Claiming “Europe’s current approach to food, agriculture and the environment is not sustainable,” European national science academies launched a report on tackling nutrition, climate change, and decreasing food waste at the Palais des Académies (Brussels) today (26 April).

Calling on EU policy-makers to “urgently” re-think their approach to food and agriculture, ‘Opportunities and Challenges for Research on Food and Nutrition Security and Agriculture in Europe’ was co-produced by the European national science academies and InterAcademy Partnership (IAP).

In order to “address negative impacts of climate change on food systems and encourage healthy, environmentally sustainable diets,” the organisations suggest implementing a ‘food systems approach,’ which encompasses all steps involved, including growing, processing, transporting, trading, purchasing and consuming food right down to avoiding waste.

Representing the EU, Norway, and Switzerland, the national science academies argue that the current siloed policy is “not the way forward” and that a higher level of political ambition is required.

If Europe is to lead the way in tackling nutrition, climate change and food waste, Professor Joachim von Braun, project co-chair and director of the Center for Development Research (ZEF), said: “A food systems approach is critical to tackling some of the most pressing issues of our day, such as climate change, sustainable land and water use, food waste, and of course human health.

“This calls for science initiatives that cut across disciplines, tailored to the complexity of food systems by both, EU and Member States.”

Professor Volker ter Meulen, co-chair of the project and president of IAP, added: “This report is part of a larger project involving 130 science academies around the globe.

“Europe’s approach to food, agriculture, and the environment is crucial because Europe’s actions affect others around the world. The status quo in Europe on food and agriculture – which has huge implications for climate change and health – is not sustainable.

“We hope this project will help change the status quo on these issues, which will also contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change in Europe and around the world.”

The full report can be viewed here: