Recognizing animal protein’s critical role at COP27, the UN Climate Change Conference.
By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com; Photo by Amber Kipp on Unsplash
Globally speaking, animal protein has a critical role to play in helping better feed the world and in the matter of solutions to sustainability.
The currently ongoing 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, aka COP27, is being held November 6-18, 2022, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
At the event, the Interamerican Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) convened its first-ever “Sustainable Agriculture in the Americas” pavilion. Partnered with the Protein PACT and other stakeholders, it brought focused its attention via nine events on the role of animal agriculture in sustainability issues.
The Protein PACT is an initiative representing livestock farmers and companies that produce beef, pork, poultry, and dairy products in the US, with a common vision to strengthen the contribution of animal protein to food security and environmental conservation
One of the events was a panel discussion on sustainable livestock across regions and production systems—“Livestock Sustainability throughout the World. Working towards Sustainability in All Regions and for All Production Systems”.
It featured panelists William Hohenstein, Director of the Office of Energy and Environmental Policy at the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture); Gianni Motta, representing Uruguay’s National Meat Institute (INAC); Laura Cramer, of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI); and Max Makuvise, a farmer with Makera Cattle who uses cutting edge technology in his livestock operation in Zimbabwe, Africa. The event was moderated by Ashley McDonald, the Assistant Vice President of the National Pork Board.
McDonald also shared US pork’s commitments to ethical principles, best practices, and documenting proof.
Another event had The Pork Board and Pork Checkoff noting its new on-farm sustainability reports, which have been awarded US$20 million in USDA Climate-Smart Commodities grant funding to expand measurement and implementation of climate-smart practices.
Eric Mittenthal, the Chief Strategy Officer for the North American Meat Institute moderated a panel on November 10, that discussed scientific evidence on the essential dietary contributions of animal-source foods and optimizing animal agriculture’s environmental impact.
The recently-released Meat Institute’s first-ever continuous improvement data report showed that among companies accounting for an estimated 90 percent of meat sold in the US, 81 percent of the reporting facilities are covered by company-wide commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Institute wants to have 100 percent of its members to deliver emissions reduction targets approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative by 2030.
At the same panel discussion on November 10, Dr. Adegbola Adesogan, Director of the University of Florida Food Systems Institute said, “Most common measures of environmental impact ignore nutrient density—the contribution of foods to achieving recommended intakes of critical nutrients.
“Sustainability solutions must ensure sustainable production of animal-source foods, which are ‘brain foods’ for the children our future depends on, continued Dr. Adesogan. “Eating meat, dairy, and eggs improves children’s cognition and growth, and raising animals for food provides livelihoods and is a cornerstone of many cultures, particularly in the Global South.”
Regarding the Protein PACT’s partnership with the IICA, Dr. Manual Otero, Director General of IICA stated: “The livestock sector is moving at full tilt towards sustainability in the Americas and around the world and continues to play a central and invaluable role in global food security. IICA and its member states will continue to champion at COP27 and future COPs the critical role of sustainable agriculture, including livestock production, in the Americas.”
The Protein PACT unites partners across animal protein to accelerate the entire sector’s progress toward global sustainable development goals for healthy people, healthy animals, healthy communities, and a healthy environment. Protein PACT partners are establishing transparent baselines and benchmarks, setting ambitious targets for continuous improvement, collecting data to verify and transparently report on progress, and launching comprehensive communications about animal protein’s unique place in healthy diets and sustainable food systems. To learn more, visit www.TheProteinPACT.org.