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EU Smarter Rules for Safer Food - the Animal & Plant Health Package

EU Smarter Rules for Safer Food - the Animal & Plant Health Package | Environmental policy | Scoop.it

The European Commission has adopted on Monday 6 May 2013 a package of measures to strengthen the enforcement of health and safety standards for the whole agri-food chain.

The package of measures provide a modernised and simplified, more risked-based approach to the protection of health and more efficient control tools to ensure the effective application of the rules guiding the operation of the food chain. Five draft regulations are put into adoption procedure with other EU institutions, including the European Parliament and the Council. The main four are foreseen to be adopted in next 2 years:

- Official controls,

- Animal health,

- Plant health,

- Plant reproductive material (including seeds)

 

The current body of EU legislation covering the food chain consists of almost 70 pieces of legislation. The package of reform will cut this down to 5 pieces of legislation and will also reduce the red-tape on processes and procedures for farmers, breeders and food business operators (producers, processors and distributors) to make it easier for them to carry out their profession.

Knapco's insight:

As announced by the commissioner Borg, the EU's from farm-to-fork policy aims to ensure a high level of health for humans, animals and plants through the development of risk based rules as well as preventing, managing and mitigating risks that threaten our food chain. The package is particularly relevant in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.

The legislation requires that official controls should also be unannounced in order to strengthen the tools to fight fraud.

"Another key part of the Commission's proposal is extending and strengthening the financing of the effective implementation of these controls but it must be noted that microenterprises will be exempted from the new fees system – but not from controls," said commissioner Borg.

 

He stressed the importance of plant health. Crops that are grown in the EU account for €205 billion annually. Europe's agriculture, forest and natural heritage are being threatened by the introduction of new pest species as a result of globalisation and climate change. The proposal aims to address these threats by upgrading the existing plant health regime; increasing the traceability of plant material; focusing on high risk trade and providing better surveillance and early eradication of outbreaks of new pest species as well as providing financial compensation for growers.

 

Borg has highlighted that 60% of the world export value in seeds originates from the EU. With this in mind, this reform provides simpler and more flexible rules for the marketing of seeds and other plant reproductive material to ensure the productivity; adaptability and diversity to Europe's crop production and to facilitate their trade.

"Our aim is to introduce a broader choice for the users thus including new improved and tested varieties, material not fulfilling the variety definition (heterogeneous material), traditional varieties and niche market material. This will contribute to protection of biodiversity and to breeding oriented towards sustainable agriculture," he said at today's launche of the package.

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Knapco's curator insight, May 6, 2013 11:43 AM

The package is particularly relevant in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.

"Restoring the trust and confidence of our citizens and trading partners is key given that the agri-food industry is the second largest economic sector in the EU, employing over 48 million people and is worth some €750 billion a year," he said.

"Let me highlight three issues that will be dealt with in the context of the proposal with respect to this issue as proposed in the control regulation :

Firstly: sanctions for operators who commit fraud will be commensurate to the economic gain as a result of fraud

Secondly: the legislation now enables the Commission to require testing and controls in areas such as food fraud and not only to recommend as has currently been the case

Thirdly: the legislation now requires that official controls should also be unannounced in order to strengthen our tools to fight fraud."

The legislation requires that official controls should also be unannounced in order to strengthen the tools to fight fraud.

Environmental policy
Preventing and reducing harmful effects on nature and natural resources by plant protection against pests, including pesticides use.
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EUROPA - co-financing of surveillance studies on honeybee losses in 2013-2014

EUROPA - co-financing of surveillance studies on honeybee losses in 2013-2014 | Environmental policy | Scoop.it

Beekeeping, honey production and wild bees

It is estimated that pollinators contribute at least 22 billion Euros each year to European agriculture, with 84% of crops needing insect pollination, and more than 80% of wild flowers require pollinators to reproduce. However, throughout Europe there a severe decline in the numbers of wild bees and other pollinators and managed honeybees have been reported, and this trend is expected to continue.

The EU has more than 2,500 species of wild bees and one species, the honeybee (Apis mellifera), which has been domesticated and is widely managed; there are also a few other species of bumblebees (Bombus spp.) and Osmia bee which are also managed for pollination services but on a smaller scale.

These EU bee species play an important role in both crop and wild flower pollination and honeybees also provide honey and other apiculture products within the EU.

Knapco's insight:

The EU budget will continue co-financing of surveillance studies on
honeybee losses with around €1.84m for 2013/2014. Further studies should
provide a better picture of the reasons why these bees are disappearing. Member States carried out surveys on honeybee colony losses on a voluntary basis in 2012-2013, but no clear answers have been available yet.  .

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EUROPA - Bee Health: EU-wide restrictions on Pesticide use to enter into force on 1 December

EUROPA - Bee Health: EU-wide restrictions on Pesticide use to enter into force on 1 December | Environmental policy | Scoop.it

European Commission - Press Release - European Commission Press release Brussels, 24 May 2013 A restriction on the use of three pesticides belonging to the neonicotinoid family was today adopted by the Commission.

These pesticides (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam) were identified as being harmful to Europe’s honeybee population. This restriction will enter into force as from 1 December 2013 and will be reviewed, at the latest, within two years. It targets pesticides used in the treatment of plants and cereals that are attractive to bees and pollinators.

 

As soon as new information is available, and at the latest within 2 years, the Commission will review this restriction to take into account relevant scientific and technical developments.

Knapco's insight:

Some EU Member States have already had restrictions in place (Italy, Slovenia, France,..) despite no strong evidence that seed treatment, soil application (granules) and foliar treatment on cereals would influence bee health.Further research is needed to find the reasons for global bee decline.

Increased EU co-financing is welcome for national apiculture programmes, co-financing to carry out surveillance studies in 17 voluntary Member States (€3.3 million were allocated in 2012) and EU research programmes such as BeeDoc and STEP which look into the multifactorial aspects that could be attributed to Europe’s bee decline.

Pesticides have been identified as one of several factors which may be responsible for the decline in number of bees. Other factors also include parasites, other pathogens, lack of veterinary medicines or sometimes their misuse, apiculture management and environmental factors such as lack of habitat and feed and climate change.

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How to start a school garden

How to start a school garden | Environmental policy | Scoop.it

It goes without saying that you're going to have to jump through quite a few hoops to get your school garden up and running.  But with a little planning, you should be able to answer everyone's question and get the approval you need in no time.  Here's what you need to know to start planning.


Via David Rowing
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Food production vs. biodiversity: comparing organic and conventional agriculture - Gabriel - 2013 - Journal of Applied Ecology - Wiley Online Library

Food production vs. biodiversity: comparing organic and conventional agriculture - Gabriel - 2013 - Journal of Applied Ecology - Wiley Online Library | Environmental policy | Scoop.it

To identify the benefits (in terms of biodiversity conservation) and costs (in terms of reduction in yields) of agricultural management, we examined the relationship between crop yield and abundance and species density of important taxa in winter cereal fields on both organic and conventional farms in lowland England.
Of eight species groups examined, five (farmland plants, bumblebees, butterflies, solitary bees and epigeal arthropods) were negatively associated with crop yield, but the shape of this relationship varied between taxa. It was linear for the abundance of bumblebees and species density of butterflies, concave up for the abundance of epigeal arthropods and butterflies and concave down for species density of plants and bumblebees.


RT @LornaCTweets: Gains in biodiversity requires yield loss. With the need to focus on food security has organic agri had its day? http://t.co/zdTxppVp

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Biodiversity Heritage Library for Europe

The Biodiversity Heritage Library for Europe (BHL-Europe) is a 3 year project, involving 28 major natural history museums, botanical gardens and other cooperating institutions.

‘Poisonous Nature’  - an online exhibition from a Europeana partner that brings together information and images from Europeana, the Biodiversity Heritage Library of Europe and the Encyclopedia of Life, and explores the nasty side of nature.

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You can find more than 30 species belonging to different groups, which you may not have had any idea could be poisonous. More species will be added regularly in the future to collection Poisonous Nature. The exhibition also includes more than 90 books describing the species in more detail.

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Aggressive tree disease could cost millions | The Copenhagen Post | The Danish News in English

Aggressive tree disease could cost millions | The Copenhagen Post | The Danish News in English | Environmental policy | Scoop.it

Naturstyrelsen, the state nature agency, has granted funds to the pilot project run by Univerity of Copenhagen to take samples from as many as 60 trees throughout Denmark and combine them with visual observations of the trees from which the samples stem.

According to the Environment Ministry, similar efforts are being carried out in other EU and Scandinavian countries.

Phytophthora, which takes its name from the Greek and literally means ‘the plant destroyer’, is of the plant-damaging water-mould genus and has caused tremendous damage to crops and trees worldwide. In Denmark alone the economic damage sustained by the disease could exceed hundreds of millions of kroner.

Knapco's insight:

Sudden oak death is the common name of a disease caused by the oomycete plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum. The disease kills oak and other species of tree and has had devastating effects on the oak populations in US. In Europe it is regulated quarantine disease, controlled on Rhododendron, Viburnum and other ornamental species.

Read more....

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The Youth Guide to Biodiversity

The Youth Guide to Biodiversity | Environmental policy | Scoop.it
Welcome to planet Earth, whose inhabitants include chameleons, who can see in two different directions at the same time, insects without EYELIDS and elephants with their great sense of smell.

These are just a few examples.
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The publication can be downloaded.

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EU exporting more waste, including hazardous waste

EU exporting more waste, including hazardous waste | Environmental policy | Scoop.it
Waste is increasingly moving across EU borders, for recovery or disposal. This is true for waste shipments between EU countries, and also transfers of waste outside the EU, according to a new assessment from the European Environment Agency (EEA).
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Conservation Plus Agriculture Equals True Food Security

Conservation Plus Agriculture Equals True Food Security | Environmental policy | Scoop.it

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that to feed the world’s growing population over the next 40 years we must find ways to increase food production by 60 percent.

 

One of the outcomes of the recent 2012 IUCN World Conservation Congress was the ‘Call to Action for Agriculture and Conservation to work together.’ This call needs to be followed by a commitment to work with a broad range of partners to gather evidence about what works on the ground.

If we are to find long-term sustainable solutions to food and nutrition security and biodiversity conservation, the policies we need in the future require conservation and agriculture sectors to collaborate. It is not enough just to increase production. Agriculture and conservation have to come together to work with rural communities if we are to have a food secure future.

 

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A Systems Approach for Management of Pests and Pathogens of Nursery Crops

A Systems Approach for Management of Pests and Pathogens of Nursery Crops | Environmental policy | Scoop.it
Plant Disease, Volume 96, Issue 9, Page 1236-1244, September 2012.
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Pine trees one of biggest contributors to air pollution: Pine gases chemically transformed by free radicals

Pine trees one of biggest contributors to air pollution: Pine gases chemically transformed by free radicals | Environmental policy | Scoop.it
Pine trees are one of the biggest contributors to air pollution. They give off gases that react with airborne chemicals creating tiny, invisible particles that muddy the air.

Via Ruth Bastow
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NAP on Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products

NAP on Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products | Environmental policy | Scoop.it

In Germany, the use of plant protection products is regulated exhaustively and at a high level of security and protection. The key instruments are the admission of plant protection products and the legal provisions governing their supply and usage.

The federal and states’ conference of agriculture ministers adopted the National Action Plan on the sustainable use of plant protection products in 2008. It contains measures that further support the existing provisions on plant protection. The overall objective of the National Plan is the further reduction of risks that may arise from the use of plant protection products.

In particular, the usage of chemical plant protection products (pesticides) must be limited to the necessary so that any unnecessary usage of such plant protection products is omitted and non-chemical plant protection measures are encouraged.

The main focus is on the promotion of innovations regarding plant protection and the continued development of practices of integrated pest management.

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Safe & Sustainable Initiative in gardens and small food production farms - YouTube

The Safe and Sustainable Use Initiative provides farmers, operators but also gardeners with an easy-to-use toolbox of solutions to ensure the safe and sustai...
Knapco's insight:

When there is a need to cure plants or protect crops against pests and diseases and plant protection products have to be used, use them safely. Read the instructions. Get more information from advisory service. Join organised trainings. protect yourself and the environment.

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EUROPA - the new proposal for a Regulation on preventing and managing invasive alien species

EUROPA - the new proposal for a Regulation on preventing and managing invasive alien species | Environmental policy | Scoop.it

European Commission - Press Release details page - European Commission MEMO Brussels, 9 September 2013 - invasive alien species (IAS)

 

Invasive alien species are a major cause of biodiversity loss in the EU and throughout the world. They can also cause significant damage to human health and the economy. Examples include the American bullfrog, which out-competes native frog species, allergy-causing ragweed and musk rats that damage infrastructure.

The financial implications are huge. Invasive alien species are estimated to cost EUR 12 billion annually in areas such as health care and animal health costs, crop yield losses, fish stock losses, damage to infrastructure, damage to the navigability of rivers, and damage to protected species.

As these species spread rapidly and more are entering the EU all the time, the costs are predicted to increase rapidly.

The problem is recognised at global level and major EU trade partners already have stringent policies in place, often focusing on prevention. Interesting examples are New Zealand, Australia, the US and Canada where strict border control and quarantine measures apply.

The European Commission has just proposed a draft Regulation will initially cap the list of species of EU concern at 50 species, to focus efforts on the worst species and provide enough regulatory certainty for Member States to put in place the necessary structure to manage the problem. Species of Union concern will be ones whose negative impact requires concerted action at Union level. They might be causing damage all over the Union or only in a part of the Union, but the severity of these effects justifies calling on the assistance of the other EU members.

As this is a new policy area, a targeted and prioritised approach is being taken. This will enable the system to be developed gradually, giving the Commission and Member States the opportunity to learn from experience.

 

Knapco's insight:

Plant protection services working under the International Plant Protection Convention have a lot of experience on combating noxious plant species worldwide. Let's hope that regultors and managers of risk will learn from their experience.

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EU Smarter Rules for Safer Food - the Animal & Plant Health Package

EU Smarter Rules for Safer Food - the Animal & Plant Health Package | Environmental policy | Scoop.it

The European Commission has adopted on Monday 6 May 2013 a package of measures to strengthen the enforcement of health and safety standards for the whole agri-food chain.

The package of measures provide a modernised and simplified, more risked-based approach to the protection of health and more efficient control tools to ensure the effective application of the rules guiding the operation of the food chain. Five draft regulations are put into adoption procedure with other EU institutions, including the European Parliament and the Council. The main four are foreseen to be adopted in next 2 years:

- Official controls,

- Animal health,

- Plant health,

- Plant reproductive material (including seeds)

 

The current body of EU legislation covering the food chain consists of almost 70 pieces of legislation. The package of reform will cut this down to 5 pieces of legislation and will also reduce the red-tape on processes and procedures for farmers, breeders and food business operators (producers, processors and distributors) to make it easier for them to carry out their profession.

Knapco's insight:

As announced by the commissioner Borg, the EU's from farm-to-fork policy aims to ensure a high level of health for humans, animals and plants through the development of risk based rules as well as preventing, managing and mitigating risks that threaten our food chain. The package is particularly relevant in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.

The legislation requires that official controls should also be unannounced in order to strengthen the tools to fight fraud.

"Another key part of the Commission's proposal is extending and strengthening the financing of the effective implementation of these controls but it must be noted that microenterprises will be exempted from the new fees system – but not from controls," said commissioner Borg.

 

He stressed the importance of plant health. Crops that are grown in the EU account for €205 billion annually. Europe's agriculture, forest and natural heritage are being threatened by the introduction of new pest species as a result of globalisation and climate change. The proposal aims to address these threats by upgrading the existing plant health regime; increasing the traceability of plant material; focusing on high risk trade and providing better surveillance and early eradication of outbreaks of new pest species as well as providing financial compensation for growers.

 

Borg has highlighted that 60% of the world export value in seeds originates from the EU. With this in mind, this reform provides simpler and more flexible rules for the marketing of seeds and other plant reproductive material to ensure the productivity; adaptability and diversity to Europe's crop production and to facilitate their trade.

"Our aim is to introduce a broader choice for the users thus including new improved and tested varieties, material not fulfilling the variety definition (heterogeneous material), traditional varieties and niche market material. This will contribute to protection of biodiversity and to breeding oriented towards sustainable agriculture," he said at today's launche of the package.

more...
Knapco's curator insight, May 6, 2013 11:43 AM

The package is particularly relevant in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.

"Restoring the trust and confidence of our citizens and trading partners is key given that the agri-food industry is the second largest economic sector in the EU, employing over 48 million people and is worth some €750 billion a year," he said.

"Let me highlight three issues that will be dealt with in the context of the proposal with respect to this issue as proposed in the control regulation :

Firstly: sanctions for operators who commit fraud will be commensurate to the economic gain as a result of fraud

Secondly: the legislation now enables the Commission to require testing and controls in areas such as food fraud and not only to recommend as has currently been the case

Thirdly: the legislation now requires that official controls should also be unannounced in order to strengthen our tools to fight fraud."

The legislation requires that official controls should also be unannounced in order to strengthen the tools to fight fraud.

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Water is a Human Right

Water is a Human Right | Environmental policy | Scoop.it

Water is a public good, not a commodity. We invite the European Commission to propose legislation implementing the human right to water and sanitation as recognised by the United Nations, and promoting the provision of water and sanitation as essential public services for all. The EU legislation should require governments to ensure and to provide all citizens with sufficient and clean drinking water and sanitation. We urge that:

  1. The EU institutions and Member States be obliged to ensure that all inhabitants enjoy the right to water and sanitation.
  2. Water supply and management of water resources not be subject to ‘internal market rules’ and that water services are excluded from liberalisation.
  3. The EU increases its efforts to achieve universal access to water and sanitation.
Knapco's insight:
One million signatures for Water as a Human Right !

(Brussels, 11 February -EPSU Press Communication) Yesterday, the first up and running European Citizens Initiative (ECI) ‘Water is a Human Right’ made history as also being the first ECI in the history of the European Union to have collected over 1 million signatures.

Anne-Marie Perret, President of the Citizens Committee says “Reaching this important milestone, with one Million EU citizens agreeing that water and sanitation are human rights, is a great success. We appreciate the support of so many and will continue campaigning to pass a strong message to the European Commission.  We have also managed to overcome the start up problems, as well as the legal and technical barriers forced upon us by the European Commission and Member States.

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Action to improve soil for global food security - Cordis News

Action to improve soil for global food security - Cordis News | Environmental policy | Scoop.it

Cordis News
Action to improve soil for global food security


With one in eight inhabitants of the world suffering from hunger, ensuring soil is managed and restored for global food security is vital.

As a society, we are becoming more aware of the many ways we can help support sustainable development and preserve the environment. Governments, scientists and international organisations are calling attention to soil: the basis for more than 90 % of world food production. With one in eight inhabitants of the world suffering from hunger, ensuring soil is managed and restored for global food security is vital. Soil is also important for sustainable development, and supports ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Every minute, 23 hectares of land face desertification, 5.5 hectares of land are transformed by urban encroachment (severely disturbing soil functions), and 10 hectares of soil are degraded, causing the soil to lose the capacity to support ecosystem functions. Soil is - in human terms - a non-renewable resource.

Knapco's insight:

The Global Soil Forum has recently launched the first Global Soil Week to warn society on urgent and consolidated action, which is needed to strengthen science and technology, build partnerships for change and raise awareness about importance of soil for food security.

More than 400 representatives of governments, scientists, international organisations, business and civil society met in Berlin, Germany, to consider the theme 'Soils for Life'. The event took place within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership and served as a platform to follow-up on the land- and soil-related decisions from the June 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development.

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Biodiversity: Global 'pollinator crisis' intensifies

Biodiversity: Global 'pollinator crisis' intensifies | Environmental policy | Scoop.it

SUMMIT COUNTY — Adding patches of diverse flowering plants in urban landscapes could help ground-nesting bumblebees survive in ever-more developed areas, according to researchers with the University of Texas at Austin and the University of California, Berkeley.

“We are potentially in a pollinator crisis,” said Shalene Jha, lead author and assistant professor of biology at The University of Texas at Austin. “Honey bees are declining precipitously, and wild bees have also been exhibiting population declines across the globe. Native bees provide critical pollination services for fruit, nut, fiber and forage crops. Understanding how bees move around the landscape can help us both preserve biodiversity and improve crop yields.”

The study suggests management strategies that reduce the local use of pavement and increase natural habitat within the landscape could improve nesting opportunities for wild bees and help protect food supplies around the word. Increasing the number of species-rich flowering patches in suburban and urban gardens, farms and restored habitats could provide pathways for bees to forage and improve pollination services over larger areas.

The findings have major implications for global pollinator conservation on a rapidly urbanizing planet. Animal pollination is estimated to be worth over $200 billion in global crop yields.

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Still no ban on DDT: Treaty monitors allow DDT use to continue ...

Still no ban on DDT: Treaty monitors allow DDT use to continue ... | Environmental policy | Scoop.it
Now with more than 152 signatory nations and 178 entities offering some sort of ratification (not the U.S., sadly), the treaty urges control of chemicals that do not quickly break down once released into the environment, and which often end up as pollutants. In setting up the agreement, there was a list of a dozen particularly nasty chemicals branded the “Dirty Dozen” particularly targeted for control due to their perniciousness — DDT was one of that group.
Knapco's insight:
Stockholm Convention continues to allow DDT use for disease vector controlFourth meeting of the DDT Expert Group assesses continued need for DDT, 3–5 December 2012, Geneva
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Protected areas have increased to cover one fifth of Europe’s land

Protected areas have increased to cover one fifth of Europe’s land | Environmental policy | Scoop.it

More than 21 % of the land has some kind of protected status in the 39 countries which work with the European Environment Agency (EEA).

 

Protected areas are important havens for biodiversity and vital to preserving some of Europe’s most threatened species, according to ‘Protected areas in Europe – an overview’, which looks at the status of national parks, nature reserves, biosphere reserves and other protected areas, including the EU’s Natura 2000 network. These areas can place very different limits on human activity. For example, some allow building, fishing and industry, while others are closed to most human intervention.

 

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Governments and business must pick up pace on biodiversity

Governments and business must pick up pace on biodiversity | Environmental policy | Scoop.it

The Guardian (blog) The results of the recent Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 11) in Hyderabad, India, suggest that international efforts to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystems are bogged down in a tussle over resourcing.

The OECD is, in turn, committed to working with its 34 countries and many more partner countries to identify the most cost-effective way of promoting green growth and the sustainable use of biodiversity. Without a policy revolution that takes natural as well as social capital seriously, neither governments nor businesses will get beyond some nice case studies. Without scale, the shrinkage of our biodiversity will continue. The OECD projects a further 10% loss of biodiversity by 2050 if policies support business as usual.

 

By 2050, with 9 billion people on Earth, pressure on the environment will be intolerable if we don't properly price the resources they need. Green accounts – whether they are national or corporate – may not be a perfect way of keeping people honest. But they would be a huge improvement on the status quo which mortgages our common future without any idea – or concern — for the long-run costs. Governments must use their regulatory power to impose taxes and offer fiscal incentives to ensure that resource use takes a more sustainable path. They can develop efficient, business-friendly mechanisms to pay for natural capital.

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John Dalli Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy - Europa

John Dalli Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy - Europa | Environmental policy | Scoop.it
The EU policy on animal health (and this is valid also for animal welfare, plant health and food safety) goes beyond the spheres of health, economics and competitiveness. It also encompasses the values of social cohesion, ...
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Calls for EU wide potato cyst nematode survey

Calls for EU wide potato cyst nematode survey | Environmental policy | Scoop.it
Sustainable potato production across the EU could be under threat from potato cyst nematodes (PCN) and free living nematodes (FLN) without a comprehensive review of sampling and management options. This is the ...
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Home - climate-adapt

Home - climate-adapt | Environmental policy | Scoop.it

The European Climate Adaptation Platform (CLIMATE-ADAPT) aims to support Europe in adapting to climate change. It is an initiative of the European Commission and helps users to access and share information on expected climate change in Europe, vulnerability of regions and sectors, adaptation strategies and tools that support adaptation planning.

Adaptation case studies and potential adaptation options can be checked by individual country.

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Genetic Engineers Slam GMO Industry Claims in New Report

Genetic Engineers Slam GMO Industry Claims in New Report | Environmental policy | Scoop.it

A new report entiteld, “GMO Myths and Truths”, challenges the claim that critics of genetically engineered food are anti-science. The report presents a large body of peer-reviewed scientific and other authoritative evidence of the hazards to health and the environment posed by genetically engineered crops and organisms (GMOs).

Some of the biggest claims by the biotech industry are that genetically modified seeds can increase yield potential, and are being used to combat poverty and hunger around the globe, but the authors say it is simply not the case. Yields are consistently falling below expectations, leading already struggling farmers further into debt witht these multinational corporations that hold patent rights on the seeds and demand payment regardless of how well the crops perform. Farmers are also being forced to use more pesticides to deal with resistant weeds and insects that have developed in recent years, mainly to Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup pesticide. One of the early promises of genetically modified crops was the decreased use of pesticides over time. And the continual, excessive use of pesticides is causing irreparable damage to water, soil and biodiversity.

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