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‘Common Food Policy’ will address CAP failings

An alliance of 200 farmers, NGOs, academics and scientists plan to create a new food policy for Europe after claiming that current policies are failing on sustainability.

Participants at the EU Food and Farming Forum met this week to design a comprehensive set of policy proposals for putting European food and farming systems on a sustainable footing under a so-called Common Food Policy.

The group has been convened by the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) on the eve of the European Commission publishing proposals to reform the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

IPES-Food says a Plan B for Europe is needed because the status quo is unsustainable economically, socially and environmentally. It cites statistics showing that one in four farms disappeared from the European landscape from 2003-2013; almost one in five adults in the EU are now obese; and food and farming systems account for up to 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions, as well as driving biodiversity loss and soil degradation.

“The main problem with the CAP is that it is still an agricultural policy in name and nature,” said Olivier De Schutter, IPES-Food co-chair and former UN special rapporteur on the right to food. “The policies governing food systems – CAP, trade, environment, health, food safety – are disconnected from one another, and too many priorities fall through the cracks.”

The forum is the culmination of two years of reflection on how to build sustainable food systems in Europe, including changes to the way food is produced, processed, sold and consumed.

A final report setting out a Common Food Policy is set to be delivered to EU policymakers in late 2018.