The International Conference on Food Loss and Waste kicked off in Jinan, Shandong Province, on Sept. 10. Ji Bingxuan, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, attended the opening ceremony. He read a congratulatory letter from President Xi Jinping and delivered remarks. Tang Renjian, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Zhang Wufeng, member of the Party Group of the National Development and Reform Commission and Director of the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration, Liu Jiayi, Secretary of the CPC Shandong Provincial Committee, and Li Ganjie, Governor of Shandong Province, also participated and delivered remarks. Ma Youxiang, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, presided over the opening ceremony.
Ji pointed out that President Xi Jinping attached great importance to the conference. In his congratulatory letter, President Xi called for concerted efforts to reduce food loss and waste, and contribute to the goals of “zero hunger” and “no poverty.” Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, global food security is facing unprecedented pressure. Food loss and waste are a common challenge for all countries. This year, China passed the Anti-Food Waste Law, which regulates the behavior of consumers and the food service industry, saves resources, protects the environment, and promotes sustainable economic and social development. Many countries have also taken effective measures to tackle this common challenge. China hopes that more countries will get involved in reducing food loss and waste by strengthening cooperation and establishing regular work mechanisms.
Tang pointed out that food security is a eternal issue related to human survival and development. As the global demand for food is on the rise, it is increasingly difficult to increase crop acreage and yields with mounting environmental constraints like fresh water and frequent flare-ups of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, it calls for greater attention to the reduction of food loss and waste than ever before. China is ready to work with other countries to reduce food loss and waste, improve international cooperation mechanisms, deepen mutually beneficially S&T exchanges, push for infrastructure projects, and build multilateral platforms, so as to realize the 2030 goals of food loss and waste reduction .
Zhang said that reducing food loss and waste is a long-term task and a common concern for the international community. During the 14th Five-year Plan, China’s development and reform departments as well as food and strategic reserves nationwide will fully, accurately and comprehensively implement the new development philosophy. They will also fulfill their roles of planning guidance, macro management and economic coordination. In addition, they will adopt comprehensive measures, including food saving initiatives to reduce food loss and waste. By sharing experience and promoting international cooperation, China will join other countries to safeguard the global food security.
The ambassadors of 16 countries including Ireland to China, the Ministers of Agriculture from 24 countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, the Deputy Ministers of Agriculture of 6 countries including Japan and South Korea, heads of 6 international institutions including the Special Envoy to the 2021 Food Systems Summit, the Director General of the food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the EU Commissioner for Agriculture, and the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety addressed the meeting online and offline. They all agreed that the conference was timely and highly relevant and it demonstrated China’s confidence and determination in tackling food waste, and its sense of responsibility concerning global food security. They expressed a willingness to cooperate more closely with China toward the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the achievement of the goals of “zero hunger” and “no poverty”.
With the theme of “Reducing Food Loss and Waste for Global Food Security,” the conference offered a platform for G20 member countries, regional organizations, multinational companies and academia to discuss major issues such as global food loss, and waste-related challenges, cooperation, responsibilities, and governance. More than 300 representatives from relevant governments, well-known experts in the world food impairment academic community and relevant multinational enterprises attended the meeting online and offline. During the conference, the Jinan Initiative of the International Food Loss Conference and the Shandong Action Plan on Food Loss and Waste Reduction were issued.