WORKSHOP "Sustainability of the EU's Livestock Production Systems"

Brussels, Belgium
From Wednesday, 14 September, 2016 to Thursday, 15 September, 2016
Livestock is increasingly criticized for its environmental impacts. At the same time, it counts for very significant parts of human diets and many livestock production systems deliver valuable socio-economic and positive environmental outcomes. How can livestock systems be geared towards greater sustainability? The question is high on the agenda of both farmers and researchers. EC invited experts to discuss how embedding systems approaches in research could help.

The EU's livestock sector is confronted with a complex mix of challenges, putting pressure on its sustainability. Considering the way it is mostly depicted, it would be a sector with only problems and little to no positive aspects. However, as always, reality is more complex, as the positive contributions from the sector are often neglected. In most cases sustainability questions often require more elaborate answers than a simple yes or no. To balance the different dimensions and grasp this complexity, a more systematic perspective is needed. One sided and linear approaches are being criticized as not comprehensive enough. Integrated approaches should bring together different perspectives and dimensions, to come to more holistic solutions via research and innovation.

With this in mind a workshop was organised to build an accurate picture of the livestock production systems in the circular economy, or to discuss activities necessary to build such a picture. The idea was to create an overview of the issues at stake, to identify gaps in knowledge, bottle necks and trade-offs and possible orientations in research with promising, holistic solutions. These solutions should take into account the tripod of sustainability.

Experts with multidisciplinary backgrounds have been invited to reflect jointly on the multi-faceted problems related to the sustainability of European livestock production systems. The discussion will feed into the drafting process for the agriculture related section of the upcoming H2020 Work Programme.



Participant List




13:00 – 14:00 Presentations on the environmental dimension


15:30 - 16:30 Presentations on the socio-economic dimension