Over 100 professionals from government, the business community, science institutions, non-governmental organizations and international organizations gathered in Beijing on November 26th 2016 to launch REFRESH in China and promote the knowledge-sharing initiative for the global measurement and reduction of food loss and waste.
The forum was composed of four different sessions: the Key Note Presentations; the Panel on Food Industry & Consumer Level; the Panel on Food Waste Reduction, Reuse and Recycling; and the Panel on Multi-stakeholder Actions. Student representatives from the Second High School Attached to the Beijing Normal University gave a presentation entitled “Food waste and youth - we are in action!" and introduced their investigative project on food waste in their school's canteen, which brought enthusiastic responses from the participants.
Also during the session, two important events took place: first, the joint call for food waste reduction was released together by UNEP, IVL, CAS and ACEF. It calls for network building in Asian areas, fulfilling SDG 12.3 target, for actions in governments, research, enterprises and consumer behaviors. Especially the gender responsiveness should be emphasized. In addition to that, a pre-cast on a youth contest was released by the four organizations, which shall be released formally later. Panel discussions with questions on technologies, public engagement, gender issues and platform were discussed with various opinions. Hundred persons joined the session, which included governmental institutions and other public institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), research institutes and universities (scholars), international organizations/experts, enterprises in the food supply chain, the public (youth), and media.
The conference achieved significant media coverage, with cumulatively over 1 million hits online. Several articles were published and shared on different websites, including China Daily, UNEP net, etc.
IVL China was the leading organizer of the forum, together with ACEF, CAS and UNEP. Presentations were given by the following organizations: IGSNRR, Wageningen University & Research, UNEP, WWF, University of Southern Denmark, Taiwan University, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry of Mongolia, Beijing Environmental Sanitation and Science Research Design Institute, Lightblue Environmental Consulting (Thailand), Envac, Mahidol University, Waste Resources Action Program (WRAP), Annakshetra Foundation of India, Shanghai Oasis Public Service Development Center.
The event has raised the awareness of different stakeholders and triggered social interests beyond the conference. It improved the communication among stakeholders - more parties are now aware of the existence of each other, and are building up research/social cooperations, It provided useful knowledge/tools/channels from an international perspective, enhanced the existing capacities among stakeholders, and an Asian network was widely called for on the topic of food waste reduction, which will be supported later on through a website.
Beyond the already groups set up within the conference, more parties from different countries are now merging to ask for contacts and follow-up cooperation