Agricultural Ministers Call for Action on Sustainable Livestock Production for SDG Implementation
Peter Luethi, Biovision Foundation
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The tenth Global Forum for Food and Agriculture convened under the theme, 'Shaping the Future of Livestock - Sustainably, Responsibly, Efficiently'.

Ministers adopted a Call for Action towards strengthening the role of livestock in, among others, ensuring food security, improving livelihoods, and addressing climate change.

On the sidelines, ILRI organized an Expert Forum on opportunities to increase the efficiency of livestock production while reducing GHG emissions.

The UNEP-DTU Partnership released a Low Carbon Development Strategy for the Nicaraguan Livestock Sector.

20 January 2018: Agricultural Ministers and representatives of international organizations participating in the tenth Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) stressed the need for action towards more sustainable, responsible and efficient livestock production and animal husbandry to address global challenges, including SDG 2 (Zero Hunger); SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being); and SDG 13 (Climate Action).

In their final communique, the 69 agricultural ministers attending the Forum recognize that making livestock production and animal husbandry more sustainable, responsible and efficient will play a crucial role in in advancing the right to adequate food and implementing the 2030 Agenda. The Communique includes a ‘Call for Action,’ outlining targets,commitments and actions towards strengthening the role of livestock in: ensuring food security and nutrition; improving livelihoods; conserving natural resources, protecting the environment and addressing climate change; and improving animal health and animal welfare.

Ministers’ Call for Action

On food security and nutrition, ministers aim to, among other actions: develop policies for more efficient, and sustainable livestock production systems; improve access to food of animal origin for low-income households; and expand research and knowledge creation and transfer to develop alternative sources of protein to feed people and animals. On improving livelihoods, the Communique stresses: the need for responsible investment in the livestock sector; strengthening the position of farmers and workers along value chains; and equal access to education and training as well as land and natural resources.

With regard to climate change and natural resources, the document recognizes the contribution of the livestock sector to global GHG emissions, underlining that improvements in the sector could both reduce emissions and improve food security. Ministers aim to, among other actions: promote sustainable and resource-efficient livestock production and phase out unsustainable policies and practices; reduce GHG emissions by making livestock production more efficient, including by integrating livestock into the circular bio-economy; promoting adaptation to climate change and regionally adapted agricultural value chains; and conserving and sustainably using animal genetic diversity.

On improving animal health and animal welfare, ministers highlight actions such as: promoting access to veterinary services; combating the spread of anti-microbial resistance, including through restricting the use of antibiotics to therapeutic uses; and strengthening international collaboration on national and cross-border control of animal disease.

The tenth GFFA was held from 18-20 January 2018, in Berlin, Germany. [GFFA Homepage] [Press Release of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)] [GFFA Final Communiqué] [FAO Press Release]

Practical Experiences and Strategies for Sustainable Livestock

On the sidelines of GFFA, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), in collaboration with partners, organized an expert forum titled ‘Sustainable Solutions for the Livestock sector: The Time is Ripe!’ Participants presented on opportunities that could significantly increase the efficiency of livestock production in developing countries by simultaneously reducing GHG emissions, improving livelihoods and contributing to improved food security. ILRI is a member of the CGIAR System Organization. [ILRI Blog Post]

In related news, the partnership between the UN Environment Organization and the Technical University of Denmark (UNEP-DTU) released a report titled, ‘Low Carbon Development Strategy for the Nicaraguan Livestock Sector.’ The Strategy aims to support sustainable growth of livestock production in Nicaragua while achieving reductions in GHG emissions. It promotes good practices, such as paddock management, manure management, and production and use of bio-fertilizers, that could transform livestock production into a carbon sink and achieve benefits for other SDGs. [UNEP-DTU Press Release] [Low Carbon Development Strategy for the Nicaraguan Livestock Sector]

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