Environmental sustainability and agriculture: Italian contribution to the post 2015 discourse

'Environmental Sustainability and Agriculture: Considerations on the global agenda post 2015'. Seminar conclusions.

On June 19th 2014, the seminar 'Environmental Sustainability and Agriculture: considerations on the global agenda post 2015' has been held in the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, food and forestry policies (Mipaaf). Many representatives of various institutions of civil society and private sector took part to it. The goal of the meeting was to share and strenghten the shared Italian committment towards the development of a sustainable agriculture, safeguarding natural resources as well as local cultures.

These aspirations are at the base of the ideal 'thematic path' starting with the semester of Italian Presidency of the European Union and continuing with the second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), EXPO 2015 and the conclusions of the UN Post 2015 process.

The goal of Agenda post 2015 is to promote, through the choice of future 'Sustainable Development Goals' (SDGs), a base of universal and integrated values, norms, policies and actions to reconnect the actual socio-economic models to the rights and needs of people and of the planet. Within such ambitious aspiration, rural world will have to face a 'Copernican revolution' in order to assure a suitable agricultural production to feed an increasing world population, without overcoming the biophysical limits of the planet. Our country - for its history, tradition and productive characteristics - can strongly contribute to the discussion going on and can therefore bring ahead its own national reflection and a more effective contribution to the international debate.

Fundamental qualifying element, that we share with our partners of the Mediterranean basin and in the other continents, is the centrality of agri-food systems, based on the exploitation and safeguard of ecological, cultural and cultivation diversity, the balanced and sustainable integration between familiy farming and markets, the promotion of public-private partnerships, the attention to social problems (particularly to occupational ones and to the role of women and of young people) and to food quality and security.

During the seminar key themes such as sustainability and food security, currently in discussion on the international fora, have been faced and all participants have agreed upon the opportunity to focus the attention on the following five priority areas, starting from the analysis of the principal international references (EU, CFS-High Level panel, Agencies of the Roman Pole, UN open working group on SDGs) and of the national interests:

1) Environmental safeguard, responsible management and sustainable use of natural resources (soil, water and forests), without which eradicating poverty and sustainable development are impossible;

2) Improvement of food productivity, quality and security not separated by the juridical safeguard of geographical indications and of agri-food biodiversity;

3) Right for all to suitable food, facing malnutrition and its complex (malnutrition and iper-nutrition) and struggle to food waste;

4) Valorisation and integration of the productive systems, of transformation, distribution and consuption on territorial base, with a particular focus on family farming and on the role of women and young people;

5) Safeguard of the actual UAA from competitive uses and drastic reduction of post-harvest losses.

Taken into account of the valuable job and the participatory method adopted by the 'Thematic Group on the Agenda post 2015' of the Interinstitutional Table for Cooperation to Development (coordinated by the Italian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of The Environment), such effort of synthesis could subsequently contribute to the Themtic Group, to target specific objectives and indicators within the negotiating process of definition of the SDGs, coordinated by the United Nations and by the start of the semester of Italian Presidency of the EU.

Furthermore, at the end of the seminar, all participants wished a strenghtening of the sinergy created among the various institutions, the civil society and the private sector, to reach a consolidated Italian common and convinced positon on environmental sustainability and agricolture.

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