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October 2017
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EDITO
Saturday, 21 October 2017
European policymakers face a difficult choice when authorising new technologies such as GMOs, as they often find themselves caught between conflicting expert safety advice and calls to respect the precautionary principle when scientific evidence is insufficient. EU policymaking is largely based on expertise and involves handling complex technical information at different levels. While such expert-based regulatory policy is seen by some as a guarantee of rational decision-making, it is sometimes perceived as technocratic and opaque.
"Food Matters: One Year On” has just been published by the United Kingdom's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (UK DEFRA). The report updates the UK government's efforts on food policy as it relates to health, food safety, the economy, and the environment. It also identifies priorities for the next 12 months. One of the initiatives implemented includes the creation of a Council of Food Policy Advisers to provide advice on the practical measures government should take to create a healthy, sustainable food system.
Monday, 14 September 2009
"We are 53 diverse countries differently affected by the crisis, 1 billion people that cannot be ignored". That was the stark message to Members of Parliament's Development Committee from Donald Kaberuka, the head of Africa's Development Bank at a hearing on 3 September in Brussels. The economic crisis has hit the continent hard with falling commodity prices leading to reduced incomes.
Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media, and Charlie McCreevy, Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, today made a joint statement setting out the important cultural and economic stakes of book digitisation in Europe. To face the daunting task of digitising Europe's books, of which there are tens of millions in Europe's national libraries alone, the two Commissioners stressed the need for fully respecting copyright rules to ensure fair remuneration for authors, but also welcomed public-private partnerships as a means to boost digitisation of books.
There are no important advantages in terms of health and nutritional benefits gained from eating organic food when compared to food produced using conventional techniques, says the UK’s Food Standards Authority (FSA), with the recent publication of a scientific study.
Wednesday, 09 September 2009
EU Member States must meet their international aid commitments to developing countries, and particularly those disproportionately affected by the economic downturn, said Development Committee MEPs in a debate with two international experts on Thursday. The committee also approved a resolution on the effects of the crisis on developing countries and development co-operation.
The United Kingdom's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (UK DEFRA) has released UK Food Security Assessment: Detailed Analysis. This paper details a framework of indicators for assessing UK food security developed through stakeholder engagement and expert input from various Government departments.
Tuesday, 08 September 2009
European institutes and companies have begun work on a multi-million Euro effort to develop manufacturing methods for liquid biofuel from agricultural and forestry waste. The NEMO (Novel high performance enzymes and micro-organisms for conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to bioethanol) project has received €5.9m funding from the European Union. Agricultural and forestry waste, such as straw and wood chips, are mainly lignocellulose. This consists of sugars but in a form that makes them difficult to be used by microbes in the production of ethanol. Over the next four years, researchers in the NEMO project will develop enzymes that can be used to cut lignocellulose into sugar compounds suitable for fermentation. The goal will be to tailor the metabolism of microbes so that they can produce large volumes of ethanol out of the biomass sugars economically and efficiently.
The UK government recently warned that consumers could face huge meat price rises if the EU does not find a more efficient method of approving new GM products. In a joint Defra/FSA statement, the government said the slow rate of EU approvals for GM products and the absence of any tolerance for low levels of unauthorised GM material could seriously hamper UK food and feed imports and ultimately hit retail prices. The UK imports 90% of its soya feed for meat production from Brazil and Argentina, which amounted to three million tonnes in 2007/08.
Friday, 04 September 2009
This report produced by Concord forms part of the work being undertaken by European development NGOs to monitor and advocate on European aid. It reports that some of the countries deliver aid based on their own priorities and not those of the poor while addressing the symptoms and not the causes - and yet they deliver the majority of the global aid flows. It adds that evidence shows that when aid is delivered well, it has been crucial in improving living conditions of the poor in developing countries.