ROME — The development of an equitable and sustainable global food system that can provide for the entire population of the world requires discussions that not only address immediate food insecurity issues, but also deeply examine systemic challenges in the global food order in light of the principle of the oneness of humanity.
This idea forms the basis of a statement jointly prepared by the Addis Ababa and Brussels Offices of the Bahá’í International Community (BIC) and presented to the 5th African Union (AU) – European Union (EU) Agriculture Ministerial Conference held in Rome.
Titled Just, sustainable and resilient food systems: Some considerations for the AU – EU partnership, the statement highlights principles and proposals for action, including the importance of examining assumptions which underlie agricultural practice and policy from the local to the international level; reevaluating the concepts of prosperity and development; and understanding the impact of the historical relationship between Europe and Africa.
Solomon Belay of the Addis Ababa Office elaborates: “We need to foster a comprehensive understanding of how the global food order can be fundamentally revisited, so that we are no longer in a situation where, for example, Africa, so rich in agricultural resources, is reliant on food imports.
“Ongoing reflection on these issues,” continues Dr. Belay, “will allow insights to emerge that can increasingly inform the design of new and just models of agricultural production and distribution.”
The statement underscores the need for a collaborative approach to addressing systemic challenges. Rachel Bayani of the Brussels Office states: “No continent currently possesses all the insights necessary to place the global food system on a firm foundation. It is, therefore, fundamental that one continent is not considered to possess all the solutions to the problems of the other.”
Mrs. Bayani adds: “This implies a change in the flow of knowledge between the two continents, not simply transferred from one place to another, but rather multi-directionally exchanged as stakeholders on both continents are seen as capable of contributing to the generation and application of knowledge relevant to the design of food systems.”
The statement, which can be viewed here, builds on the ongoing efforts of the BIC to contribute to the discourses on agriculture, food security, and global governance.