EUABOUT ATTENDS… 10th meeting of the EU PLATFORM ON FOOD LOSSES AND FOOD WASTE

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On March 18, the 10th meeting of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste took place in live streaming.

The main aim of the meeting was to discuss the recent developments in food loss and waste prevention across the EU, along with the discussion on the re-establishment of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste for a new mandate by 2022.

The Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides opened the meeting. According to the Commissioner, as the world continues to deal with an unprecedented health crisis, the EU is focusing its efforts to deliver a green and sustainable recovery through the European Green Deal. Consequently, tackling food loss and waste is crucial in order to achieve a sustainable food system, thus Member States and businesses should integrate these types of actions in their recovery plans. 

During the first session of the meeting, some EC officers provided an update on the main actions to reduce food waste. In this regard, the EU Commission presented the Farm to Fork Strategy. As part of the European Green Deal, the Farm to Fork Strategy aims to make the food system fair, healthy and environmental-friendly. According to the EC it is necessary to redesign our food systems, which today account for nearly one-third of global GHG emissions, consume large amounts of natural resources, resulting in biodiversity loss and negative health impacts. A proposal for a legislative framework for sustainable food systems will be put forward to support the implementation of the strategy and the development of sustainable food policy.

Representatives of EU Member States from Lithuania, Croatia and Germany, intervened and each one explained their national food waste prevention plans and also underlined the role played by the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste in supporting their initiatives. In recent years, Lithuania, Croatia and Germany revised their legislation and facilitated the transfer of surplus food to charity and the improvement of food waste management. In addition, they pointed out their efforts to raise awareness on the issue, concluding voluntary agreements on food waste reduction and to invest in research and innovation for a food waste prevention model.

The second session of the meeting opened with the explanation of the FAO code of conduct by Divine Nije, Deputy Director, Food Systems and Food Safety. The development of the code started in 2018 with the raise of global and regional consultations (Africa, Latin America and Caribbean). The document is divided in six articles and it is aimed to facilitate joint actions and implement food reduction, thus enabling governments to monitor and integrate the guidelines in the code in their policies.

This intervention was followed by a speech on the measurement in support of food waste policy introduced by Danielle Kretz, Coordinator for “Sustainable Food” of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. She stressed on the concept of measurement, which focuses on the impact that food waste has on food supply chain. Therefore, stakeholders and firms ought to measure the total waste of food and reduce their consumption on the baseline measurements.

Then it was the turn of Clementine O’Connor (Programme Officer, Sustainable Food Systems, United Nations Environment Programme - UNEP), who took the floor to present the food waste index developed by UNEP, which is divided into three levels, including the data collection, the direct measurement and the prevention strategy of food waste, with the objective to achieve the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) target 12.3 of the Food Waste index by 2030, that is to ensure sustainable consumption at the consumer levels and reduce food losses.

The concluding remarks of this meeting have seen Angelo Salsi (Head of Unit, LIFE & CIP eco-innovation, Executive Agency for SMEs - EASME) and Guido Lena (Director for Sustainable Development, SMEunited), describing the activity of the LIFE Programme, funding a series of projects aimed at food waste reduction and prevention, as LIFE has invested nearly € 90 million in over 50 projects supported by SMEs, NGOs, research institutions and public authorities in Finland, Greece, and Great Britain. LIFE programme’s collaboration with SMEunited, as underlined by the Director, is aimed at encouraging SMEs to integrate food waste prevention practices, thus becoming green and more sustainable.

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