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Food security and the environment

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 12442 | 01 December 2010

Ms Francine JOHN-CALAME, Switzerland, SOC ; Mr Ruhi AÇIKGÖZ, Turkey, EDG ; Mr Haluk KOÇ, Turkey, SOC ; Ms Christine MARIN, France, EPP/CD ; Mr Yevhen MARMAZOV, Ukraine, UEL ; Mr Bernard MARQUET, Monaco, ALDE ; Sir Alan MEALE, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Pasquale NESSA, Italy, EPP/CD ; Mr Joseph O'REILLY, Ireland, EPP/CD ; Mr Evangelos PAPACHRISTOS, Greece, SOC ; Ms Elsa PAPADIMITRIOU, Greece, EPP/CD ; Mr Ivan POPESCU, Ukraine, SOC ; Mr John PRESCOTT, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Gonzalo ROBLES, Spain, EPP/CD ; Mr René ROUQUET, France, SOC ; Mr Giacinto RUSSO, Italy, ALDE ; Mr Tomáš ÚLEHLA, Czech Republic, EDG ; Mr Mustafa ÜNAL, Turkey, EPP/CD ; Mr Vladimir ZHIDKIKH, Russian Federation, EDG

Having enough to eat is a basic human right. Food security and food production should therefore be high on any political agenda. The challenge will be to produce and supply enough safe and nutritious food in a sustainable way for global population, which is projected to reach 9 billion people by 2050. According to FAO, demand for food is projected to increase by 40% by 2030 and by 70% by 2050.

Self-sufficiency in food production has become extremely rare. Most countries rely on both import and export markets to feed their populations. The supply chain therefore becomes very sensitive to economic and environmental events.

In terms of sustainable development, the question arises as to how food production and trade can be prevented from over-exploiting natural resources that may, in turn, jeopardise food security in the long term. Three-quarters of the Earth’s water is used for irrigation and agriculture and intensive food production is heavily dependent on fossil fuels and high energy use for fertilisers, pesticides and irrigation.

The “industrial” use of conventional hybridisation and genetic engineering to increase yield and crop resistance has resulted in the loss of many local varieties. Genetic erosion coupled with genetic pollution destroys unique genotypes, resulting in a severe threat to food security and human health. Diverse genetic material may cease to exist which would have strong impact on man’s ability to further hybridise food crops and livestock against more resistant diseases and climatic changes.

Considering that access to safe and nutritious food is a basic human right, the Parliamentary Assembly should address this complex and alarming issue providing recommendations policy guidance to the member states.