Local and global meat and livestock sector discussions inform the UN Food Systems Summit

// International Trade

In the lead up to the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), the New Zealand meat industry engaged with the New Zealand Government and New Zealand agriculture groups to ensure the complexity of our livestock systems was accounted for in global discussions around food systems.

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Engaging with the NZ Government and local agricultural groups

In the lead up to the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), the New Zealand meat industry engaged with the New Zealand Government and New Zealand agriculture groups to ensure the complexity of our livestock systems was accounted for in global discussions around food systems.

“We engaged strongly with the Government and other agricultural organisations locally to explore our role in healthy, sustainable food systems, ahead of the important discussions with the global meat and livestock sector,” says Fiona Windle, Head of Nutrition at Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Incorporated.

The government ran three ‘dialogues’ focussed on participant discussion around what a sustainable food system could look like for New Zealand. A range of people from different organisaitons attended these dialogues and discussed a range of issues including environmental sustainability, New Zealand’s role in the international food system, food waste, indigenous participation and nutrition. 

B+LNZ, as well as other agricultural organisations such as DairyNZ and Federated Farmers participated, with positions focussed on explaining the good work that is already being done by New Zealand farmers, the importance of our food production to rural communities and providing nutrition globally, and current programmes and initiatives that are related to our food system such as farm planning and He Waka Eke Noa.  

Global meat and livestock sector discussions and outcomes

These local discussions then informed the New Zealand Government’s position and involvement in the global meat and livestock sector’s recent meetings to help leverage a united global narrative ahead of the Summit.

These discussions involved over 132 delegates, organisations and industry representatives from across the globe and included people from across the meat and livestock sector and supply chain from smallholder farmers, processors, and butchers, to Government policymakers.

The discussion centered around UNFSS Action Tracks and topics included food security, the role of meat in the diet and implications without it, existing food production systems, future-proofing food production systems, and maintaining “a balanced debate and inclusive narratives”.

You can hear Minister Damien O’Connor’s New Zealand Pre-Summit address here that outlines the priorities from a New Zealand Government perspective.

Read the 2021 Summit dialogues outcomes.

“Here at Beef + Lamb New Zealand, we, along with the global meat sector support the Summit’s goals to review global food production with an aim to making it more healthy and sustainable. We believe New Zealand’s pastoral raised, grass-fed systems can be a model for other food systems, including those of developing countries to enhance efficiencies and progress better sustainability outcomes,” says Nick Jolly, B+LNZ’s Trade Policy Advisor. 

“An example of our commitments around greenhouse gas emissions is He Waka Eke Noa, a partnership between Māori, government, and the primary industry.

“We recently launched B+LNZ’s Greenhouse Gas Calculator, which is one of many tools within the NZ Farm Assurance Programme that is practical and simple for farmers, rewards positive change and supports the sector to reduce emissions and maintain or increase sequestration,” says Nick.

NZ’s focus for the UN Food Systems Summit

The focus of the global meat and livestock sector discussions was on generating pathways and outcomes to implement urgent change to reach the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Two key areas where New Zealand has expertise and experience were identified to be presented to the UNFSS along with several current initiatives. 

A key food systems priority for New Zealand at the Summit is to raise global ambition to tackle agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. We recognise that through international collaboration we can greatly amplify the role of our small country in achieving global climate goals. New Zealand is currently the only country that has a plan to address and manage agricultural emissions. 

We have already demonstrated how this can be done with a 30 percent reduction in emissions since 1990 and our emissions per kilo of product around half of the global average. 

In addition, New Zealand is prioritising the need for Summit outcomes to reflect the importance of indigenous knowledge, participation, and leadership in the many aspects of food systems. For New Zealand this means promoting the significant role of Māori in New Zealand’s food sectors and the growth of Māori agribusiness. It also means acknowledging and addressing the challenges we are yet to overcome, such as working to find practical solutions that remove barriers to Māori success and leadership, and improving the government’s partnership approach to decision making with Māori on food systems.

“B+LNZ looks forward to supporting the New Zealand Government with these priorities and working with international partners to share knowledge,” says Nick. 

The outcome report states, “The meat and livestock sector is united in its ambition to bring high quality, nutritious and sustainable food to everyone and is continuously driving towards a carbon positive farming industry with high animal welfare and environmental standards at its heart.”

For more information, read the official report here

UN Food Systems Summit outcome predictions

The UNFSS took place Thursday, 23 September in New York and we will provide information on the outcomes shortly.

“Despite initial concerns regarding the potential for the Summit’s outcomes to negatively impact livestock production, it now looks much more likely that the Summit outcomes will not result in extreme change, but will provide recommendations and support for livestock production to be done more sustainably,” says Nick.  

“A range of coalitions of action will be established at the Summit encouraging the various member states to join and report back on with the next few years, including one on sustainable livestock production, which is been driven by the World Farmers’ Organisation, and liaison is being organised between them and ourselves (B+LNZ, the Meat Industry Association and Federated Farmers) about the likelihood of the New Zealand Government joining this coalition,” he says. 

About the UN Food Systems Summit and more information