ITC joins forces for the United Nations’ Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction
The International Trade Centre (ITC) has joined a number of United Nations agencies to establish a global partnership of public and private-sector organizations that are active in the fight against food loss and waste. The partnership was set up at a meeting in Rome on 20 September 2013, and is in response to the SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction, launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Messe Düsseldorf in 2011. The SAVE FOOD initiative is part of the United Nations’ Zero Hunger Challenge.
Roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year – approximately 1.3 billion tons – is lost or wasted. Food losses and waste amounts to roughly US$ 680 billion in industrialized countries and US$ 310 billion in developing countries.
The Rome meeting, which focused on food loss and waste reduction, was attended by representatives from United Nations agencies, multilateral agencies and private institutions. It was organized by the FAO in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
The objective of the meeting was to discuss the creation of a network of United Nations organizations, which will be a subgroup of the United Nations High Level Task Force on the Zero Hunger Challenge, to promote collaboration, information exchange and coordination of their food-loss and waste-reduction activities. Presentations were made on activities being carried out by United Nations agencies and other institutions in support of the ‘Zero loss or waste of food’ element of the Zero Hunger Challenge.
Kofi Essuman, ITC’s Senior Adviser Export Value Chain, said: 'The high level of food loss, especially in developing countries where hunger is rife, is unacceptable. This is due to challenges such as infrastructure, storage, transportation, processing, packaging and marketing along the food value chain. Over the years, ITC has been involved in capacity building and advisory services in packaging, export quality and supply chain management to strengthen institutions in developing countries to be efficient and effective in reducing food loss and waste. The formation of this working group on zero loss and waste of food is welcome and ITC will collaborate with other UN and multilateral agencies to achieve its goals.'
Participants at the meeting were urged to consolidate the progress that’s already been made through the introduction of appropriate technologies in handling raw materials, processing to add value, and eliminating spoilage and wastage during transport, on supermarket shelves and in homes.