Towards more sustainable food systems – the transition must be inclusive and fair

Sustainable food Systems

To contribute to the 2021 United Nations (UN) Food Systems Summit, the EESC held an online hearing on 28 May to explore the vulnerabilities and inequalities of European food systems and to identify how to achieve more equitable and fairer supply chains. High-level speakers from the UN, the European Commission and the European Parliament shared their views on the changes needed to strengthen equity, fairness and a rights-based approach in the transition to more sustainable food systems.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a wake-up call for change. Although farmers and food system workers have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis and have provided an uninterrupted supply of food for all Europeans, "this crisis has underlined the fact that getting food 'from farm to fork' is not something that can be taken for granted," said Andreas Thurner, president of the EESC Thematic Study Group on Sustainable Food Systems.

The EESC has developed several proposals and specific ideas over the years, which can be summarised in five sets of recommendations to feed into the UN Food Systems Summit:

I. Foster comprehensive and integrated food policies;

II. Promote healthier and more sustainable diets;

III. Ensure fair prices and ban unfair trading practices;

IV. Enhance the potential of short food supply chains and agroecology;

V. Ensure structured involvement and participation of civil society. (mr)