Priorities decided at Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock meeting

The global livestock sector set out priorities that will help optimise livestock’s social, economic and health benefits while balancing its environmental impact at this year’s annual Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock (GASL) meeting
calendar icon 14 June 2018
clock icon 4 minute read

The five-day flagship event, which convenes organisations from across the livestock sector, set out four key areas where livestock’s potential could be more effectively leveraged to support global development.

The global livestock sector set out priorities that will help optimise livestock’s social, economic and health benefits while balancing its environmental impact at this year’s annual Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock (GASL) meeting

The livestock sector is under pressure from drivers of demand such as a rising population as well as greater scrutiny over efficiency and sustainability. The Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock has identified four key areas for its Action Plan 2019-2021 that will be implemented by its partner clusters, action networks and other supporting organisations:

Food and nutrition security: for example, by raising awareness that micronutrient deficiencies affecting more than two billion people globally can be addressed with animal-source foods;

Livelihoods and economic growth: acknowledging an estimated one billion people worldwide rely on livestock for livelihoods and income, for instance;

Health and animal welfare: for example, by demonstrating to policymakers that every dollar invested in tackling diseases of animal origin generates an estimated five dollars’ worth of benefits;

Climate and natural resources: livestock can make use of two thirds of the world’s arable land, which is unsuitable for cropping, while reducing livestock’s carbon “hoofprint”, for instance.

“Poverty and hunger eradication are among the greatest global challenges facing the world today and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development,” said Fritz Schneider, Chair of GASL.

“The livestock sector must move in the right direction to achieve this balance of becoming ever more productive and sustainable at the same time.”

Host country Mongolia used the meeting to showcase its plans for new laws, regulations and policies to support its nomadic herders as part of an ambitious drive to make its livestock sector more sustainable and prepared for export opportunities.

The government is targeting a 495 percent increase in the amount of beef processed in formal markets between 2015 to 2020, from 16,800 tonnes in 2015 to 100,000 tonnes. It is also aiming for agriculture to contribute 20 per cent of the country’s GDP by 2025.

Among the initiatives presented at the meeting was a draft rangeland protection law to help herders reverse the effects of overgrazing from the country’s 66 million animals.

Government officials also highlighted efforts to improve animal health services and environmental practices to boost productivity and ensure its meat, milk and cashmere meet international standards.

Officials and researchers convened to discuss the challenges and opportunities in maintaining our livestock herds in a more sustainable and environmentally conscious way.

“For Mongolia, working with people from other countries, such as at the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock meeting, helps us to grow our exports,” said Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh, Prime Minister of Mongolia.

“Developing the agriculture industry helps the government to support herders, and to teach people to use natural resources effectively.”

Elsewhere, a new report reinforced the poverty reduction benefits of investing in the global dairy sector. An extensive review of research found that in all household-level studies, owning a dairy cow or improving dairy production had a substantial positive impact on poverty reduction. This included increasing household income by up to 600 per cent, increasing milk consumption and nutrition by up to 900 per cent, and generating more employment opportunities.

“Dairy has the power to provide a major pathway out of poverty for individuals, families, and whole communities, providing them the means to access the necessities of life – food, water, shelter and clothing – more easily,” said Donald Moore, Executive Director of the Global Dairy Platform, which published the report alongside the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation and the IFCN Dairy Research Network.

“The livestock sector can contribute to address global challenges but the sector’s sustainability can only be improved effectively through concerted action by all stakeholder groups,” Mr. Schneider added.

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Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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