Transforming the dairy sector
“Optimising the dairy sector’s contribution to the SDGs requires careful planning, implementation and monitoring” Berhe Tekola of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.
Malnutrition is the single largest contributor to disease in the world. The number of undernourished people is increasing (more than 821 million people). At the same time, overweight and obesity continue to increase in all regions. More than 2 billion people do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food, and agricultural production will have to increase by an estimated 50% by 2050 to meet the needs of a growing population.
Livestock supporting livelihoods
736 million people globally live in extreme poverty (World Bank, 2018). In the developing world, some 290 million women and girls rely on livestock to generate income. 470 million jobs are needed globally for new entrants to the labour market between 2016 and 2030 (UNDG 2013). Most of the global poor live in rural areas, are poorly educated, employed in the agricultural sector, and under 18 years of age.
The dairy sector can make positive and negative contributions to the SDGs. Many complex interactions, potential synergies and trade-offs exist among and within the 17 Goals. Therefore, optimizing the sector’s contribution to the SDGs requires careful planning, implementation and monitoring.
Dairy opportunities for the achievement of SDGs
Milk is one of the most produced and valuable agricultural commodities worldwide. It is estimated that the dairy sector supports the livelihoods of up to 1 billion people worldwide (FAO, 2015). The dairy sector presents numerous opportunities for the achievement of SDGs:
There is a need to link growth with poverty reduction, promote sustainable investment, support inclusive food systems and value chains, value addition and reduce post-harvest losses.
Facing the challenge of antimicrobial resistance
Animal welfare matters for both ethical and practical reasons. Food-borne pathogens account for 420 000 deaths per year (WHO, 2015), with 70% of pathogens affecting humans of animal origin (Jones et al., 2008), and around 700 000 human deaths/year are related to antimicrobial resistance (O’Neill, 2016). An estimated total of 63 153 tons of antibiotics were consumed by the livestock sector globally in 2010 (Van Boeckel et al., 2017). In order to combat this there is a need to promote the One Health approach, to optimize use of antimicrobials and to treat animal welfare as a priority.
Protecting the environment and biodiversity
From 1880 to 2012, average global temperature increased by 0.85°C (IPCC, 2013). Livestock account for 14.5% of global GHG emissions (FAO, 2016). 12 million hectares of land are lost every year due to desertification and drought alone (UNCCD, 2009). Out of the world’s 7155 local breeds, 27% are at risk, 8% are not at risk and 65% are of unknown risk status (FAO, 2019).
There is a need to improve efficiencies, stock carbon in the soil. There is also a requirement for better linkages between dairy production and the circular bio-economy, the promotion of agroecology and biodiversity enhancement and provision of ecosystem services by livestock.
“Dairy farmers depend on nature – healthy soil, clean air and water, and biodiversity – to nourish a growing population over the long term. Dairy can and needs to play its part, not just by reducing its environmental impacts but also by actively restoring nature and nature’s contribution to people around the world.” Sandra Wijn, Worldwide Fund for Nature
A new deal for nature is needed to sustain this planet and its precious resources for generations to come. Dairy farmers are already reducing the use and degradation of natural resources. But there is more that can be done, and different ways to achieve results.
Healthy animals for sustainable dairy production
Misuse and overuse of antimicrobial drugs in human medicine, veterinary medicine and food production has contributed to the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistant organisms, threatening not only human health, but also animal health and welfare. Without coordinated and accelerated action, this growing problem could also compromise the global community’s progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While there are no AMR specific SDG indicators, sustainable development, economic growth and AMR are inextricably interlinked. Combatting AMR will help achieve 15 of the 17 SDGs and is crucial to the 2030 Agenda.
IDF and Codex: Ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all
“IDF has a unique place in Codex history and procedures” Tom Heilandt, Codex Secretary
Working together will ensure that no one is left behind in the drive to reach the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Codex and IDF is one of the longest standing examples of partnerships to ensure the best, most robust science-based standards possible. IDF has a unique place in the Codex history and procedures, serving as an essential technical advisor to Codex on all issues related to milk and milk products since its inception in 1963. IDF has had strong involvement in Codex conferences and joint achievements of both organisations include the Codex Standards for Milk and Milk Products, Methods of Analysis, Labelling, Hygiene and Antimicrobial Resistance.
Relating Codex standards to the SDGs
Working together towards the SDGs
There is a need to assess: