Urgent action is needed as Europe’s food systems stand at the crossroads of transformation or crisis [Stakeholder Opinion]

The average European wastes their own weight in discarded food each year, and, worryingly for both our health and sustainability, more than half of the adult European population is overweight. Alongside this, agriculture is responsible for around 10 per cent…

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Briefing – Mental health and the pandemic – 09-07-2021

While the pandemic is primarily a physical health crisis, it has also had widespread impact on people’s mental health, inducing, among other things, considerable levels of fear, worry, and concern. The growing burden on mental health has been referred to by some as the ‘second’ or ‘silent’ pandemic. While negative mental health consequences affect all ages, young people, in particular, have been found to be at high risk of developing poor mental health. Specific groups have been particularly hard hit, including health and care workers, people with pre-existing mental health problems, and women. The pandemic has also appeared to increase inequalities in mental health, both within the population and between social groups. To address the population’s increased psycho-social needs, the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe established an expert group on the mental health impacts of Covid-19 in the European region. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has issued analyses and guidance on mental health in general and the pandemic’s impact on mental health in particular. At European Union level, a December 2020 European Commission communication addressed the pandemic’s impact on mental health. In May 2021, the Commission organised a major online stakeholder event, and published best practice examples of solutions presented. A July 2020 European Parliament resolution recognises mental health as a fundamental human right, calling for a 2021-2027 EU action plan on mental health. Members of the European Parliament have also called on the Commission to put mental health at the heart of EU policymaking. Stakeholders broadly rally around calls for programmes and funding to improve citizens’ mental health, not least to respond to the pandemic’s long-term implications.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Highlights – Cross-border health, high-technology assessment, asbestos protection: committee votes – Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

protecting citizens' health
The Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety will vote on amendments to the report on serious cross-border threats to health, and to the opinion on protecting workers from asbestos, on 12 and 13 July. The provisional inter-institutional agreement on the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) will also be voted on 13 July.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Germany’s pre-UN food summit talks criticised for ignoring ‘most marginalised’

In the run-up to the UN Food Systems Summit in September, Germany’s agriculture ministry launched its preparatory process at a conference this week where politicians, agriculture and health experts exchanged their views on future food production. However, the dialogue was criticised for missing the voices of marginalised people. EURACTIV Germany reports.

Study – Meeting the Green Deal objectives by alignment of technology and behaviour – 09-07-2021

This study explores the prospects of aligning citizens’ behaviour with the objectives of the European Green Deal in the domains of food consumption and mobility. Creating a climate-neutral and resource-efficient European economy requires a deep transformation of energy, mobility and food systems, as well as a change in production and consumption practices. Such profound change will impact both individuals and society. At the same time, the transition to sustainability will not succeed if people do not support it by adapting their behaviour and consumption patterns. This would imply change towards ‘sustainable behaviour’. The study explores options for such sustainable behaviour, with a focus on mobility and food consumption. It identifies key challenges and possibilities in each domain and explores how technological solutions can help people adapt to sustainable behaviour in alignment with the objectives of the European Green Deal.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Highlights – Rural areas, trade: committee debates with Commissioners – Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

US-EU Flags
The Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development will hold a debate with newly appointed US Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, on 12 July. The day after, the Committee will go over the European Commission’s long-term vision for rural areas with Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski. Trade-related issues will then be discussed with Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, on 16 July.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

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