A Plan B for Europe - As CAP reform proposals are launched, 200 food system actors come together to design a Common Food Policy

(Brussels - May 29) On the eve of CAP reform proposals, participants at the EU Food and Farming Forum came together to deliver a Plan B for Europe – a blueprint for a ‘Common Food Policy’ shaped by more than 200 farmers, civil society groups, scientists and policymakers from the local, national and EU level.

The Forum (May 29-30) is the culmination of two years of reflection on how to build sustainable food systems in Europe, led by the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food).

Olivier De Schutter, IPES-Food co-chair and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, said: “The main problem with the CAP is that it is still an agricultural policy in name and nature.”

“The policies governing food systems - CAP, trade, environment, health, food safety - are disconnected from one another, and too many priorities fall through the cracks.”

“We need a fundamental transition to sustainable food and farming systems. We need shifts in food production, processing, retail and consumption to occur at the same time. And we need a clear direction of travel at EU level. That is why we need a Common Food Policy.”

A Plan B is needed because current policies are failing on sustainability. The status quo is unsustainable economically: 1 in 4 farms disappeared from the European landscape from 2003-2013; it is unsustainable socially: almost one in five adults in the EU are now obese; and it is unsustainable environmentally: food and farming systems account for up to 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions, as well as driving biodiversity loss and soil degradation.

Participants at the EU Food and Farming Forum will co-develop a comprehensive set of policy proposals for putting European food and farming systems on sustainable footing under a ‘Common Food Policy’.

The blueprint for reform that emerges from the Forum will have been built on democratic debate. More than 30 think tanks, NGOs and farming groups have been working together since September 2017 to prepare the ground for EU3F. At the Forum, more than 200 participants from across Europe will engage in two days of intensive debate to refine the proposals.

De Schutter added: “A Common Food Policy must be different to the CAP in another important way - by rooting itself in new forms of participation and involving a wider range of actors.”

“Building an EU-wide food movement is both a means to building a Common Food Policy, and an end in itself. Public health campaigners in Slovenia may not see common cause with organic seed companies in Spain or community-supported agriculture networks in Germany.”

“Yet achievement of all of their goals depends on radically changing the incentives in food and farming systems, including EU-level policies. Building shared understandings between these actors would create a powerful voice for change.”

Participants will hear from leading voices in the sustainable food movement: Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini, French filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin, Transition Towns founder Rob Hopkins, and musician and campaigner Paul McCartney (by video address). They will also hear from policymakers driving food system reform at various levels, including city-region ministers, national parliamentarians, MEPs and high-level representatives of the European Commission, EESC and Committee of the Regions (see full programme).

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