29 September 2017, Signing of a Letter of Intent
EU-FAO to work closely together on Antimicrobial Resistance and Food Waste and Losses
On 29 September, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis and the Director-General of Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) José Graziano da Silva, signed a Letter of Intent on collaboration between the two organisations in tackling the problems of waste in food supply chains and antimicrobial resistance.
In the Letter of Intent, FAO and the EU pledge to work closely together to halve per capita food waste by 2030, a goal established under Agenda 2030 and captured in the Sustainable Development Goals. It also commits them to intensified cooperation on tackling the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) on farms and in food systems.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Rome, Commissioner V. Andriukaitis said: “Food loss and waste represent an unacceptable, unethical and immoral squandering of scarce resources and increase food insecurity, while AMR marks a grave societal and economic burden,” adding: “We are becoming more united, more efficient and more strategic in how we tackle these issues, and as such, this agreement should be celebrated.”
Calling AMR a global threat to humans and animals, José Graziano da Silva said: “FAO's vision is that antibiotics and other antimicrobials, should be only used to cure diseases and alleviate unnecessary suffering.” While in certain circumstances such treatments could be used to prevent an imminent infection, “in no circumstances should they be used for growth promotion,” he said. "European countries are making great progress in reducing the use of antimicrobials in agriculture. Their experiences can strongly support FAO's work, especially in promoting technical cooperation activities in developing countries," the FAO Director-General added. Noting that food loss and waste is linked to many aspects of sustainable development, Graziano da Silva cited the importance of strong partnerships like that between the FAO and the EU in addressing the problem.