New Zealand endorses the Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam

Wednesday, 20 September, 2017

New Zealand’s commitment towards global sustainable dairy development has been confirmed, with DairyNZ, the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) endorsing the Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam.

“We are pleased to endorse the Declaration today as a signal of strong support for the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and for the important role of the dairy sector in the global community’s efforts toward sustainable development,” stated Kimberly Crewther, executive director of DCANZ.

The International Dairy Federation (IDF) and the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) signed the Declaration during the World Dairy Summit in October 2016.

The Declaration aligns with New Zealand’s priorities to promote sustainability and feed the world with safe and sustainable products. It specifically highlights the economic, social and environmental contributions the dairy sector can make towards sustainable development.

MPI Director-General Martyn Dunne explained the country’s committment to improving the environment through sustainability, saying, “New Zealand is engaged in collective global efforts to promote the efficient use of natural resources and combat climate change, such as the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases and the Global Dairy Agenda for Action.”

In terms of its economic impact, the Declaration recognises dairy’s role in food security and the development opportunities for family farmers and pastoralists. As dairy is one of the biggest agricultural subsectors, the Declaration aims to focus on farmers’ needs in particular and build support for sustainable practices.

“We welcome the support expressed in the Declaration to meeting the needs of rural farming families,” said Tim Mackle, chief executive of DairyNZ. “The Declaration also recognises the major economic contribution that dairy makes to realising the sustainable development aspirations of farmers and communities around the world.”

Crewther suggested dairy is one of the most distorted sectors of global trade, and New Zealand aims to eliminate these distortions from agricultural markets — for example, trade barriers that can impact food security, prevent farmers from receiving the full value of their products and raise food costs for consumers.

The Declaration also highlighted dairy’s importance in improving health and alleviating poverty. Dairy provides crucial nutrition for children and the elderly in particular, and many people use dairy animals for both food and income purposes.

Crewther stated, “As a leader in the production of safe and sustainable dairy nutrition, we’ll continue to work to support the global development of science-based standards, policies and practices for food safety and improved health outcomes.”

New Zealand is therefore committed to strengthening multistakeholder dialogue for continuous improvement, and will follow the dairy sector’s overall goal to generate widespread benefits for people and the planet through sustainability.

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