IDF and FAO sign Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam at summit

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

The Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam, which was signed Wednesday, October 19 in front of delegates attending the World Dairy Summit, included representation from various dairy sectors around the world.
The Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam, which was signed Wednesday, October 19 in front of delegates attending the World Dairy Summit, included representation from various dairy sectors around the world.

Related tags Dairy sector Sustainability Idf

The culmination of the International Dairy Federation (IDF) World Dairy Summit held in Rotterdam this week was the signing of a document with the FAO on sustainability.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) strategic objectives are to make agriculture, forestry and fishery more productive and sustainable. Central to its efforts is achieving food security - to ensure people have regular access to high-quality food to lead active and healthy lives.

FAO main goals

The eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition

The elimination of poverty and the driving forward of economic and social progress for all

The sustainable management and utilization of natural resources, including land, water, air, climate and genetic resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

Signing the document were FAO assistant director general Ren Wang, and outgoing IDF president Jeremy Hill.

At the ceremony, Wang and Hill were joined on stage by representatives of the global dairy sector:
Dairy Asia - Vinod Ahuja; Indian National Dairy Development Board - Dilip Rath; Fonterra - Jacqueline Chow; Kenyan farmer Caroline Njeri Gathogo from Kenya; and FrieslandCampina - Roelof Joosten.

Each spoke on the importance of dairy, and of the signing of the Dairy Declaration.

declaration signing
The signing of the Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam.

Video messages were played to the audience for the North and South American sectors.


In accepting the sustainability challenge, the IDF noted that it was committed to the FAO’s 17 global sustainable development goals​ (SDGs).

The IDF noted that the links between the dairy sector, people and the planet are multiple and all-encompassing, stating that investments that promote a sustainable development of the livestock industry can contribute towards several SDGs.

Wang, addressing the audience at the summit event, spoke of the importance of transformative change, and the key word of commitment.

“That is what FAO is here for. And that is why FAO believes that we are honored and pleased to jointly sign this declaration.”

Importance of dairy taking the lead

He said that it was important to make a joint commitment towards achieving SDGs.

“We believe to achieve this, you need a multi-stakeholder approach. Not only the 193 member country governments, but also the private sector, NGOs, farmers and the dairy producers.”

Hill said that the very nature of what IDF does has always been multi-stakeholder.

“We recognized from the outset that that’s the way that you need to make progress on important agenda items, and so I’d say this was a natural extension of what we do.

“Why dairy? One billion people, one billion hectares, and the number one agricultural sector by value. If we don’t take the lead, who will?”​  


Addressing SDGs

The IDF noted that the dairy sector directly and indirectly supports the livelihoods of 150m farmers. It also generates employment opportunities along the value chain, which not only represent a major pathway out of poverty (SDG1)​ but also contributes to full and productive employment and decent work for all (SDG 8)​ and to reduce inequality (SDG10).

The dairy industry can work towards ending hunger and achieving food security (SDG2)​ and contribute to healthy lives (SDG3)​, because of the important role of milk in the provision of energy, protein and micronutrients and through investments that reduce the negative impact of the dairy industry on public health.

As women play a key role in the dairy sector, achieving gender equality (SDG5)​ is also connected to the dairy industry, it was noted.

Other SDGs the dairy industry can address include promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns (SDG 12)​, combatting climate change (SDG13)​, protecting and restoring terrestrial ecosystems including biodiversity (SDG 15)​ and the sustainable management of water and sanitation (SDG 6)​ through the adoption of best practices, many of which have been proved effective in different contexts, the IDF says.

The connections between the dairy industry, people and the planet are complex and multifaceted, the IDF stated. Collective and concerted action through multi-stakeholder processes and integrated approaches are therefore needed for formulating and implementing sustainable investments and policies, consistently with SDG 17​.

A special website​ has been dedicated to the declaration.

The Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam

The dairy community accepts sustainability challenge

We, representatives of the one billion person global dairy community, gathered in Rotterdam at the World Dairy Summit, are committed to the sustainable development of the dairy sector to generate widespread benefits for people and the planet.

We recognize:

the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as the overarching framework that guides our actions towards sustainable development from a social, environmental, economic and health perspective;

the vital role of dairy for food security and poverty reduction and the important livelihood and development opportunities for family farmers, small holders and pastoralists;

the critical contribution the dairy sector makes to Sustainable Development, including:

the essential role of dairy products for balanced, nutritious and healthy diets;

the major contribution that dairy makes to countries’ economies, income, employment and livelihood

the key function of the dairy sector in the management of terrestrial ecosystems and the need to address environmental degradation and climate change, and to support biodiversity;

the diversity of dairy production systems and dairy breeds, contexts and priorities;

the need for continuous and open dialogue and joint actions at all levels.

We agree to:

Take an integrated approach to promote the sustainability of dairy systems, jointly taking into consideration social, economic, health and environmental dimensions;

Give particular attention to the needs of family farmers, small holders and pastoralists;

Build, implement and disseminate tools and guidelines to facilitate the identification and adoption of sustainable practices in the dairy sector;

Build capacity in support of sustainable practices and provide enabling conditions;

Measure and report on sustainability outcomes.

Strengthen multi-stakeholder dialogue for consensus building, reviewing progress and continuous improvement.

Rotterdam, 19 October 2016

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