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Working Party on Agricultural Quality Standards (WP.7)

Introduction

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The standards encourage high-quality production, improve profitability and protect consumer interests. UNECE standards are used internationally by Governments, producers, traders, importers, exporters and international organizations. They cover a wide spectrum of agricultural products: fresh fruit and vegetables (FFV), dry and dried produce (DDP), seed potatoes, meat, cut flowers, eggs and egg products. You can download the standards cost free from this website and use them free of charge.
 

In focus

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Currently a third of all food produced is lost or wasted - around 14 percent between harvest and retail, and another 17 percent at household, food service and retail levels. This means that the resources used to produce it - water, land, fossil fuels, and labour – go wasted. It means that large tracts of land, around 25% of world’s fresh water supply, and 8-10% of greenhouse gas emissions are used to grow food that ends up being discarded. All this is happening while over 820 million people around the world suffer from hunger.   

To ensure sustainable food systems, improve food security for a growing world population, bridge the gap between overproduction and hunger, and combat climate change, water scarcity and soil degradation, we need to maximize the use of the food we produce.

Here are some things you can do.

    Food systems

    Transforming our food systems is a task that transcends many policy fields - from agriculture and trade to water and energy. As noted by the UNECE Executive Secretary in her recent blog, the food choices we make every day as consumers and producers of food are having a large impact on our environment, human health, societies, and climate change.

    In connection with the United Nations Food Systems Summit, held virtually on 23 September 2021 during the UN General Assembly High-level Week, United Nations regional commissions launched a  joint policy brief entitled “Transforming Food Systems”, outlining the importance of regional collaboration in ensuring more sustainable food systems. Watch a video on the Brief.

    Roundtable Circular Economy - Fostering Circularity in Food Trade

    At its sixty-ninth session the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) committed to step up efforts to promote circular economy approaches and the sustainable use of natural resources by mainstreaming circularity and the sustainable use of natural resources in existing relevant UNECE work.

    Held on the side-lines of the 76th session of the UNECE Working Party on Agricultural Quality Standards, as part of a UNECE project on Accelerating the transition towards a Circular Economy in the UNECE region, the aim of the roundtable is to explore the links between circular economy and agri-food production, trade, and standards, including in relation to food loss and waste. The tentative programme can be found here.

    The roundtable is part of a UNECE led multi-agency project on Accelerating the transition towards a Circular Economy (2021-2024), which will help member States harness the power of trade and economic cooperation in their circular economy transition through interventions in three areas: traceability of supply chains, innovation-enhancing procurement, and the management of waste, including food loss and waste.