These initiatives aim to promote a fair and sustainable development to mitigate the effects of climate change and to fight for the workers’ rights, which are also human rights.

If, on the one hand, the #GoEAThical campaign aims to mobilise young European citizens to the awareness of the food production and consumption systems carried out in our daily lives, on the other hand, the Farm to Fork Strategy wants, in a nutshell, to conciliate what we eat with the needs of planet Earth. In the latter case, the strategy’s success will depend on the farmers and the fishermen, and, if that’s so, it will contribute to a circular economy from production to consumption.

What do the initiatives share between them?

Both have as a priority the protection of human rights and are oriented in the name of sustainable development.

Namely, the #GoEAThical campaign was brought by CIR – Christliche Initiative Romero, a German association committed to fight for fair work and the human rights. In Portugal, it is already in motion since March this year, promoted by IMVF, and seeks to extend its action until August 2023. Its goal is to engage the youth in initiatives that promote human rights and solidarity and empower them to face the current global challenges – in particular, migration and climate change –, looking upon the European development policies.

In turn, the IMVF aims to foster a sustainable supply and consumption chain, that can not only contribute to mitigating the effects of the climate change, but also promote a decent migration policy, that does not let poverty and hunger to reach more people.

Alongside this, there is also the “Farm to Fork Strategy”, since at macro level it wants to promote the transition to sustainable, healthy and inclusive food systems and to reduce the competitive disadvantages of the international markets. At a micro level, the plan focuses on the need to create food systems that can assure Europeans benefit from a sustainable diet at affordable prices and that can contribute to reduce food waste; the fight against climate change; environmental protection; biodiversity conservation; and to the expansion of organic farming. Moreover, ensuring food safety, securing the supply of renewable raw materials and creating employment in rural areas are also priorities.

Through the elaboration of research, youthlabs, competitions, petitions, seminars and workshops, the IMVF aims to undertake the #GoEAThical campaign in Portugal in order to sensitise, empower and mobilise the youth European citizens to play an active role in this project that is supposed to be for and from us all. In the end, the goal is to transform young people into key-actors in spreading the campaign’s message and that the knowledge they have acquired can materialise itself in the adoption of sustainable behaviours and attitudes towards production and consumption.

Regarding the management of the transition to sustainability in “Farm to Fork Strategy”, the goal is, on the one hand, to guarantee this process will be fair to the ones working in the farming and maritime European sectors and, on the other, to reduce the dependency and the use of pesticides and fertilisers. Besides, the development of new farming and fishery techniques to protect the harvest from pest and diseases is also an important goal to achieve.

In the current context of the COVID-19 pandemics, the strategy takes into account the impacts of the global crisis which has set itself over the past months, that called for the vulnerable conditions of the food supply chains – in particular in what concerns the precarious conditions that some of the European farmers face nowadays –, as well as the subsistence risks that can endanger farmers in this kind of contexts.

There are seven areas for action outlined in the Farm to Fork Strategy, namely:

  1. Using international cooperation to build sustainable food systems in partner countries;
  2. Using the EU trade policy to raise ambition on food and farming;
  3. Legislative proposal to ensure that all goods placed on the EU market are free from deforestation and human rights violations;
  4. Legislation to strengthen the position of farmers, their cooperatives and producer organisations in the food supply chain;
  5. Zero-tolerance on unsustainable fishing;
  6. The EU promoting a global transition to sustainable food systems in international space;
  7. Legislative framework for sustainable food systems;

Regarding this action plan, many dimensions about food safety are outlined, but the civil society still finds it is not enough and call on the EU to strengthen its approach towards global issues, as the Strategy is discussed and approved by the European Parliament and the Council. Among them, civil society regrets the absence of any reference to smallholder farmers and small-scale food producers in the measures presented; regrets the fact that Farm to Fork Strategy does not include a commitment to avoid inconsistencies between the EU objectives under this new Strategy and the EU’s international trade policy; and, finally, regrets the lack of reference to the need for gender-sensitive impact assessments of trade and investment deals.

Moreover, they also criticise the fact that EU exports continue to undermine producers and processors in a range of sectors and regions in the developing world (for instance, in the West African and Southern African markets), and the lack of reference to the adverse impacts of the agreement itself on human rights and the environment, regarding EU bilateral trade agreements to have ambitious trade and sustainable development.

Finally, they suggest a more dedicated action plan towards less and better consumption and production of meat, dairy and eggs in the EU, to shift away from industrial farming.

In both campaigns, responsibility, awareness and global citizenship are key-words. #GoEAThical co-funded by the European Union and supported by Camões – Institute for Cooperation and Language, counting on the support of 16 partners as well. Farm to Fork Strategy, in turn, was published in May this year by the European Commission and follows the ambitions of the European Green Deal and Agenda 2030.

Supporting documents:

#GoEAThical Campaign – European youth stand up for sustainable food supply chains that respect migrant workers’ rights and reduce climate change, hunger and poverty as key drivers of migration.

“Raising the Ambition on Global Aspects of the EU Farm to Fork Strategy”, Civil society recommendations, September 2020

Farm to Fork Strategy – for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system

Brochure «Do prato ao prato» – Pacto Ecológico Europeu

Comunicação da Comissão ao Parlamento Europeu, ao Conselho, ao Comité Económico e Social Europeu e ao Comité das Regiões – Estratégia do Prado ao Prato para um sistema alimentar justo, saudável e respeitador do ambiente

Perguntas e respostas: Estratégia do Prado ao Prato — criar um sistema alimentar saudável e totalmente sustentável

EU Green Deal – Farm to Fork Strategy

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