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Livestock's long shadow

environmental issues and options









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    Book (stand-alone)
    Biodiversity and the livestock sector - Guidelines for quantitative assessment
    Version 1
    2020
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    The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on biodiversity, hereafter called Biodiversity TAG, is composed of 25 international experts in ecology, biodiversity indicators, agronomy, life cycle assessment, livestock production systems, and environmental science. Their backgrounds, complementary between systems and regions, allowed them to understand and address different perspectives. The aim of the methodology developed in these guidelines is to introduce a harmonized international approach for assessing the impacts of livestock on biodiversity. The livestock sector is a major user of natural resources (land in particular) and an important contributor to pollution (e.g. causing nutrient losses, increasing greenhouse gas emissions), which makes it one of the sectors with the highest impact on biodiversity. At the same time, livestock production is one of the few sectors with not only negative but also positive impacts on biodiversity; therefore, the sector can pull two levers to improve its biodiversity performance – mitigate harm and maximize benefits. Many environmental assessments of the livestock sector have not addressed biodiversity because of its intrinsic complexity. These guidelines strive to include biodiversity in environmental assessments, in order to increase the understanding of the impacts of livestock on biodiversity and to reveal possible synergies or trade-offs with other environmental criteria or Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Several indicators in these guidelines are also of relevance for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Nutrient flows and associated environmental impacts in livestock supply chains. Guidelines for assessment
    Version 1
    2018
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    The aim of the methodology developed in these guidelines is to introduce a harmonized international approach assessing nutrient flows and impact assessment for eutrophication and acidification for livestock supply chains taking the specificity of the various production systems involved into consideration. The methodology strives to increase understanding of nutrient use efficiency and associated environmental impacts and to facilitate the improvement of livestock systems’ environmental performance. The guidelines are a product of the Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance (LEAP) Partnership, a multi-stakeholder initiative whose goal is to improve the environmental sustainability of livestock sector through better metrics and data. Nutrient use in livestock production systems increased over the last decades due to the increased demand for livestock production. This demand is mainly driven by the increase in the population growth, population income, and urbanization. Consequently, in livestock supply chains, nutrient losses into the environment have contributed to environmental burdens such as climate change, air and water pollution, degradation of soil quality, loss of biodiversity and human health issues. Therefore, there is strong interest in measuring nutrient flows to improve the environmental performance of the livestock sector. The objectives of these guidelines are: • To develop a harmonized, science-based approach resting on a consensus among the sector’s stakeholders; • To recommend a scientific, but at the same time practical, an approach that builds on existing or developing methodologies; • To promote a harmonised approach to assess nutrient flows and impact assessment, relevant for global livestock supply chains; • To identify the principal areas where ambiguity or differing views exist concerning the methodological framework. During the development process, these guidelines were submitted for technical review and public review. The purpose is to strengthen the advice provided and ensure it meets the needs of those seeking to improve nutrient use efficiency and environmental performance through sound assessment practice. This document is not intended to remain static. It will be updated and improved as the sector evolves and more stakeholders become involved in the LEAP, and as new methodological frameworks and data become available. The guidelines developed by the LEAP Partnership gain strength because they represent a multi-actor coordinated cross-sectoral and international effort to harmonize assessment approaches. Ideally, the harmonization leads to greater understanding, transparent application and communication of metrics, and, not least, real and measurable improvement in environmental performance.
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    Book (series)
    Terminal evaluation of the project “A new green line: Mainstreaming biodiversity conservation objectives and practices into China’s Water Resources Management Policy and Planning Practice”
    Project code: GCP/CPR/057/GFF - GEF ID: 5665
    2023
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    The project was funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) through the Operational Partners Implementation Modality. Freshwater scarcity and pollution threaten the long-term sustainability of key sectors such as agricultural production and productivity and, therefore, food security and nutrition. The project was designed to respond to this growing problem of water stress in China. The final evaluation provided a comprehensive and systematic account of the project’s performance by assessing its design, implementation and achievement of objectives. Based on its findings and conclusions, the evaluation recommended: replicating the activities and practices within the pilot provinces and in different provinces; finalizing the sustainability plan; ensuring that, for future projects, reporting and evidence clearly address targets and are prepared in a timely manner for mid-term reviews and terminal evaluations; adopting a systematic and transparent approach to the regular reassessment of environmental and social impacts; establishing a bird monitoring system along the Chuan River in Jingdong County; and sharing experiences and lessons learned in indirect project execution in China with other FAO Country Offices and teams.

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