Knowledge for better food systems

Towards a common food policy for the EU

This report from IPES Food argues for a new approach to governing food systems in Europe, where sustainability goals are integrated across policies for different sectors, including agriculture, trade, food safety, environment and research.

The report outlines conflicts between existing policies. For example, the advisory services that farmers need to meet strict environmental standards are ill-equipped, the report says, while anti-obesity strategies coexist with agri-food policies that make unhealthy foods cheap and abundant.

The Common Food Policy proposed by the report would align actions at the European Union, national and local levels.

The report sets out several policy proposals, as shown in the table below.

The report also sets out more detailed policy proposals under each of the following themes:

  1. Ensuring access to land, water and healthy soils
  2. Rebuilding climate-resilient, healthy agro-ecosystems
  3. Promoting sufficient, healthy and sustainable diets for all
  4. Building fairer, shorter and cleaner supply chains
  5. Putting trade in the service of sustainable development

Read the full report, Towards a common food policy for the European Union: The policy reform and realignment that is required to build sustainable food systems in Europe, here. See also the Foodsource resource How can we reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions?

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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