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Working Party on Agricultural Quality Standards (WP.7)


The standards encourage high-quality production, improve profitability and protect consumer interests. UNECE standards are used internationally by Governments, producers, traders, importers, exporters and international organizations. They cover a wide spectrum of agricultural products: fresh fruit and vegetables (FFV), dry and dried produce (DDP), seed potatoes, meat, cut flowers, eggs and egg products. You can download the standards cost free from this website and use them free of charge.

In focus

A third of all food produced ends up being wasted along supply chains or by consumers. This means that some 25% of the worlds fresh water supply and 8-10% of greenhouse gas emissions are used to grow food that ends up discarded.

To increase the sustainability of our food systems, we need to minimize food loss and waste. The UNECE Code of Good Practice provides guidance on reducing food loss and ensuring optimum handling of fresh fruit and vegetables along the value chain

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) collaborated with United Nations Issue-based Coalition on Sustainable Food Systems (IBC-SFS) for Europe and Central Asia to develop episode of the Food Systems Talk “Towards a Circular Economy of Food: Views and Perspectives for Europe and Central Asia”.

The Talk features an interview with Elisabeth Türk, Director of the Economic Cooperation and Trade Division at the UNECE and Prof. Dr. Martin van Ittersum at the Department of Plant Sciences, Plant Production Systems group of Wageningen University. Speakers explore the basic concept of circular economy and its applications towards a circular food system, aiming at reducing the use of natural resources and emissions to the environment, within planetary boundaries, by closing the loop of materials and substances, and avoiding waste.

At its sixty-ninth session the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) committed to step up efforts to promote circular economy approaches and the sustainable use of natural resources by mainstreaming circularity and the sustainable use of natural resources in existing relevant UNECE work.

Held on the side-lines of the 76th session of the UNECE Working Party on Agricultural Quality Standards, as part of a UNECE project on Accelerating the transition towards a Circular Economy in the UNECE region, this roundtable aimed to explore the links between circular economy and agri-food production, trade, and standards, including in relation to food loss and waste. The programme can be found here.

The roundtable was held as part of a UNECE led multi-agency project on Accelerating the transition towards a Circular Economy (2021-2024), which aim to help member States harness the power of trade and economic cooperation in their circular economy transition through interventions in three areas: traceability of supply chains, innovation-enhancing procurement, and the management of waste, including food loss and waste.