Procedure : 2015/2574(RSP)
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further to Question for Oral Answer B8‑0109/2015

pursuant to Rule 128(5) of the Rules of Procedure

on Milano Expo 2015: Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life (2015/2574(RSP))

Paolo De Castro on behalf of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

European Parliament resolution on Milano Expo 2015: Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life (2015/2574(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the decision of the International Exhibitions Bureau to organise a universal exhibition in Milan from 1 May to 30 October 2015 on the theme ‘Feeding the Planet: Energy for Life’,

–       having regard to the Commission decision of 3 May 2013 on the participation of the Commission in the World Expo 2015 in Milan (C(2013)2507),

–       having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 3 May 2013 entitled ‘EU Participation at the World Expo 2015 in Milan “Feeding the Planet: Energy for Life”ʼ (COM(2013)0255),

–       having regard to the work of the European Union Scientific Steering Committee, supported by the Commission and Parliament and launched on 21 March 2014 to provide expert advice on the challenges of food and nutrition security and to give guidance on the programme of events for Expo 2015,

–       having regard to the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in September 2000 and the draft Sustainable Development Goals to be adopted by the next United Nations General Assembly in September 2015,

–       having regard to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) publication ‘World agriculture towards 2030/2050: the 2012 revision’,

–       having regard to the 2014 FAO International Year of Family Farming,

–       having regard to the 2015 FAO International Year of Soils,

–       having regard to its resolution of 18 January 2011 on recognition of agriculture as a strategic sector in the context of food security(1),

–       having regard to its resolution of 19 January 2012 on how to avoid food wastage: strategies for a more efficient food chain in the EU(2),

–       having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, in particular to Article 25 thereof, which recognises the right to food as part of the right to an adequate standard of living,

–       having regard to the question to the Commission on Milano Expo 2015: Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life (O-000016/2015 – B8-0109/2015),

–       having regard to the motion for a resolution of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development,

–       having regard to Rules 128(5) and 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.     whereas the theme of Milan Expo 2015 is ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’ and the event could provide a serious boost to the debate on improving food production and food distribution, tackling food waste, promoting and developing already-existing positive approaches to face the challenge of food insecurity, malnutrition and poor diets and striking a balance between supply and consumption;

B.     whereas the theme of Expo Milano 2015 provides an opportunity to consider and discuss various approaches to resolving the paradoxes of a globalised world where, on the one hand, around 870 million people are undernourished and going hungry while, on the other, around 2.8 million are dying as a result of health problems linked to poor nutrition, obesity and overweight;

C.     whereas Milan Expo 2015 coincides with the target year of both the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the UN International Year of Soils, and should be inspirational to the debate on the new Sustainable Development Goals, whose final draft is going through the negotiation phase, and whereas agriculture, food and nutrition security are at the heart of this exercise;

D.     whereas Expo 2015 is drafting a ‘Milan Charter’, a document to be submitted to the UN Secretary-General as a legacy of Expo 2015 and a contribution to the international debate on the Millennium Development Goals;

E.     whereas the Expo 2015 themes primarily concern the agriculture sector, which remains a keystone for the Union’s economy, given that agricultural exports represent two thirds of its total external trade, that the Union remains the biggest agricultural exporter in the world and that the EU’s food sector generates an annual turnover of almost EUR 1 trillion and employs more than 4 million people;

F.     whereas the EU Scientific Steering Committee for Expo 2015 foresees the need to pursue new knowledge in some specific areas and to promote better public understanding of food and food production within the agricultural sector through education and communication, so that people recognise the global impact of their individual food choices;

G.     whereas the experience of civil society and its contribution to the debate on the Expo 2015 issues are crucial and its experience and initiatives should be encouraged to develop a substantial international debate and guidelines aimed at mitigating the global crises surrounding food and nutrition;

H.     whereas healthy soils are not only a fundamental requirement for the production of food, fuel, fibre and medicines, but also essential for our ecosystems, since they play a major role in the carbon cycle, while they also store and filter water and help to tackle flooding and drought;

I.      whereas, in order to ensure full transparency for Expo 2015, the Open Expo platform is openly publishing all information regarding the management, organisation and conduct of the event, thereby setting what may be regarded as a good example of transparency;

J.      whereas the FAO estimates that global population growth from 7 billion to 9.1 billion will require a 70 % increase in food supply by the year 2050, while the same projections suggest that production increases alone would not be sufficient to ensure food security for everyone;

K.     whereas the number of people suffering from hunger amounted to 925 million in 2010, according to the FAO; and more than one third of the deaths of under-five-year-olds are attributable to under nutrition;

L.     whereas the FAO estimates an increase of only 4.3 % in arable land in use in 2050;

M.    whereas growth in per capita income in emerging countries is driving a shift in diets towards products with a higher protein content, including animal-based proteins, and processed products, thus promoting a process of dietary convergence worldwide as experienced by richer populations;

N.     whereas diets containing a high proportion of animal products require the consumption of significantly more resources than diets containing a high proportion of vegetable products;

O.     whereas agriculture provides employment and a livelihood for more than 70 % of the labour force, mainly women, in developing countries; whereas the World Bank estimates that growth in the agricultural sector is twice as effective at reducing poverty as growth in other sectors;

P.     whereas areas of food insecurity exist in the EU and 79 million people in the EU still live below the poverty line, while 124.2 million people, or 24.8 %, are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, compared with 24.3 % in 2011;

Q.     whereas only half of all developing countries (62 out of 118) are on track to achieve the MDG target;

R.     whereas the universal right to food and good nutrition is paramount to achieving the MDGs; whereas nutrition is linked to most, if not all, of the MDGs, which are themselves closely interrelated;

S.     whereas various international legal instruments link the right to food to other human rights, including people’s rights to life, livelihood, health, property, education and water;

T.     whereas the share of official development assistance (ODA) allocated to agriculture internationally has fallen dramatically over the last three decades;

U.     whereas the concept of food and nutrition security (FNS) does not only mean the availability of food supplies, but also includes the right to food, accurate information about what we eat and universal, sustainable access to healthy nutrition, which includes other factors such as sanitation, hygiene, vaccination and deworming;

V.     whereas hunger and malnutrition are the main causes of human mortality and the greatest threats to world peace and security;

W.    whereas volatile food prices have negative consequences for food security and the food supply chain;

X.     whereas the global economic downturn and rising food and fuel prices have worsened the food situation in many developing countries, especially the least developed countries, thus partly setting back the last decade’s progress on poverty reduction;

Y.     whereas fragile agricultural markets in developing countries make food supplies excessively vulnerable to natural disasters, conflict and public health crises;

Z.     whereas the food system both contributes to and is affected by climate change, which has implications for the availability of natural resources and on conditions for agricultural and industrial production;

AA.  whereas natural disasters caused by climate change have a severe impact on EU Member States and overseas, threatening food security and food sovereignty, especially in already vulnerable situations;

AB.  whereas the Commission estimates that 30 % of food worldwide is lost or wasted and that by 2020 annual food waste in the European Union, currently approximately 89 million tonnes (179 kg per capita), will rise to approximately 126 million tonnes – a 40 % increase – unless preventative actions or measures are taken;

AC.  whereas better management of the food sector would mean more efficient land use, better water resource management, and positive effects on the whole agricultural sector worldwide, while also furthering the fight against undernourishment and poor diets in the developing world;

AD.  whereas hunger, poor diets and undernutrition coexist with paradoxical levels of obesity and diseases attributable to unbalanced diets, which have social and economic consequences with a sometimes dramatic impact on human health;

AE.   whereas investment trade agreements could have a detrimental effect on food security and malnutrition if the leasing or selling off of arable land to private investors results in depriving local populations of access to production resources indispensable to their livelihoods, or in large portions of food being exported and sold on international markets, thereby making the host state more dependent on – and more vulnerable to – fluctuation in commodity prices on international markets;

AF.   whereas hunger cannot be sustainably ended by simply supplying enough food for everybody; whereas this will only be achieved by allowing small-scale farmers to be able to keep and work their land, maintaining fair-trade systems, and sharing knowledge, innovation and sustainable practices;

AG.  whereas it is appropriate to recognise the key role of farmers and in particular that of family farming in ensuring global food security;

AH.  whereas it is appropriate to recognise the multiple functions fulfilled by agriculture and forestry, which, in addition to producing food, are of key importance to public wellbeing in terms of landscape quality, biodiversity, climate stability and the mitigation of natural disasters such as flooding, drought and fires;

1.      Stresses that the following are vital to meeting the food security challenge: a strong and sustainable agricultural sector across the EU, a thriving and diversified rural economy, a clean environment, and family farms, supported by a robust, fairer, internationally sustainable and appropriately financed common agricultural policy;

2.      Considers that environmental sustainability will only be possible and efforts to adapt to and mitigate climate change will only succeed if farms are economically sustainable and farmers are given access to land, credit and training;

3.      Urges the Commission and the Member States to leverage the theme of Milan Expo 2015 ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’ to set commitments to fulfilling the right to adequate, healthy, sustainable and informed food consumption;

4.      Calls on the Commission to ensure that the ‘EU pavilion’ at Expo 2015 raises awareness of the need to address urgent problems in the entire food supply chain, including the long-term sustainability of food production, distribution and consumption, to tackle food waste and to combat the problem of malnutrition, poor diets and obesity;

5.      Stresses that the right to food is a basic human right and can only be achieved when all people have access to suitable, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs for an active and healthy life;

6.      Underlines the fact that access to food is a prerequisite for reducing poverty and inequality and achieving the MDGs;

7.      Stresses that the fight against undernutrition and the provision of universal access to adequate nutritious food should remain one of the most important targets of the post-2015 agenda under the goal of ending hunger, with a specific call to end all forms of malnutrition by 2030;

8.      Believes that increased volatility in food markets poses problems for sustainability and requires us to step up measures to boost security of food supply and the environmental sustainability of food production by tackling the scarcity of natural resources and promoting research and innovation in agriculture;

9.      Believes that appropriate institutional, regulatory and monitoring frameworks can promote an environment for developing robust, sustainable, equitable, affordable and diversified agricultural market systems;

10.    Is of the opinion that small-scale farming and organic, high nature value (HNV) or tree-based agriculture should be promoted as models particularly effective in delivering sustainability in global food production;

11.    Calls on the Commission to encourage more efficient agronomic practices, such as agroecological and diversification approaches and improved sustainable agriculture resource management, in order to: reduce the input costs of agricultural production and nutrient wastage, enhance knowledge and innovation transfer, foster resource efficiency, and increase the diversity of crops and sustainability in farming systems;

12.    Calls on the Commission to support research on land management and sustainable intensification by promoting a more efficient use of nutrients, water and energy; increasing the focus on the conservation of water and soil resources; further adapting biological measures for pest control (integrated pest management, or IPM); and promoting research with a view to improving yields while reducing the environmental impact;

13.    Is concerned about the emergence of land grabbing and its implications for food security in developing countries and the future of agriculture and farmers;

14.    Calls on the Commission to raise awareness among Member States and encourage them to use the land ‘resource’ with a view to sustainability, which is necessary in order to achieve food security and proper nutrition, to adapt to and mitigate climate change, and for sustainable development in general;

15.    Underlines the importance of tackling land degradation, which is further exacerbating poverty and food insecurity;

16.    Calls on the Commission to encourage the worldwide implementation of the UN-FAO Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests, both on the side of the investors and on the side of target countries;

17.    Calls on the Commission to help achieve, at global level, the goals of the FAO in order to support the development of agricultural, environmental and social policies that encourage sustainable family farming;

18.    Stresses that the current imbalances in the food supply chain threaten the sustainability of food production, and calls for increased transparency and fairness in the chain and the elimination of unfair trading practices and other market distortions in order to ensure a fair return for farmers, fair profits and pricing along the food supply chain and a viable agricultural sector that will deliver food security; calls, therefore, on the Commission to take all necessary steps to ensure that these goals are achieved as soon as possible;

19.    Takes the view that the Commission and the Member States should promote policies aimed at combating unfair practices, the existence of which has been recognised by the Commission’s High Level Forum, for a better functioning food supply chain;

20.    Stresses that in order to deliver food security, it is necessary to vigorously combat land loss and the abandonment of marginal farming areas;

21.    Highlights the key role of rural development for the economic and social growth of the land and calls for support for young farmers;

22.    Calls on the Commission to work towards an ambitious international agreement that includes food for climate change mitigation, in view of the international discussions of the Paris 2015 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change;

23.    Calls on the Council to recognise the role of the whole agricultural sector in both mitigating and adapting to climate change;

24.    Calls on the Commission to fight against food waste with ambitious, clearly defined, binding targets to encourage the Member States to take action against food waste at every level of the food supply chain, from field to fork;

25.    Encourages the Member States to educate citizens, promote and disseminate best practices, conduct analyses and initiate social and educational campaigns in schools on food waste and on the importance of a healthy, balanced diet, giving priority to local farm produce, designating 2016 as the European Year against Food Waste;

26.    Considers that it is important to initiate a dialogue with stakeholders to ensure that unsold and safe edible food is systematically made available to charitable organisations;

27.    Urges the Member States and the Commission to further promote, starting in schools at the earliest age, healthy food, mindful nutrition and quality and sustainability standards in nutrition in terms of research and education – encouraging responsible and healthy lifestyles – and to further develop policy aimed at eradicating malnutrition and poor diets and preventing obesity;

28.    Stresses the importance of encouraging education about healthy, balanced nutrition and raising awareness of and promoting local products and traditional diets;

29.    Strongly suggests that the whole food system, of which agriculture is a part, together with trade, health, education, climate and energy policies, function under a human-rights-based approach, which should be championed by the Union;

30.    Calls, therefore, for inclusion of the gender dimension and the promotion of women’s empowerment in all policies aimed at fighting food insecurity;

31.    Reiterates the importance of promoting agriculture in the developing world and the importance of allocating an appropriate share of EU overseas development assistance (ODA) to the agriculture sector; considers it regrettable that there has been a dramatic reduction in the level of development aid allocated to agriculture since the 1980s and welcomes the recognition of the need to reverse this trend;

32.    Considers that it is important to improve the conditions of women in agriculture, especially in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, as empowering and investing in rural women has been shown to significantly increase productivity and reduce hunger and malnutrition;

33.    Calls on the Commission and the Member States to give priority to cooperation programmes based on microcredit, with a view to supporting small, environmentally sustainable farms in feeding local populations;

34.    Calls on the Commission to gear EU food policies towards greater sustainability throughout the food supply chain, by encouraging organic and biodynamic production and ‘zero-food-mile’ distribution;

35.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission and Council and to the commissioners of the participating Member States responsible for Expo 2015 Milan.



OJ C 136 E, 11.5.2012, p. 8.


OJ C 227, 6.8.2013, p. 25.

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