On August 19, Taiwan and Vietnam jointly held the “APEC Capacity Building Workshop on Food Losses and Waste (FLW) Reduction for a Sustainable APEC Food System” in Can Tho, Vietnam. The hosts invited government officials, scholars and experts, and private sectors from APEC economies, as well as representatives of the World Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme (more than 60 people attended). They discussed methodologies for measuring reduction of food losses in the Asia-Pacific region, best practices in the practical implementation of public-private partnerships to reduce food losses and waste, and keys to policy-making and implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The workshop was strongly affirmed by APEC economies, and relevant suggestions will serve as reference for policy making in these countries, in order to promote Asia-Pacific regional food security.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that around 1.3 billion tons or one-third of the food produced globally for human consumption has been wasted each year. An APEC research project on food loss and waste shows that about 26.7% of total productions, or 670 million tons of food, was wasted in the APEC region in 2011, and that about 60% of the food losses and 40% of the waste occurred during the stages of retail and consumption. The total amount of the food wasted could support 800 million people who are below the poverty line in the world for whole year.
The Council of Agriculture (COA) states that this workshop was one of the important activities of Taiwan’s multi-year project reducing food losses and also was a spotlight of APEC Food Security Week. In order to address the problem of food losses and waste in the Asia-Pacific region, in 2013 APEC adopted a multi-year project proposed by Taiwan called “Strengthening Public-Private Partnership to Reduce Food Losses in the Supply Chain.” This was the first agricultural multi-year project to be funded by APEC. The hope was, through systematic exploration of losses and waste in the food chain for grains, vegetables and fruit, and fishery and livestock, as well as at the retail and consumer levels, to collect information on member ecnomies’ best practices, to develop methods of measurement and response policies, and moreover to construct a food losses and waste toolkit, for reference by the public and private sectors in all APEC economies.
Besides sharing the outcomes of the “2017 APEC Expert Consultation on Food Losses and Waste Reduction” held in Taipei in June, this workshop drew conclusions and made recommendations regarding the framework for the guideline for reducing food losses and waste in the Asia-Pacific region, best practices for public-private cooperation to realize reductions in food losses and waste, and how to implement and achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 regarding reducing food losses and waste, including the challenges of responding to climate change and urban and rural development. Each APEC economies should bring food losses and waste reduction in policy priorities in food security by setting concrete goals and relevant action plans. Meanwhile, it is needed to raise public awareness of the importance of reducing food losses and waste as well as provide incentives to mobilize all stakeholders to establish comprehensive public-private partnerships, in order to reach the APEC 2020 goal of reducing food losses and waste by 10%.
The COA emphasizes that food security is one of the important issues at APEC activities hosted by Vietnam this year. The APEC Secretariat and economies gave strong affirmation to Taiwan’s holding of this workshop. The suggestions made at the meeting will be provided for reference in policy-making to all APEC members, and the meeting demonstrates Taiwan’s contributions to encouraging Asia-Pacific regional food security.
Representatives of APEC economies participate in the APEC Capacity Building Workshop on Food Losses and Waste (FLW) Reduction for a Sustainable APEC Food System