The European Council released its position on the priorities of the Union vis-à-vis the United Nations Summit on Food Systems. Following the position adopted by the Council, the discussions that will take place in Rome and New York in the coming months should follow the European logic of the Farm to Fork strategy. The big question is – will other countries follow?
While this summit has not yet taken place, its preparation has already been the subject of many debates. Proposed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the food systems summit aims to bring all the actors in the food chain to the table of negotiations in order to propose healthier, more sustainable, and fairer food systems as part of the UN sustainable development goals. Discussions on the preparation of this summit have been underway for months and in many ways echo the ongoing discussions at the European level on the Farm to Fork strategy.
It is therefore not surprising to find some similar strengths and weaknesses in the approach proposed by the European Council. As in the European debates, the focus of the “food system” has for consequence a dilution of the farmer's voices in these very global discussions. It is therefore not surprising to see the word "farmers" mentioned only twice in the document. In this context, the announcement of consultation with all the stakeholders at the EU level is more than welcome.
Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen questions, "The Council and the European Union as a whole want to be in the leading position, but there is a risk that European agriculture will have to pay a high price if the other participants do not follow us. More than this Summit as such, the question the European farming community wants to know the answer to most is what will ultimately be the follow-up mechanisms Europe will manage to impose to ensure compliance with the agreement that will be reached in New York.”
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