Farmers, civil society groups, scientists, and policy makers will respond to an urgent search for a Plan B to the European Union’s agricultural policies at the EU Food and Farming Forum in Brussels on May 29–30, 2018.
The forum, organized by the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food), aims to develop policy proposals for a “Common Food Policy.” The policy intends to reform the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which some food system actors argue is limited in scope and disconnected from other EU food policies.
“The main problem with the CAP is that it is still an agricultural policy in name and nature,” says Olivier De Schutter, IPES-Food co-chair and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. “Too many priorities fall through the cracks.”
Sessions and working groups at the forum will focus on policies to integrate these priorities at the national and local levels. IPES-Food notes that CAP fails in sustainability and ensures the Common Food Policy will prioritize sustainability across all sectors of the food system. A Sustainable Food Scorecard will track whether farms and food producers meet sustainability goals.
According to IPES-Food, food and farming systems contribute up to 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions under CAP, as well as drive biodiversity loss and poor soil health.
“We need a fundamental transition to sustainable food and farming systems,” says De Shutter. “We need shifts in food production, processing, retail and consumption to occur at the same time.”
By involving more actors from the food system in the policy proposals, IPES-Food hopes to spark an EU-wide sustainable food movement. Speakers representing various food system sectors at the forum include Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food; Marie-Monique Robin, French documentary filmmaker; Rob Hopkins, founder of Transition Towns; and Paul McCartney, musician and vegetarian food activist. Policymakers from the EU and Canada will also speak at the event.