The European Commissioner for Research, Innovation, and Science, Márie Geoghegan-Quinn, used these very strong words last week when launching the new European Union Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) on Agriculture, Food Security, and Climate Change in Paris.
Twelve renowned scientists met in the French capital under the framework of this JPI’s Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) in order to better coordinate research activities financed by Member States. The stated goal is to ensure stable, safe, and sustainable food supply within the Union. A definitive working program should be drafted by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, given that several studies have shown that agriculture will be facing new challenges in the coming decades (lack of water, increasing temperatures in some regions, skyrocketing demand for food and non-food needs, CO² emissions limitations…), Commissioner Márie Geoghegan-Quinn did not hesitate to remind us that “food safety is a stark matter of life or death,” she went on to add, “without it, there is no other kind of security.”
Without being revolutionary, this position is nevertheless fraught with consequences, at a time when the food security issue is not sufficiently broached by international and European institutions. Márie Geoghegan-Quinn’s statement confirms the urgency of implementing integrated, controlled policies to help agriculture better adapt to tomorrow’s challenges instead of going down the path of deregulation, as has been the case since the initial CAP reform in 1984.