DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV.com PLC.
Olivier De Schutter is UN special rapporteur on the Right to Food (2008-2014) and co-chair of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food). Oscar Rivas, former Environment Minister of Paraguay. Karin Nansen, chair of Friends of the Earth International & founding member of REDES/ Friends of Earth Uruguay
Once again, the debate on reforming the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has got off on the wrong foot. After indications that CAP spending might be scythed to plug the black hole left by Brexit, we are talking once more about the size of the pot – and not what it should be used for.
Another CAP reform could come and go, therefore, without focusing on the critical question of how to put EU and global food systems on a sustainable footing in the face of climate change, ecosystem degradation, pressures on farm livelihoods and a rising obesity epidemic.
That is why the ‘European Soya Declaration’ is such a breath of fresh air. The German-Hungarian initiative, tabled earlier this month and up for adoption by EU agriculture ministers on 17-18 July, calls for a series of steps to increase European protein feed production (particularly soy) and to diversify agriculture in the process. As well as identifying major potential for increasing soy production in Central and Eastern Europe, the Declaration insists that soya imports – which will still be required to meet European demand – should be drawn from certified sustainable production systems.
The Declaration may be imperfect, and is yet to receive the formal endorsement of agriculture ministers. However, it is highly promising for several reasons.