In 2021, UN Secretary-General António Guterres will convene a Food Systems Summit as part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The Summit will focus on the the fact that we all must work together to transform the way the world produces, consumes and thinks about food.
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Food is at the centre of our lives and an integral part of the European culture. However, the food we eat, the ways we produce it and the amounts wasted have major impacts on human health, natural resources and society as a whole:
- Citizens –and children in particular– are increasingly suffering from overweight and obesity due to unhealthy diets.
- Farmers and workers do not get a fair price for their produce.
- One third of food is lost or wasted across the food chain.
- The environment is paying the bill with the dramatic effects of food production and consumption on climate change, loss of biodiversity, air and water pollution, soil degradation, etc.
The COVID-19 crisis is a wake-up call for change. It has demonstrated that getting food "from farm to fork" cannot be taken for granted and has shown the interconnectedness of actors and activities throughout the food system. Fair, resource efficient, inclusive and sustainable supply chains in the whole agriculture and food sector are needed more than ever to deliver equally for citizens, farmers, workers and business.
The EESC has been for years at the forefront of calling for a sustainable and comprehensive food policy. Such an integrated and systemic approach is essential to tackle the multiple and interconnected challenges affecting food systems; to deliver economic, environmental and socio-cultural sustainability; to ensure integration and coherence across policy areas (such as agriculture, environment, health, education, trade, economy, technology, etc.); and to promote cooperation across levels of governance.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted the opinion From Farm to Fork: a sustainable food strategy at its September Plenary session, following the European Commission's communication on the Farm to Fork Strategy - for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system. As an integral part of the European Green Deal, this is the first EU strategy claiming to encompass the entirety of the food chain.
In light of the two newly adopted strategies of the European Commission on Biodiversity and Sustainable Food, we have put together some relevant infographics that illustrate the aim of these strategies.
The EESC suggests increasing focus on sustainable, healthy diets for 2020
The Christmas festivities are over, and now it is time for many Europeans to rethink their diets and beware of obesity. The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) takes the beginning of a new year and decade as an opportunity to remind us that obesity is the cause of many diseases, and affirms its support for EU initiatives that accelerate a shift towards healthier, more sustainable diets for citizens.
How to link sustainable food procurement with strategic policies or climate change actions? How to overcome public procurement issues related to purchasing "local & regional food"? If 1€ invested in sustainable school meals brings up to 6€ in social return in investment imagine the impact of sustainable school meals all across Europe! ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability in partnership with the Committee of the Regions and the Organic Cities Network Europe invite you to the 30th edition of Breakfast at Sustainability.
EESC puts forward proposal to increase their contributions. The bioeconomy is a crucial factor in fighting climate change, responding to the growing food demand and boosting rural areas. In its opinion on the Updating of the Bioeconomy Strategy, adopted at its plenary session of 15 May, the EESC calls for better support for SMEs in the form of advice and access to finance
Food is at the centre of our lives and an integral part of the European culture. Food also plays a crucial role in our economy: it is the Union’s biggest manufacturing sector in terms of employment and contribution to GDP. Also, the food we eat, the ways we produce it and the amounts wasted have major impacts on human health, on natural resources and on society as a whole.
Today, as a true pan-European collaborative venture, the European Commission, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), COPA-COGECA and IFOAM Organics Europe are together launching the first ever EU organic awards. These awards will recognise excellence along the organic value chain, rewarding the best and most innovative actors in organic production in the EU. Applications will be open from 25 March until 8 June 2022.
With Europe slowly getting back on track after the COVID-19 crisis, it is high time to move from words to action and implement the Farm to Fork strategy. The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) strongly advocates supporting the transformation of Europe's food systems so that they are more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable, and notes that consumers have a key role to play in this context.
This thematic debate aims to discuss the impacts of the war on food security worldwide, with a focus on some specific world regions; further actions that will be needed to ensure food security while fostering resilient and sustainable food systems and the role civil society can play in ensuring food security both in Europe and beyond.