Youth from Asia–Pacific explore solutions for food loss and waste reduction at Model United Nations Conference hosted by FAO in Bangkok – World

15 September 2023 – Bangkok, Thailand: Championing the reduction of food loss and waste was the main call to action at the Model United Nations (MUN) Conference hosted at the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok. Organized by the Meiji University of Japan together with Kasetsart University, the Srinakarinwirot University, and the Panyapiwat Institute of Management, the MUN Conference, held earlier this month, brought together students from Japan and Thailand for an interactive discussion on “Improving food security in Asia and the Pacific – through reduction of food loss and waste (FLW).”

While hunger and food security continue with 725 million people facing hunger, an estimated 13.3 percent of the world’s food is lost in the supply chain from post-harvest prior to retail according to the FAO Food Loss Index. A further 17 percent of food is wasted in households, food services and in retail (Source: UNEP). “We have observed that in Eastern Asia and Southern Asia, food losses are above the global average due to very high FLW rates in the fruits and vegetables value chains,” said FAO Agriculture Officer Eva Gálvez Nogales delivering the keynote address. “There was a spike in food losses in 2020. Can you guess why that was the case?” To which students unanimously responded that the reason was the COVID-19 pandemic that caused major disruptions in supply chains.

“FLW is a growing concern for the Asia–Pacific region, impacting both rural and urban communities, and food security. This is why it is at the top of the policy agenda,” reiterated Eva who shared examples of how FAO is helping Member Nations to raise awareness, measure FLW, reduce post-harvest losses, and strengthen policy and regulatory frameworks.

The students who were split into eight country teams – India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore and Timor-Leste – acted as representatives of a country, discussing issues related to FLW and sharing potential innovative solutions. From the breeding of black solider fly for the treatment and management of food waste in Malaysia, to the use of cooler boxes, ice-making technologies and the Irabu Method of soaking fish in ice onboard fishing vessels to reduce post-harvest losses in the Maldives, and improved cold chain management in India like controlled atmosphere storage to maintain the quality and increase the shelf life of agrifood products.

“The MUN Conference is a great platform to talk about the issue of food loss and waste and to highlight potential solutions,” said Iain McTaggart, Associate Professor, Meiji University, Japan. “It is also a wonderful opportunity for students to meet fellow youth from different institutes, different countries and discuss topics related to the agrifood environment, science and policy.”

FAO’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific has hosted several MUN Conferences in the past to engage young people in agrifood systems transformation, with this year’s conference taking place after a lapse of four years.

Students were urged to continue advocating for the fight against FLW and the adoption of solutions highlighted through various platforms such as FAO’s Community of Practice on Food Loss Reduction, the Food is Never Waste Coalition and the #123 Food Loss and Waste Pledge for Climate Action. Also by joining the world in marking the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste (IDAFLW) on 29 September to stop food loss and waste – for the people and the planet.


Mahina Bongso Hussain,


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