According to a leaked internal document of the European Commission (EC), EU member states shall be allowed to import genetically modified (GM) food imports for both human and animal consumption. This model correlates with the recent GM cultivation rules, which is also an à la carte system. Environmentalists are not happy with this outcome, as in their opinion, GM crops will propagate and circulate freely within the EU market regardless of each member states preference. Currently, 48 GM crops are imported, but this figure is expected to increase with the adoption of the new legal framework on GM crops.
The Global Seeds Market shall be boosted by the increased adoption of genetically modified seeds, says the Global Sees Market Report 2015-2019. This correlated with an increase in demand for food production and rise of agricultural challenges whih has led to the supply of high-quality, high-performing geneticlally engineered and hybrid seeds. It notes that while traditional seeds still occupy a sizeable share of the market, biotech seeds are increasingly important.The report uses case studies and is based on four segments of the market: cotton, maize, vegetables and others.
Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, alongside Jim Yong Kim President World Bank Group confirmed its commitment to support climate related investments. They highlighted the engagement needed to be scaled-up through greater private sector involvement in climate finance. “It is time for renewed action to address the global risk of climate change and 2015 provides a unique opportunity to focus on this fundamental threat. It is crucial to encourage a shift that delivers a more resource efficient, climate resilient and low-carbon global economy. Europe has a firm commitment to addressing climate change and the European Investment Bank, as the EU Bank, will build on a strong track record to address these challenges.
In the run up to the UN Climate Change conference (COP21) in Paris in December, African Ministers have renewed their call for a strong and universal climate change agreement with increased flows of funds, including through market and finance opportunities, sufficient to fulfill Africa's development aspirations. Africa, with its vulnerable populations and vast potential, has perhaps the most to lose from climate change and the most to gain from an effective climate change agreement. "In these last eight months before Paris, the focus must shift from restating negotiating positions to finding common ground solutions," said UNFCCC Deputy Executive Secretary Richard Kinley at a day-long ministerial segment at the Africa Carbon Forum 2015 hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco.
The UK is Europe’s leading donor for overseas development aid (ODA). The UK is one of only five member states to have met the UN target of 0.7% for ODA. The others are Denmark (0.85%), Norway (0.99%), Luxembourg (1.07%), and Sweden (1.10). In March, Britain became the first G7 country to pledge in law to commit to spending 0.7% of gross national income on ODA. The law had cross party support. Currently, UKIP are the only prominent national party seeking a reduction in the overseas aid budget.
The government of Guinea-Bissau has called a five-year moratorium on felling trees across the country. The situation of the country’s forests is very serious and current exploration of these resources threatens environmental equilibrium. The Media Minister of Guinea-Bissau conducts awareness and information campaigns on the seriousness of the situation in the forests. Official figures point to the existence in Guinean forests of over 140,000 illegally felled logs in the past two years.
The European Commission has launched an onlineconsultation on how science and innovation can contribute to the EU ensuring safe,nutritious, sufficient and sustainable food globally. This debate is linked tothe theme of this year's Universal Exhibition in Milan: "Feeding thePlanet, Energy for Life". Its objective is to go beyond culturalactivities and open a real political debate on global food security andsustainability. European Commissioner Navracsics highlighted the vital role that Europehas in tackling the challenges of food and nutrition security andsustainability. Expo 2015 represents a great opportunity to showcase what theEU is already doing in this field and foster international collaboration.
The International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed is willing to promote insects as a source for animal protein for both human consumption and animal feed. Given that the global population is expected to reach nine billion by 2050, the world by then would have to increase its food production by 70% in order to feed the population, meaning that the global demand for animal-based protein sources would double between 2000 and 2050. As the animal feed production is already competing for resources such as water, land and fertilizers, insects could play a crucial role.
NGO Fern revealed that the European Union is responsible for a quarter of products connected to illegal deforestation. The EU is one of the largest importers of products resulting from illegal deforestation. In 2012 imported €6bn of soy, beef, leather and palm oil which were grown or reared on land illegally cleared of forests in the tropics - almost a quarter of the total world trade, according to Fern’s report. For example, in Papua New Guinea, which is one of the world's largest exporters of tropical timber, it was found that approximately 90% of forest clearance licenses were obtained through fraud.
Connected agriculture was addressed at the 8th Forum for Agriculture in Brussels, held in Brussels on 31 March. Agriculture is one ofthe most inefficient parts of our economic value chain today, according to Jeremy Rifkin, an American social theorist, and global warming is expected to modify the water cycles of the earth, wreaking havoc for farmers and driving up food prices. Agriculture is responsible for one third of global warming emissions; consequently it needs to be addressed as a matter of priority. Nonetheless, technology offers an opportunity to address these challenges by transforming the food production system “from farm to retail”.