Three days of sessions in this IDF World Dairy Summit were closed with signing the Declaration of Rotterdam: a comprehensive statement on the key contributions and commitments of the dairy sector towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
IDF President Jeremy Hill and Assistant Director General of the FAO Ren Wang explained the importance of the Declaration, providing a common high-level purpose regarding the dairy sector’s role for nutritional security, sustainability and socio-economic development. A few specific elements have been elaborated upon; dairy is the No. 1 global agricultural sector by value and is directly responsible for 240 million jobs worldwide, and from this approximately 1 billion livelihoods or the socio-economic wellbeing of a seventh of the world’s population is being supported. Alongside this, as many as 80 million women are engaged in dairy farming which can play a key role in their empowerment. As well as this, dairy is also considered to be essential in order to reduce hunger and malnutrition, particularly amongst the most vulnerable (pregnant women and children).
IDF World Dairy Summit 2015 in Vilnius, Lithuania 20 – 24 September. The main theme of this year’s Summit – Closing the Nutritional Gap with Sustainable Dairy – reflects the IDF’s commitment towards ensuring global nutrition security and food sustainability. The Summit has attracted over 1200 dairy producers, farmers, scientists, government officials and other sector professionals from more than 50 countries across the globe.
Dr. Jeremy Hill, the President of IDF, emphasised that the theme of this year’s Summit corresponds to one of the most important issues the world is facing today. “The nutritional gap affects both the wealthy and the poor. It is manifest through poor nutrition in the diseases of affluence, such as obesity and diabetes, and of poverty, such as stunting. In both cases a lack of a balanced diet through inadequate advice, poor choices or limited access can have devastating effects on the individual, on the family and on society,” says the President of IDF.
Hill is convinced that “Dairy has an important role to play in enriching the nutritional credentials of diets and is just as important in those countries with the over feeding and under nutrition (too many calories and too few nutrients) as it is in those with under feeding and under nutrition (too few calories and too few nutrients).”
“Unfortunately consumers’ understanding of nutrition and health and the role of food and diets is not as advanced as it needs to be and particularly in a world where we cannot afford to squander our food production systems, our food and our diets on naive policies and advice. We need to move away from the reductionist view of nutrition as the sum of the individual food components and consider the complex way multiple food components act within complex diets and individual lifestyles,” Dr. Hill notes.
At the World Dairy Summit in Vilnius Global Dairy Agenda for Action (GDAA), which provides governance for the global dairy sector’s efforts in addressing its sustainability challenges, announced the publication of its inaugural Dairy Sustainability Framework (DSF) Annual Report, the dairy sector’s program to align, connect and demonstrate continuous improvement in sustainability.
Launched at the World Dairy Summit in Yokohama in October 2013, the DSF was developed as part of a wider sector effort to continually improve sustainability performance and transparency. The dairy sector globally has responded positively to the introduction of the DSF, with first year membership quickly growing to 41 Implementing and Affiliate members.
The report outlines how members, who currently represent 17% of global milk production and over half a million farmers with a total of nearly 18 million cows, will report on their own sustainability initiatives within 11 set criteria. These categories are to be prioritized at the local/regional level with participants tracking initiatives along a continuous improvement spectrum. Many of these initiatives already have targets set against them and will be reported on in an aggregated manner in future DSF Annual Reports