World Wastes 1 billion Meals a Day: UN Report


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What’s in Today’s Article?

  • Why in the News?
  • About Food Waste Index Report
  • Key Highlights of the Food Waste Index Report 2024
  • About United Nations Environment Programme
  • Six Areas of Concentration of the UNEP
  • Governing Body of the UNEP

Why in News?

Households across the globe wasted over one billion meals a day in 2022, according to the Food Waste Index Report 2024.

About Food Waste Index Report

  • Started in 2021, the Food Waste Index measures food waste at retail and consumer level (households and food service).
  • It is jointly authored by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), a U.K.-based non-profit.
  • Objective: To catalyze essential action towards reducing food waste and achieving UN’s Sustainable Developmental Goal (SDG 12.3).
    • SDG 12 seeks to “ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.”
    • Target 12.3 calls for cutting in half per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level, and reducing food losses along production and supply chains (including post-harvest losses) by 2030.
  • The report defines food waste as food and the associated inedible parts removed from the human food supply chain.

Key Highlights of the Food Waste Index Report 2024

  • In 2022, the world wasted 1.05 billion tonnes of food.
    • This amounts to one fifth (19 per cent) of food available to consumers being wasted, at the retail, food service, and household level.
    • That is in addition to the 13 per cent of the world’s food lost in the supply chain, as estimated by FAO, from post-harvest up to and excluding retail.
  • Most of the world’s food waste comes from households.
    • Out of the total food wasted in 2022, households were responsible for 631 million tonnes equivalent to 60 percent, the food service sector for 290 and the retail sector for 131.
  • Households waste at least one billion meals a day.
    • On average, each person wastes 79kg of food annually.
    • The equivalent of at least one billion meals of edible food is being wasted in households worldwide every single day, using a very conservative assessment on the share of food waste that is edible.
  • Temperature and Food Waste Correlation.
    • Hotter countries appear to have more food waste per capita in households, potentially due to increased consumption of fresh foods with substantial inedible parts and lack of robust cold chain.
  • Urban-Rural Disparities.
    • Middle-income countries display variations between urban and rural populations, with rural areas generally wasting less.
    • Possible explanations include greater diversion of food scraps to pets, animal feed, and home composting in rural areas.
    • The report recommends focusing efforts to strengthen food waste reduction and circularity in cities.
  • G20 Role in Food Waste Reduction.
    • Only four G20 countries (Australia, Japan, UK, and USA) and the European Union have food waste estimates suitable for tracking progress to 2030.
    • An additional two G20 countries have suitable household estimates (Canada, Saudi Arabia), with Brazil’s estimate expected late 2024.
  • Food waste must be addressed at both individual and systemic levels, including targeted efforts in urban areas and international collaboration among countries and across supply chains.

United Nations Environment Programme

  • The UNEP was established in 1972 at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, popularly known as the Stockholm Conference, as it was held in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Objective:
    • To provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
  • It uses its expertise to strengthen environmental standards and practices while helping implement environmental obligations at the country, regional and global levels.
  • Six Areas of Concentration
    • UNEP re-organised its work programme into six strategic areas as part of its move to results-based management.
      • Climate Change
      • Post-Conflict and Disaster Management
      • Ecosystem Management
      • Environmental Governance:
      • Harmful Substances - UNEP strives to minimise the impact of harmful substances and hazardous waste on the environment and human beings.
      • Resource Efficiency/Sustainable Consumption and Production:
  • Governing Body
    • The UN Environment Assembly is the governing body of the UNEP.
    • It was created in 2012 to replace the governing council.
    • It currently has 193 members and meets every two years.
    • Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya

Q1) Who publishes Global Hunger Index?

The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a peer-reviewed report, published on an annual basis by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe. The GHI is a tool designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at global, regional, and national levels, reflecting multiple dimensions of hunger over time.

Q2) What is the difference between malnutrition and malnourishment?

Malnutrition is an imbalance between the nutrients your body needs to function and the nutrients it gets. It can mean undernutrition or overnutrition. You can be malnourished from an overall lack of calories, or you might have a protein, vitamin or mineral deficiency.

Source: World wastes 1 billion meals a day, says U.N. report | UNEP