May 23. 2024. 7:46

The Daily

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Security is big

Some words are bigger than others. When accompanied by “food”, the term “security” is one of them.

As we reported last week, in the very preliminary stages of the EU leaders’ work on the strategic agenda for 2024-29, “food security” appears to have replaced “food sustainability,” which was considered a priority in 2019.

The two-page text from which our story started is just the beginning of a work of word filings that will be long and painstaking, as is the EU tradition.

The text will only find a final set-up at the end of June. But tying “food” with “security” instead of “sustainability” has caused reactions – NGOs called it “deeply troubling” while the leading figures in the farming community hailed it.

For decades now, especially in the last five years, the debate at the EU level has placed security and sustainability in opposite camps.

In one of them, the term has been hailed as a synonym for high production and competitiveness. In the other, the same term has been mainly intended as a depletion of natural resources.

The introduction in the debate of the slippery concept of “food sovereignty” has complicated things further.

The internationally recognised concept of food security covers four dimensions: physical availability of food, economic access to it, utilisation (the food must be sufficient and nutritious), and stability of the three other dimensions over time.

In 2020, the FAO’s high-level group of experts proposed to add two new dimensions.

In a document also mentioned in the latest European Commission exercise on “the drivers of food security”, the FAO experts urged decision-makers to update their policy tools, considering “Sustainability” and “Agency” as “key aspects” of food security.

Sustainability is the long-term ability to ensure food and nutrition security without compromising the economic, social, and environmental conditions that will enable food security for future generations.

The agency refers to the ability of individuals or groups to make their own decisions about the food they produce and consume and how it is produced, processed, and distributed within food systems.

It could be translated into sovereignty if the whole political spectrum did not nonchalantly wield that concept as a club.

So, regarding food, security is a concept larger than others.

It is so big that it can reconcile the ambition to produce sufficient food, actions to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis, and the call from farmers to be more recognised for their role in the food chain.


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Read more with Euractiv

The French Council of State again suspends national ban on meat names for plant products

The French Council of State again suspends national ban on meat names for plant products

For the second time in two years, the Council of State has suspended a government decree banning the naming of meat for plant products, pending the decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ)