42nd session of the European Commission on Agriculture

Virtual Event, 19/01/2022 - 21/01/2022

42nd session of the European Commission on Agriculture

To assist the region’s Members in cooperating on agricultural problems and to make recommendations on all matters within its geographical and technical competence, FAO convenes the European Commission on Agriculture every two years, between sessions of the FAO Regional Conference for Europe.

Reflecting the current nutritional challenges in the region, the Forty-Second Session of the European Commission of Agriculture is dedicated to transforming food systems to address all forms of malnutrition in Europe and Central Asia. It also relates to the global FAO theme for 2020–2021 – promoting healthy diets and preventing all forms of malnutrition – and to the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, which concludes in February 2022.

To this end, the session aims to identify actions that help provide healthy and nutritious diets for all and will be expected to agree on policy recommendations for Members and FAO alike to address all forms of malnutrition in the region.

The discussions of the Commission will be guided by thematic background papers presenting various aspects of the region’s food systems and explaining how they contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Among other topics, these papers explore the existing linkages between food systems and nutrition, the role of a territorial approach to development in addressing multidimensional issues of transforming local food systems and nutrition, and the potential impact of improving agricultural production on the availability of healthy and nutritious food.

Sustainable agrifood systems balance economic, environmental, and social aspects while providing food security and nutrition for all, reducing poverty and vulnerabilities, promoting and improving resilient livelihoods, and protecting the planet’s natural resources. The related background paper highlights specific aspects of agrifood systems in Europe and Central Asia where action is needed to provide healthy and nutritious diets, with the goal of facilitating a discussion on how to adopt a holistic agrifood systems approach to ensure affordable and accessible healthy diets in the region. With regards to addressing all forms of malnutrition, the paper emphasizes the importance of consumers, outlining both their basic right to a nutritious, diverse diet and their pivotal role in driving sustainability and shaping the food systems of the future. At the session, Members are invited to share progress made towards the adoption of sustainable agrifood systems.

The background paper on better production for diverse and nutritious diets explores global, regional and local processes by focusing on agricultural supply chains and identifying factors that can affect value chain development. The paper tries to understand how the diversification of primary production, value addition, technology and trade can lead to income growth, social inclusion and more environmental sustainability in both small-scale and large-scale agricultural production systems. Based on the analysis, Members are invited to discuss how “better production” can facilitate the availability of and access to diverse and nutritious food in the region and, ultimately, how agrifood supply and value chains can help realize the SDGs.