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International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste

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Between 691 and 783 million people faced hunger in 2022, with a mid-range of 735 million (FAO, 2023). While hunger and food security continue, an estimated 13 percent of the world’s food is lost in the supply chain from post-harvest prior to retail (FAO, 2022); a further 17 percent of food is wasted in households, food services and in retail (UNEP, 2021).

Currently, many of the world’s agrifood systems are unsustainable, as they degrade agricultural land, contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and loss of biodiversity and consume groundwater. Food systems are also vulnerable to external climate and other shocks, partly because of the impact on the environment.

Reducing food loss and waste can play a key role in the transformation of agrifood systems by increasing the availability of food, contributing to food security, healthy diets, and building resilience. Food loss and food waste reduction also serves as a key climate strategy by reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).  It can therefore help countries and businesses to raise climate ambition, while conserving and protecting our ecosystems and natural resources upon which the future of food depends.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – specifically SDG 12, target 12.3 – calls for halving per-capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reducing food losses along production and supply chains. Target 16 of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) among other issues, also calls for “halving global food waste by 2030.”

Accelerating the pace of actions to reduce FLW toward meeting the SDG 12.3 target, and the target set by the GBF for food waste reduction is a dire necessity to positively impact the pace of agrifood system transformation – with tangible benefits for people and planet.

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