In the past few years, civil society has been increasingly concerned about the environmental and social impact of food production and consumption. At the request of the Dutch EU Presidency, the EESC is preparing an exploratory opinion on how to achieve sustainable food systems in a resource-constrained world. The opinion takes a holistic and comprehensive approach, looking at the interdependence of food production and consumption as well as fostering inter-sectoral cooperation.
There is a global increase in demand for bioenergy. This is a positive development if managed sustainably. It can contribute to several policy objectives such as agricultural and rural development, climate change mitigation and better energy access and security [...]
The opinion aim to look into options for promoting sustainable production of "food and fuel", and particularly how civil society can contribute. What does the EU biofuel policy mean for European and global food security? What regulatory frameworks are necessary to make it sustainable? What support for implementation is needed? How can the competition of land-use be better managed?
In December 2010 the Committee adopted an opinion on the cultivation of GMO's in the EU, CESE 1623/2010 (NAT/480). The opinion was of a predominantly legal character. Nevertheless, it concerns an issue which is extremely complex in nature, and on which many different opinions exist between Member States. A long series of amendments were tabled on the draft opinion both in the Section and the Plenary. Furthermore, given the fact that the file is currently at the centre of discussion between EU institutions and that a total review of the EU legislative framework for GMO's is foreseen in 2012, the Committee may have to take a position again next year.
Therefore, the requesting body is of the opinion that the issue of GMO's merits a supplementary opinion to explore the state of affairs in biotechnology and shed some light on the more technical questions of its application.
The own-initiative opinion, prepared by the EESC Permanent Study Group on Sustainable Food Systems, will aim to identify existing challenges, policy inconsistencies and obstacles to a more coherent food policy approach at EU level; to provide examples of ongoing transitions to more sustainable food policies at local/regional/national level; to highlight the role of civil society in building partnerships among stakeholders across the food supply chain; and to define how a comprehensive food policy for the EU should look, including an indicative roadmap.