European Union and agricultural policy (UN News Centre)

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UN expert urges European Union to include development concerns in agricultural policy

A United Nations independent expert today called on the European Parliament to take into account development concerns when they vote on amendments to the region’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) next week, stressing this is the last chance to ensure this legislation takes into account the human right to food.

“Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy means high stakes not only for European farmers, but for millions of others worldwide who are affected by EU policies,” said the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter. “Development concerns should be made an essential part of CAP reform, and the window of opportunity for doing so is rapidly closing.”

According to its website, CAP aims to enable farmers to produce sufficient quantities of safe, high-quality food, ensure economic development in rural areas and meet environmental and animal welfare standards.

In June 2012, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in the development committee voted unanimously in favour of monitoring and taking into account the CAP’s impact on development, according to a news release from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). However, their views were not included in amendments drawn up in the agriculture committee in December, and will now be voted on as individual amendments in next week’s vote.

“MEPs must not squander the opportunity they now have to bring the proposals into line with the requirements of the human right to food and the EU’s development promises,” Mr. De Schutter said.



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Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.