European Green Deal latest – new commitments on food and nature

The EU has published the highly anticipated Farm to Fork Strategy and Biodiversity Strategy this week, shaping the future of food systems and nature protection in the Union. These strategies are at the heart of the European Green Deal and aim to build our resilience to future climate threats, as well as supporting a green recovery following the pandemic.

What is the Farm to Fork Strategy?

The Farm to Fork Strategy aims to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally positive. Today, food systems account for nearly one third of greenhouse gas emissions and consume huge amounts of natural resources, which degrade habitats and endanger species. This causes biodiversity loss around the globe, a range of negative health impacts and often unfair economic returns for producers. We need food systems to become sustainable urgently if we are to mitigate risks from climate change, and to make sure we are resilient to future crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the new strategy, policymakers have acknowledged that our future food systems should help to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts, as well as generate fairer economic returns while making sure everyone has access to safe, nutritious and affordable food.

Reacting to the Farm to Fork Strategy, ClientEarth lawyer Marc Pittie said: “This strategy contains clear targets as we’d hoped, and recognises that building a resilient and environmentally stable food system will take a paradigm shift.”

However, ClientEarth’s key concern with the Farm to Fork strategy is that its true value will only be made available if supported by existing policies. The Common Agricultural Policy or ‘CAP’ is a huge subsidy mechanism that funds farmers all over the EU – and, if not properly amended, elements of it no longer align with what’s being proposed in the Farm to Fork Strategy.

Our lawyers are anxious to see these issues addressed so the Farm to Fork Strategy can really do its job.

What is the Biodiversity Strategy?

Alongside the Farm to Fork Strategy, the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy aim is to ensure people and nature are protected from present and future threats such as climate change impacts, forest fires and disease outbreaks. It covers how the protection of wildlife is crucial to the long-term health of the planet and how larger protected areas on land and sea will be established over the next decade, with particular focus on areas of very high biodiversity.

Our Head of Wildlife, Anna Heslop, said: “The EU’s commitment to seek an ambitious global biodiversity framework with stronger mechanisms for implementation and ratcheting up ambition shows that the Commission is serious about putting nature at the heart of its agenda.

“If the EU is to become a leader in the fight to address the biodiversity crisis, it must truly deliver on the commitments in the new strategy.”

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