26 September 2017
Rome Agencies Call for Zero Tolerance on Food Waste
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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During a High-level Event held on the margins of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly, the heads of FAO, IFAD, WFP and other partners have urged the international community to renew its commitment towards reducing food waste.

The event underlined the linkages between food waste, sustainable consumption and production (SDG 12) and achieving zero hunger (SDG 2), and other benefits such as reduced energy use.

FAO also entered a partnership with Unilever to support countries in reducing food loss and waste, increase resilience and fight climate change.

20 September 2017: Only one-quarter of the food wasted globally would be enough to end hunger. Reducing food waste by half, as called for by Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 12.3, would not only contribute to more sustainable production and consumption (SDG 12), but also go a long way in achieving zero hunger (SDG 2) and climate action (SDG 13).

To raise awareness of these linkages and boost collaboration to address food waste, participants to the High-Level Event ‘Championing 12.3 as a Pathway to Zero Hunger’ called on the global community to renew its commitment towards zero tolerance for food loss and waste. Organized on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, the event brought together high-level speakers, including the heads of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) to discuss measures and initiatives to advance the global agenda on reducing food waste.

“Investing in measures to prevent food loss and food waste also means making investments in pro-poor policies as it promotes sustainable food systems for a zero-hunger world” -FAO Director General Graziano da Silva

FAO Director-General Graziano da Silva outlined the economic benefits of reducing food waste, noting that food loss also represents a loss of labor, water, energy, land and other inputs. He said that “investing in measures to prevent food loss and food waste also means making investments in pro-poor policies as it promotes sustainable food systems for a zero-hunger world.”

Coinciding with the event, FAO and Unilever, an international consumer goods company, announced a deepening of their strategic partnership to support countries in reducing food loss and waste. The partners have agreed to pursue interventions in five strategic areas, including digital innovation, land governance, resilience building for smallholder farmers, reducing food loss and food waste, and climate change in support of achieving the SDGs. Building on an existing initiative in Argentina, FAO and Unilever will work to scale up interventions globally, including joint awareness raising campaigns and actions to engage governments, civil society and the private sector. Unilever will also continue taking action towards achieving its internal commitment to halve food waste from its operations by 2025.

The High-level event was sponsored by FAO, IFAD, WFP, Rockefeller Foundation, The German G20 Presidency and Champions 12.3. Champions 12.3 is a coalition of executives from governments, businesses, international organizations, research institutions, farmer groups, and civil society dedicated to inspiring ambition, mobilizing action, and accelerating progress toward achieving SDG Target 12.3.

Food loss and food waste was also discussed at a recent ‘Food Tank Summit’ held on 13 September, in New York City, US. Organized by FoodTank, ReFED, Rockefeller Foundation and other partners, the event brought together food system leaders from business, nonprofit organizations, foundations and governments to discuss “how to stop food waste once and for all.” A recorded live stream of the event is available on the Food Tank website.[FAO Press Release. 20 September 2017. High-level Event][FAO Press Release. 19 September 2017. Unilever Partnership][FAO Press Release. 23 March 2017. Argentina Initiative (in Spanish)][FAO Work on Food Loss and Waste][Save Food: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction][Champions 12.3 Website][FoodTank Summit Webcast]

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