Newsletter n. 61

16/07/2019

1.EXPERIENCES: Xylella Fastidiosa: does it have a positive side?

2.NEWS FROM THE SIP FORUM : Latest report of the IPBES

3.NEWS ON THE SOIL AND EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS: Changing the Common Agricultural Policy

4.WE ARE NOT ALONE!

Xylella Fastidiosa: does it have a positive side?

Why are we talking about Xylella Fastidiosa? Because it seems to us to be an emblematic example of how our society develops: first we destroy the ecosystem, then we home in on a single factor as though it was the only pathological element.

Let’s look at a parallel: antibiotics have become inadequate or even ineffective combating diseases that were once regarded as easily treatable. A simple cold can nowadays lead to very severe health problems. The blame is placed on the tolerance developed by the bacteria and their ability to change themselves, but in reality it is simply the result of the way we have misused them. Just think of the antibiotics that we consume daily when we eat meat from livestock raised in places where they are used indiscriminately. Continua a leggere “Xylella Fastidiosa: does it have a positive side?”

The latest report from the IPBES

IPBES is an intergovernmental organization set up in 2012 in order to provide politicians all over the world with assessments of the state of biodiversity and ecosystems, based on scientific data. We wrote about the IPBES in a previous newsletter.

Their reports on biodiversity and ecosystems are well-known and widely read. The latest Global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services was published on 6 May 2019 . Its contents are alarming: more than one million species of animals and plants have become extinct or are in danger of extinction thanks to human activity. No longer can we pretend we don’t know. We have wasted the time we had and now we have to try to limit the damage. We can start by promoting farming techniques that respect the soil and its ecosystem.

One small step … on our journey!

In July 1969 Apollo 11 took the first men to the moon. The first words spoken on the lunar surface by Neil Armstrong were “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.

Of course we are exaggerating for effect when we compare ourselves to the Apollo 11 mission, but we can say that the SIP Forum has also taken a small “step” towards fulfilling its aims for the European dimension of the soil. Our three questions sent to Italian candidates for the European Parliament received 19 replies. We regard them as the “nucleus” of a broader action whose direction is very clear:

  1. firm up the synergy between the 19 candidates who showed openness towards the subject of the soil in Europe and ensure that communication on this matter circulates among them and among others who show a similar awareness;
  2. encourage the creation in other EU member states of similar “political” nuclei that are sensitized to the issue;
  3. enable connections between these nuclei and the development of a common plan;
  4. to push the need for an EU directive for soil protection within the EU’s institutions.

Continua a leggere “One small step … on our journey!”

iPES FOOD

Established in 2015, the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (iPES-Food) works to shape debates on food system reform through policy-oriented research and direct engagement with policy processes around the world. The panel brings together environmental scientists, development economists, nutritionists, agronomists, and sociologists, as well as experienced practitioners from civil society and social movements.

IPES-Food bases its work on a holistic, sustainability, political economy, democratic approach.  Their analyses are fully independent and without financial or organizational ties to any corporations, governments or intergovernmental agencies. IPES-Food is currently funded by the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation, the Open Societies Foundation, and the Fondation Charles Leopold Mayer pour le Progrès de l’Homme.

Towards a Common Food Policy for the European Unionis the title of the report published by iPES-Food at the end of 2018. It is a synthesis of ideas on how the CAP should operate in order to attain sustainable food systems. Originally written in English, there are reduced versions in five other languages including Italian.

Strengths Continua a leggere “iPES FOOD”

Changing the CAP

On 2 May the European Commission ended the public consultation on the proposals for the Common Agricultural Policy over the next few years. The idea of the CAP was there at the start of the European Community, in order to put into practice the aims set out in the Treaty of Rome (1957). The CAP forms part of the current EU Treaty, with article 39 setting out its aims:

(a) to increase agricultural productivity by promoting technical progress and by ensuring the rational development of agricultural production and the optimum utilisation of the factors of production, in particular labour;

(b) thus to ensure a fair standard of living for the agricultural community, in particular by increasing the individual earnings of persons engaged in agriculture;

(c) to stabilise markets;

(d) to assure the availability of supplies;

(e) to ensure that supplies reach consumers at reasonable prices. Continua a leggere “Changing the CAP”

Food for life ( UK)

At this time of Brexit, it is hard to talk about what is happening in the UK. We do not intend to get into the logic that has led to this situation. We think that maybe insufficient attention was paid to the sense of “abandonment” felt by many who live in rural areas of the UK. Yet there are organizations operating there that are in the forefront of a new model of rural society that is respectful of the environment and of healthy food production. One of these is the Soil Association which we have written about in previous Newsletters.

The SA is perhaps the foremost non-governmental organization in the UK that is promoting healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and soil use. In addition, through their system of Soil Association Certification, they assess and certify farms and businesses that comply with organic standards. The Soil Association also runs the Food for Life Catering mark. This is a guarantee scheme for restaurants and caterers who can use it to source healthy foodstuffs that are freshly prepared and from sustainable sources. Continua a leggere “Food for life ( UK)”

Why do Italian ministries not reply?

On 28 February the SIP Forum sent an official letter – via certified electronic post – to the Minister for the Environment and for the Protection of the Land and Sea, Sergio Costa, and to the Minister for Agricultural, Food, Forest and Tourism Policy, Gian Marco Centinaio, asking for Italy to formally sign up to the 4per1000 initiative.

We have not received a reply.

This is the kind of thing that leads Italian citizens to consider themselves “abandoned” by a government that ignores us and does not take account of what we think.

Our politicians often blame Brussels and its officials for almost all Italy’s current problems. They give them the insulting label of “eurocrats”. Few reflect on the fact that “Brussels” is not some abstract entity, but a set of institutions created to allow the 500 million citizens of its member states to live together, respecting their different cultures, languages and identities. Brussels as a single unified and centralized institution does not exist. What do exist are the community institutions whose tasks and obligations are determined by the member states. These institutions have no real autonomy, because everything is discussed, negotiated and decided by representatives of the Member States. This is true of the Parliament, the Council, the Commission, the Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, to name but a few of the most representative bodies. Continua a leggere “Why do Italian ministries not reply?”