The future of food safety
Transforming knowledge into action for people, economies and the environment
With an estimated 600 million cases of foodborne illnesses annually, unsafe food is a threat to human health and economies globally. Foodborne diseases in low- and middle-income countries costs at least US$100 billion a year, with this cost exceeding US$500 million for 28 countries, according to a recent World Bank study. Ongoing changes in climate, global food production and supply systems affect consumers, industry and the planet itself: food safety systems need to keep pace with these changes. The burden of unsafe food disproportionally affects vulnerable and marginalized people and poses sustainability and development challenges. Despite the growing recognition of the fundamental role food safety plays in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the main objectives of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition, efforts to strengthen food safety systems remain fragmented and the gains, particularly in many developing countries, have been well below expectations.
In this pivotal moment, this conference, co-organised by FAO, WHO, WTO and AU, will bring together Ministers and representatives of national governments, senior policy makers as well as representatives of non-state actor groups from all regions of the world to engage in an urgent reflection on food safety challenges to:
At the Addis Ababa Conference, priorities will be discussed so that food safety strategies and approaches can be aligned across sectors and borders, reinforcing efforts to reach the SDGs and supporting the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition. Strategic actions will be defined through Ministerial panels involving health, trade and agriculture officials and experts thematic sessions covering the topics of:
The conference will result in a high-level political statement advocating for increased and better coordinated collaboration and support to improve food safety globally.
Continuing the discussions from the Addis Conference, the Geneva Forum will address the trade-related aspects and challenges of food safety. The food safety priorities set by this Conference will facilitate global collaboration and help ensure that no one is left behind. Its will provide an opportunity for participants to explore the challenges and opportunities arising from rapid technological change and digitalization, namely:
The conference will result in a document summarizing key issues and recommendations from both, the Addis Conference and the Geneva Forum, to better align and coordinate efforts to strengthen food safety systems across sectors and borders.
Please note this conference is paper-free and that printouts of documents will NOT be provided!