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Monday, March 18, 2019
BRUSSELS, Jun 7 2018 - European Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan said Wednesday that his proposed farm subsidy reforms are designed to improve food sustainability and to end trade distortions fueling migration.
Speaking at the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) Foundation’s “International Forum on Food and Nutrition”, Hogan said his new Common Agriculture Policy 2021-2017 program will reduce spending on production of commodities often dumped in the developing world. At the same time, he said Europe was ending trade barriers on imports of food from the developing world.
“The CAP already has delivered a lot for the environment and sustainability, but has to do more,” he said.
Asked whether he supported a new focus on promoting healthy, nutritious and affordable foods, as proposed by the BCFN Foundation, as opposed to simply increasing production, Hogan gave a one-word reply, “Yes.”
The BCFN is calling for a shift to a “Common Agri-Food Policy” from a Common Agricultural Policy.
Hogan addressed a crowd of some 500 people in Brussels at the BCFN Forum. It is the first time that the BCFN Foundation has held the forum outside of Italy. Scheduled speakers included experts from the United Nations, think-tanks, civil society, entrepreneurs and activists including Bob Geldof, in addition to representatives of the European Parliament and European Commission. Speakers said that Hogan’s remarks go in the right direction – and need to be accelerated and deepened.
“We should be scared about the situation that is in front of us, but we should also be fascinated by the solution,” said Paolo Barilla, BCFN Vice Chairman, opening the conference.
“Phil Hogan’s comments are a positive sign, but need to move beyond the evolutionary approach to a more comprehensive reform,” said Barbara Buchner, Executive Director at Climate Finance and a member of the BCFN Advisory Board.
Food is central to all the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed in 2015. These include eliminating hunger, sustainable consumption and production, climate change mitigation and improving human health and well-being, among others.
“Food systems need to be radically rethought and transformed,” said Gerda Verburg, United Nations Assistant Secretary General. “They need to be refocused on producing high quality diets, not just calories.”
The BCFN Forum called on 2030 Agenda signatories to establish an Intergovernmental Panel on Food & Nutrition to address the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, environmental and social. It would be modeled after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the high-level group that successfully achieved an international consensus on the measures needed to tackle climate change.
The European Commission announced earlier this month plans to shrink farm in the 2021-2027 period to 365 billion euros, down 5 percent from the current CAP, the Commission said. This would represent a share of less than 30 percent of the total budget of 1.279 trillion euros, down from more than 45 percent 20 years earlier.
“The proposal is a clear improvement from what we have now,” said Leo Abruzzese, Global Director of Public Policy at The Economist Intelligence Unit, explaining that it would reduce subsidies, increase flexibility and devolve more authority to individual governments.
About the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation:
The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation (BCFN Foundation) is a multi-disciplinary research center, which analyses the causes of economic, scientific, social and environmental factors and the effects they have on the food system. It produces scientific content, which can be used to inform and help people to make responsible choices regarding food, nutrition, health and sustainability. The Advisory Board oversees the work of the BCFN Foundation. For more information: www.barillacfn.com.
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