Hunger, Nutrition and Climate Justice on the agenda

The EU presidency attracts a plethora of events to the host countries. One high level upcoming event is “Hunger, Nutrition and Climate Justice” in Dublin Castle 15th and 16th April.

Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Climate Justice

The background to this event is described on the EU presidency website as follows:

“The world’s population is set to reach 9 billion by 2050, which will require a 70% increase in agricultural production if everyone is to be fed. Over the same period climate change, water scarcity and land degradation could reduce food production by one quarter, leading to further increases in the number of people suffering hunger. It is those who are already poor and vulnerable who will be worst affected, despite having contributed least to the causes of climate change.

The global challenges of hunger, nutrition and climate justice are linked. To be credible, the global response must be based on a clear understanding of the rights and the reality of the lives of the people most affected, now and in the future. We need to move away from a business-as-usual approach to development if these global challenges are to be resolved in our lifetimes.”

“Hunger nutrition and climate justice” uses what is, by international conference standards, quite a participatory (learning circle) methodology and focuses in many cases on local solutions, while bracing topics like rights and risks. Even the overall theme itself represents putting important but under-reported topics back onto the agenda.

The very notion of climate justice (and not just climate change) is a refocusing in itself. Al Gore, Mary Robinson and Irish president Michael D Higgins are some of the more noteworthy names presenting.

Sadly, however, the EU and Irish context these events are being held in is one quite hostile to the stated aims of the events.

While CAP negotiations are still ongoing, foreign aid has been a target. The measly 0.7% of GDP target for the EU foreign aid is still unreached. The Secretary General of the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas has expressed “profound regret” at the European Council’s proposal “to cut development aid funding by more than 7%, compared to figures put forward by the European Commission. This includes a disproportionate 11% slash to the European Development Fund (EDF), which benefits 930 million people in ACP countries” he said in February. (See here for an OXFAM infographic on the matter)

The EU has a commitment to spend 20% of its budget on climate change, but in practical terms, it is unlikely to carry this out with cuts to the overall budget.

It’s also, unfortunately, highly unlikely that the CAP will so radically transform that it will become far more beneficial to grow vegetables than keep cattle. And in real terms, feeding the 9 billion without contemplating dietry change is, as it were, ignoring the beast in the living room, entheric fermentation and all.

Source: Wikicommons © Bangin

The trend at OECD level has been to reduce the value of aid too, down 3% from 2010 to 2011.

Recently, the Irish government announced the heads of a Climate Change bill that has no targets beyond 2020.

Irish Aid money certainly gets spent well. Irish Aid is one of the largest funders of the World Agroforestry Centre, and is involved in supporting large scale agroforestry initiatives in Malawi.

However Ireland too is short of the 0.7% of GDP spend on foreign aid, clocking in at 0.5%. And it didn’t reach 0.7% even when the economy was booming, despite stating that it would upon joining the UN security council.

That Ireland is widely applauded for maintain 0.5% shows just how far Europe has to travel if it is to meet its international obligations.

Oliver Moore
About Oliver Moore 192 Articles
Dr. Oliver Moore is the communications director and editor-in-chief with ARC2020. He has a PhD in the sociology of farming and food, where he specialised in organics and direct sales. He is published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies, International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology and the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. A weekly columnist and contributor with Irish Examiner, he is a regular on Countrywide (Irish farm radio show on the national broadcaster RTE 1) and engages in other communications work around agri-food and rural issues, such as with the soil, permaculture, climate change adaptation and citizen science initiative Grow Observatory . He lectures part time in the Centre for Co-operative Studies UCC.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     A propos d'Oliver Moore Oliver voyage beaucoup moins qu’auparavant, pour ce qui concerne son activité professionnelle. Il peut néanmoins admirer par la fenêtre de son bureau les mésanges charbonnières et les corbeaux perchés au sommet du saule dans le jardin de sa maison au cœur de l’écovillage de Cloughjordan, en Irlande. L’écovillage est un site de 67 acres dans le nord du Tipperary. Il comprend d’espaces boisés, des paysages comestibles, des lieux de vie, d’habitation et de travail, ainsi qu’une ferme appartenant à la communauté. Les jours où il travaille dans le bureau du centre d’entreprise communautaire, il profite d’une vue sur les chevaux, les panneaux solaires, les toilettes sèches et les jardins familiaux.  Ce bureau au sein de l’écovillage constitue en effet un tiers-lieu de travail accueillant également des collaborateurs des associations Cultivate et Ecolise, ainsi qu’un laboratoire de fabrication (« fab lab »).  Oliver est membre du conseil d’administration de la ferme communautaire (pour la seconde fois !) et donne également des cours sur le Master en coopératives, agroalimentaire et développement durable à l’University College Cork. Il a une formation en sociologie rurale : son doctorat et les articles qu’il publie dans des journaux scientifiques portent sur ce domaine au sens large. Il consacre la majorité de son temps de travail à l’ARC 2020. Il collabore avec ARC depuis 2013, date à laquelle l’Irlande a assuré la présidence de l’UE pendant six mois. C’est là qu’il a pu constater l’importance de la politique agroalimentaire et rurale grâce à sa chronique hebdomadaire sur le site d’ARC. Après six mois, il est nommé rédacteur en chef et responsable de la communication, poste qu’il occupe toujours aujourd’hui. Oliver supervise le contenu du site web et des médias sociaux, aide à définir l’orientation de l’organisation et parfois même rédige un article pour le site web.  À l’époque où on voyageait davantage, il a eu la chance de passer du temps sous les tropiques, où il a aidé des ONG irlandaises de commerce équitable – au Ghana, au Kenya, au Mali, en Inde et au Salvador – à raconter leur histoire. Il se peut que ces jours-là reviennent. Pour son compte Oliver continuera de préférer naviguer en Europe par bateau, puis en train. Après tout, la France n’est qu’à une nuit de navigation. En attendant, il y a toujours de nombreuses possibilités de bénévolat dans la communauté dans les campagnes du centre de l’Irlande.