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Global leaders gather to take action on sustainable livestock production

Livestock are seen as both a source of greenhouse gas emissions and a solution to climate change. To help bring balance, dialogue and understanding to an often-contentious issue, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations last fall hosted the first-ever Global Conference on Sustainable Livestock Transformation. 

The event brought together hundreds of participants from around the world, representing FAO members, producer organizations, academic institutions, development agencies, civil society and private sector bodies and all keenly interested in ways to continue producing animal-based foods with a reduced environmental footprint. Approximately 50 to 75 global youth representatives were also there.

Balancing the narrative

The event was a long overdue, important opportunity for the livestock sector to evaluate what the real role of livestock is in issues like climate, biodiversity and more, says livestock economist Ernesto Reyes, who attended the event. 

Reyes is a member of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock, an FAO initiative, and the Dairy Development Lead with the Global Dairy Platform. 

“It is important for the livestock sector to begin setting up a common global vision and narrative on the issue of sustainable livestock,” Reyes explains. “Most comments that are brought forward are based on elements that get attention in the media, so the narrative has been unbalanced. We have given our voice to specific groups that are championing the topics of consumers, and we need to take action to be part of the solution.” 

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