We Effect replies to European Commission consultation on sustainable food systems

We Effect has recently answered the European Commission consultation on the Sustainable Food System Framework Initiative (SFSF). We Effect welcomes the SFSF initiative and stresses the importance of the international dimensions of the food system.

The EU is the third biggest importer of food in the world and as such has great leverage for improving the conditions for smallholder farmers in developing countries. A majority of these smallholder farmers, many of which are women responsible for providing food for their families, live with high economic insecurity, are increasingly affected by climate change and struggle with securing access to land and sufficient yields in times of food insecurity and price increases. It is therefore crucial that a transition towards more stringent sustainability requirements for products entering the EU single market is combined with targeted human rights-based support systems and financial tools.

Among other recommendations, We Effect stresses how the SFSF needs to provide strategic direction for various sectoral policies affecting food systems. “Areas of policy such as agriculture, food security and environmental law have seldom been considered coherently through a food policy lens”, the response argues, and that therefore references should be made to “fundamental rights and the inclusion of access to justice provisions, linking up with the coming Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive” (CSDD). Also, since the import of agricultural commodities can contribute to deforestation in third countries, policy coherence with both the coming deforestation regulation and the CSDD needs to be ensured.

Of key importance is to strengthen and improve agroforestry and agroecology in tomorrow’s food systems, which We Effect and its partner organisations in the global South have worked with since long ago, with very beneficial effects for smallholder farmers and local economy, biodiversity and the climate.

Read We Effect’s position paper for the SFSF consultation here