Director General Qu,

Executive Director Andersen,

Excellencies,

I am delighted to join you to mark the first international day for awareness on food loss and waste.

We have come together in 2015 to proclaim the Sustainable Development goals. This includes the target to halve global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses.

Today, we must acknowledge that a lot of work remains to be done.

Around a third of the food produced across the globe is thrown away - while almost 690 million people are suffering from hunger.

There is no excuse for food waste.

It leaves the most vulnerable citizens exposed.

It is detrimental to the environment.

And it has huge economic cost.

We need to tackle this challenge together.

The European Union is doing its part by proclaiming the European Green Deal to address humanity’s defining challenge: to ensure a liveable planet for future generations.

As part of this effort, it was my honour to present earlier this year the Farm to Fork strategy to guide our transition to a sustainable, and fair, food system.

It includes the commitment to propose by 2023 legally binding targets to reduce food waste in the EU.

We have also developed guidelines on food donation and the safe reuse of food for animal feed.

The EU is ready to lead a global movement on food waste.

We already exchange information and experience with our partners - in particular on food waste measurement.

We are also closely involved in the development of a global Code of Conduct on Food Loss and Food Waste Prevention.

In this context, I am very grateful for the work of the FAO – and I look forward to a continuing our cooperation.

I also warmly welcome the launch of the new knowledge-sharing technical platform by the FAO and the United Nations’ Environment Programme.

This will help to raise awareness and find new solutions to tackle food waste.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The pandemic has highlighted the fragility of our systems and the inequalities in our societies.

The crisis must be a catalyst for change.

I call on all of us to come together.

We need to act now, with concrete commitments, and get on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Next years’ UN Food Systems Summit will be an important occasion to put tackling food loss and waste at the centre of our efforts to safeguard a fair, and sustainable food system for all.