Youth Climate and Sustainability Round Table #3

Following the success of the previous Youth Climate and Sustainability Round Tables, the EESC, in cooperation with the European Youth Forum and Generation Climate Europe, will host the third EU Youth Round Table on Wednesday 30 November, 14:30-16:00 CET.

Janusz Wojciechowski,  European Commissioner for Agriculture, will participate in the event and engage with the youth representatives on the topics of food security and sustainable food systems.

The agri-food sector is both contributing to and suffering from the climate crisis, more so than any other sector. EU agriculture generates 10 % of global GHG emissions (without counting emissions and deforestation that arise outside the EU as a result of EU agricultural activity, through the importation of inputs such as feed and fertiliser), half of it originating from the livestock sector. Simultaneously, rising temperatures, long-term droughts, irregular precipitation and extreme weather events create uncertainty for farmers, diminish crop yields and destroy entire ecosystems and face new pests. Therefore food security, food systems and their contribution to high GHG emissions, and support for small-scale and subsistence farmers for adaptation are topics that must be at the top of the agenda when discussing the climate crisis and green transition.

Food and agricultural policies do not just concern farmers but also all the stakeholders in the food supply chain. These policies shape the conditions under which our food is grown and cultivated, determine what and how we eat, and have major impacts on biodiversity, landscapes and the climate. Policies related to the agri-food sector also have significant social impacts, influencing the size of farms and agri-food businesses, the use of land, and agricultural economics, which consequently affects harvests, income and the health of both people and the environment. These impacts often have huge regional disparities and affect the most vulnerable groups of our society. It is crucial that today's agriculture policies are designed in an inclusive and participatory way. Farm numbers have been on the decline for decades. Without making the sector more sustainable and attractive for the next generation, Europe risks losing its producers sooner or later, and sliding into a food security crisis. Young people especially have long been underrepresented in agriculture and policy discussions related to the agri-food sectors, despite demonstrating sincere interest, such as the strong reactions from youth on the latest Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 2020. A financial heavyweight encompassing almost one third of the EU budget, the CAP and related policies constitute important road maps for years to come.

The next EU Youth Round Table will bring together young people from all over Europe to discuss their visions on sustainable and inclusive agricultural policies and food systems with Commissioner Wojciechowski. The event will discuss topics such as: How can we reduce emissions from food production while ensuring food security? Which policies can support young farmers in adapting to the challenging consequences of the climate crisis? How can we ensure that the green transition is fair and equitable in the agri-food sector?

No registration required: the event will be webstreamed on the EESC's dedicated webpage. Watch it live!