How more inclusive food policies could help the EU live long and prosper

March 3rd 2015

Brigitte Alarcon

Brigitte Alarcon

LiveWell for LIFE has identified eight policy recommendations which we believe can greatly support the adoption of healthy, sustainable diets. These were presented at ‘On our plate today: healthy and sustainable food choices’ which took place in Brussels 11 December.

In this blog, Brigitte Alarcon Sustainable Food Policy Officer – LiveWell for LIFE, talks about the topic of recommendation number seven: ensure a sportive, cohesive policy environment.

Working on sustainable food for almost two years, the publication of the European Commission (EC) Communication on the sustainability of the food system[1] has become a slight obsession of mine. The Communication was originally scheduled to be published in 2013; however, despite a successful consultation it is yet to materialise . This is why I’m glad LiveWell for LIFE will soon deliver a call to action to the EC. Signed by a number of European businesses, NGOs and policy-makers, we’re asking that the Communication is brought back to life.

At EU level, difficulties to reach consensus on – and ultimately, publish – a Communication on the sustainability of the food system have shined a light both on the high number of Commission officials having a say on this topic and the lack of synergies between them. Seeing the importance of food production and consumption to issues such as the climate, resource efficiency, public health and farmers’ livelihoods, the existing framework and lack of joined-up approach can only be described as highly illogical. Ironically, improving food policy coherence was one of the areas for action which were presented for discussion in the consultation on the Communication[2]. And a number of responses to the consultation pointed out inconsistencies and incoherence between policies.

Final recommendations - executive summary

LiveWell final recommendations

This is what our LiveWell policy recommendation #7 aims to tackle: it advocates that policy-makers “ensure a supportive, cohesive policy environment” and states: “we want governments to put policy measures in place to support informed action for and monitoring of progress by all stakeholders. The EC should use its existing stakeholder platforms to swap best practices between member states and other stakeholders.”

The publication of the Communication would put us on the right track towards greater policy coherence and the development of more effective food policies. So here is to hoping that the new Commission will boldly go where no Commission has gone before, drastically change its approach to food policies and publish an ambitious Communication on the sustainability of the food system.

Brigitte Alarcon

Sustainable Food Policy Officer – LiveWell for LIFE

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