In June 2021, after years of intense discussion, the FAO Conference, the supreme governing body of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, established the COAG’s Sub-Committee on Livestock (1) .
The Sub-Committee on Livestock, with the acronym COAG:LI, is a statutory body reporting to the Committee on Agriculture (COAG) and through it to the Council and to the Conference. The sessions of the COAG:LI are biennial.
All members of the COAG are members of the COAG:LI, meaning 133 Member Nations out of a total of 194. The Sub-Committee is open to other UN agencies and key actors of the livestock sector. The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) was invited to participate in this first session as Observer, and contributed to three topics, One Health, peste des petits ruminants (PPR) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The WOAH delegation was led by Dr Jean-Philippe Dop, Deputy Director General for Institutional Affairs and Regional Activities. He underlined that ‘Each of our organisations holds the pieces for making One Health a comprehensive illustration for sustainably balancing and optimising the health of people, animals and ecosystems’.
At the beginning of the session, the Bureau of the COAG:LI was nominated. It is chaired by HE Carlos Bernardo Cherniak, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the UN Rome-based agencies.
After three full days of in-depth exchanges, the Sub-Committee endorsed its report addressing the following items:
- sustainable livestock for food security, nutrition and poverty reduction, including agri-food systems, small-scale livestock producers, climate change and ecosystem services
- the One Health approach
- holistic and evidence-based reporting on the livestock sector
- the multi-year programme of the COAG:LI.
The session was closed by Ms Maria-Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General of FAO, who emphasised the ‘historical moment’ of this first meeting of a UN global body entirely dedicated to the livestock sector.
(1) ‘Livestock’ refers to all terrestrial animals used for food and agriculture.