JRC Food Security Conference reviews progress and upcoming challenges
The JRC-organised conference 'Scientific Support for Food Security and Global Governance', held on Wednesday 28 September in Brussels attracted 380 participants for a high-level discussion on the need to reconcile the necessity to increase production and competitiveness while respecting sustainable development in the framework of global governance. The conference focused on the links between food security and science, the interdependence between agriculture and environment, and the need for new global governance for improved food availability.
The daylong programme featured 21 speakers with attendees coming from national governments and international organisations EU Institutions, industry and NGOs, and research institutes and universities. Senior officials from the United Nations, the World Bank, the ACP Group of States and the EU presented ongoing initiatives ranging from crops monitoring and forecasting to concrete projects in the food system. Others analysed the sustainability of food production, food price volatility and food supply governance.
UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser Sir John Beddington argued for a transition to sustainable agriculture which will protect the environment and be resource efficient in a world of growing population. He said the upcoming Climate Change Conference, to be held in Durban, South Africa in December, offered the possibility to put agriculture firmly on the global climate change agenda.
In the closing remarks, JRC Director General Dominique Ristori said the conference offered strong evidence for the urgent necessity to invest in science and innovation for global food availability. Shared infrastructures and exchange of science-based knowledge are needed to turn capacities and knowledge into new products and new markets. He called for an interdisciplinary approach and a strong partnership between agriculture, environment, energy and development together with innovation and science. To achieve a sustainable intensification of the farming sector – he said - farmers should be placed inside the innovation chain with a capacity to invest and to reduce direct pressure on land and sea.
According to Mr Ristori, a new global governance is necessary, which will strengthen the links between producers, traders, governments and all other stakeholders. He pointed to G20 initiatives as a good start and emphasised the importance of the co-operation between the FAO and the World Bank.
The conference, held in English, was webstreamed to reach a wider audience.