International conference on sustainable food systems in Barcelona

Organised by the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat) and the Advisory Council for Sustainable Development (CADS)

By 2050, the world population will exceed 9.8 billion inhabitants. This growth, the increase in purchasing power of large sections of the population that are in currently developing countries and the change in diet that this may bring about has led the FAO to estimate that there will be a gradual increase in global food demand as high as 60% by 2050. This, alongside the pressure that it may place on increasingly scarce natural resources, the impacts of climate change and the global change in food and agriculture production, has sounded the alarm over a possible world food crisis of vast dimensions.

Given the relevance of this issue, the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat) and the Advisory Council for Sustainable Development (CADS) have organised the conference "Feeding on Future", where leading European experts in the field of food security and sustainability will present their analyses on the food system, the challenges that the current context raises and the proposals of actions to overcome them. The conference took take place in the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site in Barcelona on October 11, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Panelists included Eeva Furman, Director of the Environmental Policy Centre of the Finnish Environment Institute and Chair of Finland's Sustainable Development Expert Panel; Alberto Garrido, Professor of Agricultural Economics and Policy, Vice-Rector for Quality and Efficiency of Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and member of the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) Food and Nutrition Security and Agriculture Working Group; Krijn Poppe, Chair of the Independent EC FOOD 2030 Expert Group and Member of the Dutch Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli); Marta G. Rivera-Ferre, Director of the Chair on Agroecology and Food Systems for social transformation at University of Vic and lead author of Rural Areas (AR5) and Food security (SRCCL) chapters of the IPCC; and Peter Schmidt, President of the EESC Sustainable Development Observatory, European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).

The United Nations has long been focusing on the reduction of hungry people and by September 2015, through the resolution "Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development", they have set the goal to make hunger disappear by 2030. In this context, many international organisations are providing reflections on the necessary transformation of the food system to face the challenge. An example is the report that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented in early August 2019, focusing on the need to transform food production and consumption models.

This debate has reached European institutions and many national and regional governments. In Catalonia, in 2018, CADS issued the "Feeding on Future" report, a reflection on the challenges facing the Catalan food system and proposing recommendations in order to face them. In June 2019, the Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food presented the Catalan Food Council, an advisory and participation body that aims to analyse and discuss the challenges it has to face in front of the Catalan agri-food sector.