For a sustainable food policy of the European Union. Bolzano’s proposal to the plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions.

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“Towards a sustainable EU food policy that brings jobs and growth to Europe’s regions and cities.” This is the proposal presented on March 22, 2017 by the president of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano, Arno Kompatscher (SVP), at the plenary session of the Committee of the Regions
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. European Union Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis was present.

The document provides for the involvement of local realities. It was unanimously approved by all political groups on the committee. It was later forwarded to the Parliament and the Union Commission.

Bolzano’s proposal for a sustainable food policy in the EU

For Kompatscher, it is desirable that cooperation can be initiated between the Committee of the Regions, the European Parliament and the European Commission to initiate concrete actions as soon as possible. Thus the president of the Autonomous Province, “The European Union has new and decisive challenges ahead of it. Food production, seen as an ecosystem, concerns us all. Consequently, it is crucial to create a new and cross-cutting sustainable food policy at the EU level, among other things by changing public procurement regulations so that preference can be given to local products.”

Among the 37 points of the proposal, some very important environmental and socioeconomic issues stand out, in Kompatscher’s own view, which are summarized below.

A common, long-term vision in all relevant policy areas

The Union’s food policy should be conducted broadly and sustainably to properly address food production by promoting suitable production and consumption patterns.

A balance is needed in maintaining the necessary flexibilities, avoiding applying a one-size-fits-all approach to food policy, preventing the nationalization of the policy.

It is important to proceed with the vertical integration of food policies in accordance with sustainability-inspired criteria in order to ensure consistency at local, regional, national and, finally, international levels.

Therefore, it requires the establishment of a vision and strategy for the supply of safe, healthy and sustainable food in terms of quality, quantity and affordability.

It should be kept in mind that the costs associated with diseases caused by poor nutrition, like the damage done to water resources, soils, wildlife and climate are considered externalities and consequently these costs do not enter into the final price of food, although they fall on society as a whole.

It is also necessary not to neglect those particular areas, such as mountain regions, which are important for the further development of sustainable food systems.

Moreover, further revision of the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) is needed so that farmers and food producers are incentivized to conduct their business in a sustainable way.

Nor should it be forgotten that the production of biofuels that do not compete with food crops should be encouraged.

As far as the Union is concerned, the Union should be encouraged to conclude free trade agreements with third countries that are compatible with the agro-ecological productions present within the Community. Nor can it fail to appeal to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations for the purposes of both disaster risk reduction and building resilience in agricultural sectors.

A healthy ecosystem to support agricultural productivity and resilience

In vulnerable areas and on the outskirts of large cities, small-scale agriculture, which reduces transportation, packaging and CO2 containment, should be encouraged, while encouraging the use of local labor. This would come in handy on the one hand to protect the area and promote its specialties, and on the other hand to create jobs.

Another aspect to emphasize is the importance of pollinating insects, ensuring their survival by taking appropriate measures.

Finally, the development of alternative food networks is to be promoted. Including farmers’ markets, local foods, organic and fair trade products.

Access to healthy diets, particularly for low-income families

Health programs should be initiated to combat obesity and diseases resulting from poor nutrition, favoring local, fresh and seasonal produce. Information campaigns, directing consumers toward diets with a greater plant-based component, come to the rescue to combat obesity.

Lastly: it is necessary to cut red tape when it is an obstacle to the recovery and redistribution of healthy food to people in need.

Standardized definitions, methodologies, and concrete measures

There is a need to: define a comprehensive terminology on sustainable food systems, taking into account the production of agricultural commodities, food processing of food regimes; have a uniform methodology for collecting and reporting data on the environmental impact of food products and food waste; encourage the exchange of best practices, sharing of data on the environmental impact of food products, and more transparent and accessible reporting of information for the entire food supply chain.

The transparency of data on food labels should also be improved. And vigilance and controls of the food sector should be increased.

The guidelines on green public procurement

Public procurement for catering in school canteens and hospitals is a potentially important tool for a more sustainable, local and organic food supply. Therefore, the European Commission should clarify the existing constraints within the framework of its public procurement provisions for the application of sustainability criteria.

The multilevel governance approach in relation to the concept of a sustainable EU food policy

It is the last of the policy recommendations. The establishment of food committees at both regional and local levels for necessary strategic planning processes to reduce the overall environmental impact on the food system is to be welcomed.

In addition, the initiative and management of targeted agri-environmental measures should be entrusted to regional and local authorities. These entities should be allowed to enter into territorial contracts to be signed together with farmers. It should be added that food sustainability policy should be addressed through strong partnerships for local development. Lastly, an increasing number of city initiatives are desirable, citing the Urban Food Policy Pact as an example
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The motivational references of the document approved in Brussels

The draftsman of the proposal approved by the Committee of the Regions of the European Union, in the last part presented as motivational, made express reference to the main documentation on the subject drafted by international, European, or national bodies (France) and to the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), premising some data referring to the European Union.

The community framework

According to the latest available data, the European Union is the world’s largest exporter of agricultural products. The agribusiness sector employs 47 million people in 15 million enterprises (3-to-1 ratio). The trade balance shows a positive balance of 17,802 million euros, 7.2 percent of exports.

The model of intensive agriculture

The price of intensive agriculture is high. The EU Commission’s State of the Environment Report released on March 3, 2015
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warned that Europe was still not on track to halt biodiversity loss as animal and plant habitats continue to disappear.

In particular, marine biodiversity remains at risk.

During 2015 (a year dedicated to “natural capital”), the Commission would supplement the report’s findings with another on the “State of the Natural Environment,” flowing into a mid-term review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy and assessment of EU nature conservation legislation to improve effectiveness and reduce administrative burden.

A group of experts from the CSM
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proposed a definition of sustainable food systems. Resources must be deployed at a rate that does not exceed the earth’s ability to replenish them.

There is then cited the UN’s adoption of a set of 17 ambitious, if not wishful, sustainable development goals. To end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all
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CAP: The latest CAP reform has so far failed to correct the highlighted imbalances
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The European Environmental Bureau has renewed its call for a review of the CAP
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On the same wavelength as other international institutions, the European Center for Policy Strategy
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. In July 2016 he drafted a paper entitled, “Sustainability Now: a vision for sustainability.” Document in which more recommendations are made.

Likewise, INRA
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asserts that approaches to agro-ecology, where firmly coupled with innovations on the technological and organizational level, are well suited to provide elements of the answer to both feeding the planet and identifying the necessary environmental, social and health remedies.

Another citation: the European Commission’s publication “Research and Innovation in Europe for Food and Nutrition Security”
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The publication “Building a common vision for sustainable food and agriculture” lists five principles that can guide the transition process toward greater sustainability
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Lastly, in the recommendations the CPRA (Standing Committee on Agricultural Research), the risks associated with the average diet to the health of individuals, social systems and supporting environmental systems, among others, are highlighted.

The ways of Europe are paved with good intentions.

Not to mention that the news coming out of the U.S., with which Europe must contend, for sustainable food is far from reassuring.

 

 

Notes

1 The Committee of the Regions consists of 350 members representing regional and local authorities from the twenty-eight member states of the European Union. Delivers opinions in cases of mandatory consultation established by the treaties. In the case of optional consultation and, if deemed appropriate, on its own initiative. Its members are not bound by any mandatory mandate. They exercise their functions in full independence, in the general interest of the Union. The legal basis is in Article 13(4) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), Articles 300 and 305-307 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), Council Decision (EU) 2014/930 of December 16, 2014, determining the composition of the Committee of the Regions, and Council Decision (EU) 2015/116 of January 26, 2015, appointing the full and alternate members of the Committee of the Regions.

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Urban Food Policy Pact


, the urban food policy pact, was proposed by the mayor of Milan, Giuliano Pisapia, in 2014. Mayors’ efforts to make the more equitable and sustainable city food systems.them plans to, among other things: develop guidelines in favor of sustainable diets, encourage and support economic and social outreach activities, encourage the provision of services for food producers in and around cities, support short food supply chains, and raise awareness about waste and waste.

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m environment in Europe – 2015 report: current situation and outlook
, (
European Environment – State and Outlook 2015 Report
, SOER 2015) by the European Environment Agency, is an integrated assessment of the environment in Europe that includes global, regional and national level data accompanied by cross-country comparisons. In addition, the report reflected on the next five-plus years, sending a clear warning signal about the risks of environmental degradation. Which in turn affect human well-being and prosperity. The analysis emphasizes the need for more integrated policy action; a call to which the Commission was already responding through a series of environmental policy initiatives for 2015. Including a new and expanded package of measures on the circular economy, a review of the EU biodiversity strategy, an action plan on
governance
of the oceans and a revised air quality package.

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The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) was created in 1974 as an intergovernmental body for global discussion on food security and nutrition, with a mandate to coordinate and monitor policies related to them.

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1. Eradicate poverty in all its forms and everywhere in the world


. 2. End hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculturele. 3. Ensure healthy living and promote the well-being of everyone at all ages. 4. Ensure Inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. 5. R


add gender equality and self-determination for all women and girls



.

6.



Ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all



.


7. G



arranting access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all


. 8. Promote lasting, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full employment and decent work for all. 9. Building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and supporting innovation. 10. Reduce inequalities within and between countries.. 11. Making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. 12. Ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns. 13. Take urgent measures to combat climate change and its consequences. 14.Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources. 15.

Protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems. Sustainably managing forests, combating desertification. Stop and reverse soil degradation and halt biodiversity loss. 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies geared toward sustainable development, ensure access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. 17.


Strengthen implementation arrangements and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development



.

7 An organization that brings together 130 NGOs.

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European Political Strategy Centre.
The Center is the Commission’s internal think tank. Provides professional and focused advice to the president. The ESPC consists of six expert groups with as many competencies: foreign affairs, institutional affairs, social affairs, information and communication activities, economics, and sustainable development.

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THE INRA (


Institut national de recherche agronomique


) is the first public agronomic research institute in Europe, aimed at promoting a productive agribusiness model and the development of sustainable agriculture.

10 These are the eight Recommendations for the future: 1. Keep food and nutrition security at the top of the global and national strategic agenda to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. 2. Strengthen a joint multi-sectoral approach to combat malnutrition. 3. Join forces to help partner countries deal with the impact of climate change. While implementing the best options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agricultural and rural areas. 4. Recognize rural transformation as an essential process for creating jobs. Increase incomes and achieve long-term food and nutrition security. 5. Improve mechanisms to increase responsible private sector participation and learn lessons from inclusive business models. 6. Ensure continued investment in research and innovation and gradually increase the impact of investment. 7. Strengthen the communication of results. 8. Strengthen joint programming.

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They are these


:

1. Improving efficiency in the use of resources is crucial to sustainable agriculture; 2. Sustainability requires direct action to conserve, protect and enhance natural resources; 3. Agriculture that fails to protect and improve rural livelihoods, equity and social well-being is unsustainable; 4. Enhanced resilience of people, communities and ecosystems is key to sustainable agriculture; 5. Sustainable food and agriculture requires responsible and effective governance mechanisms

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