European Research for the World Food System

Tropentag 2010 - Plenary Session Tim Hall, DG Research European Commission, offered an overview of the current research projects of the European Union plus Switzerland and Norway. The European research for the world food system has an interest in the “One-World” issue. The EU is the major player in donor funding, research and academic organizations act as in-kind contributors. Concern for poor smallholder farmers in eastern Europe or animal diseases that can affect humans are examples of current issues. The European Commission pursues a comprehensive approach in developed and developing countries. Interdisciplinarity is essential to the research activities, its four pillars being: increase of the availability of food, improvement of access, improvement of the nutritional adequacy and enhancement of crisis prevention and management. The 7th EU framework program for research and development is a collaborative effort that has put almost 2 billion Euros into food, agriculture, fisheries and biotechnology as well as environment research (1.8 billion €). However compared to such themes as information and communication technologies (9 billion €) the food relevant issues are small. The food security thematic programme (FSTP) aims to improve food security in favor of the poorest and the most vulnerable and contribute to achieving the first MDG, through a set of actions which ensure overall coherence, complementarity and continuity of community interventions, including the area of transitions from relief to development. The key objective identified by the EC is that science and technology must contribute to solving major societal challenges, however the benefits are not optimized, due to the compartmentalization of public research funding in the European Union.


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