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Chair’s Note on the Informal Virtual Consultations of the Working Party on Agricultural Quality Standards

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The Working Party on Agricultural Quality Standards held its Informal Virtual Consultations on 16 and 17 November 2020.

The meeting was chaired by Ms. Agnieszka Sudol, Chairperson of the Working Party on Agricultural Quality Standards (WP.7). 

The Chief of the Market Access Section of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Mr. Mika Vepsäläinen, welcomed the delegates to the Informal Virtual Consultations. He thanked all panellists and the secretariat for the organization of the Roundtable on Food for Partnerships - Sustainable, Resilient and Climate-proof Food Supply Chains on 16 November 2020 which had highlighted the complexity of food lost along the supply chain from farm to fork.  He also stressed that the deliberations had shown that food loss and waste reduction strategies required close collaboration between the public and the private sector. He highlighted how FeedUP@UN could enhance the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and encouraged delegations to inform their national partners about tests and pilot use of the tool. 

He expressed his gratitude towards all delegations for their support of the work of UNECE in these challenging times and commended the Working Party’s Specialized Sections for their achievements in 2020. All their sessions had been held, standards and guides had been revised and adopted, and new areas of work had been discussed. 

He also informed delegations that the UNECE had joined the United Nations Issuebased Coalition (IBC) on Sustainable Food Systems to support the United Nations country teams and Resident Coordinators during the current crisis and the recovery phase. Discussions were under way on how the UNECE via the IBC could contribute to the United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021. He stressed that while these times called for better crisis response, recovery and resilience building, in the long run, sustainable food systems with all their dimensions (economic, social and environmental) needed to be integrated into national and international food policy agendas.