International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste: Time for collective action
- FAO, UNEP and their partners urged everyone to do more to reduce food loss and waste or risk an even greater drop in food security and natural resources.
Ankara, Turkey – The topic of food loss and waste has received broad coverage in recent years, but the subject is now reaching an even wider audience due to the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic has resulted in a significant increase in food loss and waste, with high levels of losses occurring in perishable agricultural produce and products along the supply chain, due to restrictions on movement.
Some 690 million people today are hungry and 3 billion cannot afford a healthy diet. Hunger has been on the rise since 2014, and the COVID-19 pandemic is threatening the food and nutrition security of up to an additional 132 million people.
In the light of these developments, the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste underlines the need to rethink how we produce, consume and waste our food.
The slogan “Stop food loss and waste. For the people. For the planet” highlighted the increase in food insecurity and diminishing natural resources, and urged everyone to do more to reduce food loss and waste.
A regional initiative aiming to reduce food loss and waste in Turkey and Central Asia continues at full speed
The global was launched on 29 September at FAO headquarters with a high-level digital event. The Directors-General of FAO and UNEP delivered keynote addresses, which were followed by panel discussions on food loss and waste and sustainability, and innovation.
Speaking at the first panel discussion, Bekir Pakdemirli, the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Turkey, outlined Turkey’s national and regional efforts to reduce food loss and waste as follows:
“We kicked off a regional initiative to reduce food loss and waste in Turkey and Central Asia through the FAO-Turkey Partnership Programme on Food and Agriculture. Moreover, in last May, we launched a national “SAVE YOUR FOOD” campaign and released the “National Strategy and Action Plan on the Prevention and Reduction of Food Loss and Waste” in Turkey, developed in collaboration with FAO. We aim to continue our efforts to reduce food loss and waste through raising public awareness and disseminating good practices at both national and regional level.”
In Turkey, FAO celebrated the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste through a dedicated digital platform with several stakeholders, including the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Directorate for EU Affairs, the US Embassy, the UK Embassy, the UNRC Office, the UN Information Center, UNDP Turkey, UNV Turkey, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality, the Union of Municipalities of Turkey, the Agricultural Credit Cooperatives of Turkey, Impact Hub Istanbul, Corporate Social Responsibility Turkey, IDEMA, Ülker, Yıldız Holding, Migros, the Food Rescue Association, Mikado Consulting, the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), the Basic Needs Association, the Business Council for Sustainable Development Turkey, the Kök Projekt and EKO IQ Magazine.
The digital celebrations reached more than 17 million users, eliciting broad discussion on the topic and generating feedback from across the country.
“No action can be truly transformative and efficient if it fails to be collective.”
FAO called for both public and private support to reinforce efforts to stem mounting food shortages.
Speaking to the Anadolu Agency, Viorel Gutu, Subregional Coordinator for Central Asia and FAO Representative in Turkey, emphasized that no action can be truly transformative and efficient if it fails. Gutu noted that in establishing the Save Food Global Initiative, FAO had sought to encourage dialogue between industry, research, governments and civil society. He explained that under the initiative, the organization is implementing multiple research, capacity-building and awareness activities and projects across Europe and Central Asia.
“When food is lost or wasted, all the resources that were used to produce it go to waste as well.”
Participating in live broadcasts all day long, Ayşegül Selışık, Assistant Representative of FAO Turkey, stressed that when food is lost or wasted, all the resources that were used to produce it – including water, land, energy, labour and capital – go to waste as well. Nearly 14% of the food produced for consumption globally each year is lost even before it reaches the wholesale market, Selışık continued as follows:
“This lost food is associated with approximately 1.5 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent. Additionally, the food waste in landfills causes an increase in GHG emissions, further exacerbating the climate crisis. Taking all these facts into consideration, we decided that our theme for this year should be “Stop food loss and waste. For the people. For the planet”.
“More people will go hungry if we do not take collective action to reduce food loss and waste.”
FAO supporter Dilara Koçak called on her colleagues to take action to inform the public about food loss and waste, emphasizing that we cannot talk about a healthy diet on a planet where the soil and water are sick.
Sharing information on the impacts of food waste for the planet through her social media platforms throughout the week, Koçak stressed that more people will go hungry if we do not take collective action to reduce food loss and waste.
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