In autumn 2013, a group of Members of the European Parliament established a cross-party Steering Group on Sustainable Food. On 2 of April this group – operating under the name EU Food Sense – organised a Sustainable Food conference in Brussels together with Feeding the 5000.
The conference came at an important time, with the European Commission in the final stages of preparing a Communication on Sustainable Food. The Communication is expected to present a food chain perspective on how to achieve European food sustainability in future. Despite the European Parliament now in full election swing, the conference room was packed to witness an impressive panel of speakers outlining their views on priorities for a future EU food policy.
The take-home message was that the global food system, including the European, is seriously off-balance both in terms of agriculture, nutrition and health, and the environment. Ensuring the right to food through better nutrition instead of more food, reducing food waste, reducing dependence on large-scale livestock, and the need for more joint-up policies were recurring themes.
Olivier De Schutter, UN Rapporteur on the Right to Food, gave a fabulous analysis of the key structural challenges that we need to overcome. He stressed the critical importance of clear and measureable European commitments to assess progress towards a more sustainable food system. A timely demand now that the European Commission is preparing resource efficiency targets, in which food waste reduction will play an important role.
The Commission announced it will publish its Communication in July, presenting both a vision on what a sustainable food system will look like, as well as pragmatic first steps for both the European Commission as well as other key stakeholders to achieve it. The Commission highlighted the work of LiveWell as an extremely interesting effort to marry the health and environment communities and address the long-term sustainability of eating patterns. You will find the conference video here.
LiveWell for LIFE policy officer – WWF EPO