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Exchange of experience on food losses and waste in the Mediterranean region

In cooperation with Italy, the 5th regional workshop in the framework of the Thünen-coordinated MACS-G20 initiative against food waste took place online.

© Benjamin Golub

Family photo from virtual workshop.

After a hybrid format in 2020 in cooperation with Saudi Arabia, this year's regional workshop on food losses and waste was organised completely virtually. The workshop is part of the Thünen-coordinated Collaboration Initiative Food Losses and Waste of the „Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists of G20 States“ (MACS-G20). In June 2017, experts from the G20 countries were invited to Berlin, as Germany held the presidency of the G20. In November 2018, the „Regional Dialogue on Food Loss and Waste: Latin American solutions and initiatives” was held in Buenos Aires (Argentina). Experts met in Tokyo (Japan) for the "International Workshop on Food Loss and Waste Prevention targeting Southeast and East Asian region” in October 2019.

Due to the G20 Presidency, we have sought our cooperation partners for the organisation of the 2021 event mainly in Italy, expanding the target region for outreach to all Mediterranean countries. Our proven cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was complemented with committed colleagues from the University of Bologna (Italy), the University of Tuscia (Italy) and the consultancy RSC talent from Spain.

In addition to networking in the region, the aim of the workshop was also to identify common challenges and good examples from practice. On November 4th, 2021, a total of 90 participants from 27 countries discussed the pre-selected focal points of losses in primary production, food waste from tourism and educational offers for different target groups. The participants represented ministries, universities and other private and public research institutions, social institutions, international organisations, consultants, waste management companies, regional authorities and food companies.

Due to the corona-related online format, we unfortunately had to do without a subject-specific excursion. Nevertheless, as usual, we placed special emphasis on an active discussion between the participants in order to promote the exchange of experiences.

Each of the three focal points was introduced with three short keynote presentations from the different regions of the Mediterranean. With examples from Spain and North Africa, the speakers in the first part presented measurable economic, social and environmental impacts that could be achieved with the reduction of food losses in agriculture. The second part started with how surpluses from cruise ships can be used for the socially needy. Afterwards, a representative from Greece reported on her experiences with the conversion of tourism waste into animal feed. The thematic focus on tourism was concluded with the measurement of food waste in all-inclusive hotel facilities in Turkey.

At the beginning of the third workshop part, information was provided on teaching and learning materials for schools of the "Do Good: Save Food!" campaign. A Tunisian contribution explained how an online campaign against food waste in university canteens was perceived by guests. And finally, there was a presentation on avoiding bread waste and turning it into animal feed - the focus of an awareness-raising campaign for households and businesses from the Palestinian Autonomous Territories.

In the small groups that followed, the participants contributed their own expertise on selected key issues. We would like to thank all participants for their valuable contributions.

More information on the workshop and its results can be found here.

The next regional workshop on food loss and waste is planned in 2022 in cooperation with Indonesia.


Contact persons:

Stefan Lange, Thünen research coordinator
Felicitas Schneider, Thünen Institute of Market analysis

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