.

With a mandate to defeat hunger and achieve food security and good nutrition for all and as a custodian of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicator 12.3.1 on reducing food loss and waste, FAO takes the leadership role in the area of food loss and waste and supports the coordinated action needed for impact.In this spirit, the conference brought together over 150 experts, practitioners, decision-makers, representatives of academia and non-government organisations from 27 countries in Europe and Central Asia to take a stock of recent developments and challenges with regard to food loss and waste reduction in the region and identify good practices and effective solutions to tackle the issue.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of the Republic of Türkiye, Ebubekir Gizligider, opened the conference, emphasizing that Türkiye is open to international dialogue and cooperation to accelerate and reinforce the response to food loss and waste, especially in the face of ongoing crisis in the world.  

The fact that substantial amounts of food are produced but not consumed by people has substantial negative impacts, including on food security,” reiterated Khusrav Noziri, Secretary General, Economic Cooperation Organisation, adding that food loss and waste worsen the environmental, social and economic situation in the world. “The newly released 2022 Global Report on Food Crises indicates that the number of people facing acute food insecurity increased from 135 million in 2019 to 193 million in 2021. This makes food loss and waste an ethical issue, which shall not be tolerated”.

We can no longer continue ‘business as usual’, we urgently need to act differently and holistically to transform our agrifood systems. This transition is achievable, but it will need action at all levels and in multiple ways and crucially, at scale and pace,” said Vladimir Rakhmanin, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia. Rakhmanin also emphasized the importance of a dialogue and joint effort, saying that “We must galvanize more partners around this issue and work together to tackle it. The today assembly is the occasion to show our strong ambition to build sustainable future. And it is within our reach. I am hopeful that the national stakeholders and communities will remain strongly engaged in addressing the critical issue of food loss and waste”.

The conference programme addressed a broad range of topics – from legal and policy frameworks supporting food loss and waste management to strategies and solutions, including technological and innovative tools, that proved successful in preventing and reducing food loss and waste and practices targeting consumer behaviour. The latter was one of the most prominent topics of the conference, with the speakers from FAO, European Food Information Council, Ogilvy Consulting, WRAP, and World Resources Institute introducing the concept of behavioural science to design more impactful interventions at household level.

The speakers all agreed on the importance of data. This kind of evidence is sorely needed to inform strategy development, policy and decision-making to trigger and improve action on food loss and waste. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Türkiye and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of The Netherlands shared their comprehensive multi-disciplinary and multi-partner approaches to food loss and waste reduction, based on measuring food loss and waste and analysing the progress.

The audience also learnt from Copa-Cogeca, Danone, Glovo, Sodexo, Tetra Pak, Too Good To Go, WholeSurplus, and WUWM about the measures taken by private sector to drive the change, including adoption of new business models and practices, improvement of marketing strategies, and application of technological tools, such as product traceability, AI-based stock forecast and management solutions, intelligent labelling, food sharing and redistribution platforms.

The Conference was organised under the FAO-Türkiye Partnership Programme on Food and Agriculture funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.