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Poultry Digital - May 2018

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Achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals Can livestock deliver? A s the world faces ever more pressing social and environmental challenges, livestock production has come under the spotlight. The global meat industry is often vilified as a major contributor to environmental damage and climate change, and significant voices in Western society have begun to question how, and how much, animal protein we should produce. Yet, in other parts of the world, many are experiencing hunger, malnutrition and poverty, and are unable to access sufficient animal-source foods. At the same time, the world's governments, through the United Nations, have agreed to work towards meeting the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in an effort to tackle the biggest global problems such as hunger, poverty, pollution and climate change, while driving forward economic prosperity for all. So is there a role for livestock in this emerging picture of the future? And how can the poultry sector in particular contrib- ute to delivering the Sustainable Development Goals? Firstly, what are the SDGs? Put simply, they are a set of 17 broad targets which the UN is calling for the world to have met by the year 2030. The goals – which include ambitions to achieve "Zero hunger", "No poverty" and "Good health and well-be- ing" for all – have become a global rallying point across all sectors, from governments to business to civil society, and cover key themes that are relevant to the poultry sector: the eradication of hunger and malnutrition, for example, and the injunction to deliver responsible production and consumption for economies worldwide. The UN's goals are underpinned by key targets to transform people's lives and the planet. Increasingly, governments are refocusing their resources on the SDGs and businesses are building these goals into their strategies. A study from Pricewa- terhouseCoopers in 2015 showed that 71 percent of business planned to embed the SDGs in their strategies by 2020, backed by expectations from 90 percent of the UK public that business would address the issue. Jimmy Smith, director general of the International Livestock Research Institute says: "The [livestock] sector is challenged by its environmental footprint and concern that consuming animal source foods leads to poor health. In many parts of the world we consume too much, but in many parts of the developing world we ought to consume more, given the importance of animal-source foods in nutrition." Over the past eight years, momentum has been building to shape the future of livestock production to face these challenges and contribute positively to the SDGs. The Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock has become one of the most important destinations for those across the livestock sector to come together to drive forward sustainable practice. A partnership between stakeholders in livestock-sector develop- ment, it aims to be the go-to place for future solutions and brings together all sectors – from governments and industry to local civil-society organisations, and from small Words Dr Lesley Mitchell The Sustainable Development Goals FEATURE 10

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