Science policies and financial levels

ICSU (International Council for Science), non-governmental organization founded in the 1930s).

ICSU’s mission is to strengthen international science for the benefit of society. To do this, ICSU mobilizes the knowledge and resources of the international science community to identify and address major issues of importance to science and society, provide independent, authoritative advice to stimulate constructive dialogue between the scientific community and governments, civil society, and the private sector etc.

The EU strategy for sustainable development

(SEDD Göteborg 2001 ; 10 themes, Nex Cronos, Eurostat base) makes reference to the efficient use and management of resources, aiming at exploiting the ecological and social innovation potential. The EC “Resources efficiency in Europe”, EEA report 5/2011, p17 and the communication "Roadmap to a resource efficient Europe".

SCAR 3rd Foresight Exercise and CAP2020 (European Commission – Standing Committee on Agricultural Research)

Sustainable food consumption and production in a resource-constrained world, February 2011 / chair :
(German Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries / Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena) and Erik Mathijs, KU Leuven.

« Sustainable food consumption and production in a resource-constrained world », EU commission – Standing Committee on agricultural research (SCAR), 3rd foresight exercise, February 2011.

The increasing scarcity of natural resources and destabilization of environmental systems represents a real threat not only to future food supplies, but also to global stability and prosperity, as it can aggravate poverty, disturb international trade, finance and investment, and destabilise governments.
Many of today´s food production systems compromise the capacity of Earth to produce food in the future. Globally, and in many regions including Europe, food production is exceeding environmental limits or is close to doing so. Drastic change is needed in regard to both food demand and supply. In an era of scarcity, the imperative is to address production and consumption jointly in order to introduce the necessary feedbacks among them and to decouple food production from resource use.
Efficiency and resilience are the new priorities over production levels. This transition cannot be met by following the common narrative of increasing productivity. The narrative of “sufficiency” opens opportunities for transition into sustainable and equitable food systems by a systemic approach that deals with the complex interactions of the challenges founded on a better understanding of socio-ecological systems.
Diversity and coordination are key for increased efficiency and resilience of the future agro-food systems. It is a fact and a strength that food consumption and production systems are diverse. This diversity has to be maintained, or diversification be fostered, between different regions and farming systems.
Coherence between food, energy, environmental and health policies and across all levels of governance are prerequisites for a timely transition to sustainable and equitable food systems. A new quality of governance is needed at local, national and global level, with a substantial contribution by the State and civil society.

Foresight. The Future of Food and Farming (2011) Executive Summary. The Government Office for Science, London.

The UK government report (Beddington, 2011) analyses the world food system under similar terms as the SCAR foresight, insisting on the reasons why the present day conventional agriculture is neither sustainable (as it uses natural resources faster than such resources can be regenerated), nor efficient (malnutrition and hunger remain major threats).

Le rapport sur l’avenir du système alimentaire et agricole mondial et son évolution jusqu’en 2050, publié 24 janvier 2011, à la demande du gouvernement britannique par Foresight (Government Office for Science) avec le concours de 400 experts venant de 35 pays différents.
L’étude du fonctionnement du système alimentaire mondial actuel indique qu’il n’est ni durable (puisqu’il consomme les ressources naturelles plus rapidement qu’elles ne se reconstituent) ni performant (puisque 925 millions de personnes souffrent de malnutrition). On parle du « perfect storm », i.e. la combinaison de la croissance démographique, de la diminution des ressources pour la production alimentaire et du changement climatique.
Ainsi, l’épuisement des ressources, l’augmentation des prix de la nourriture, l’aggravation du problème de la faim, des tensions sociales et des flux migratoires accrus, voire des conflits, font partie des risques encourus sauf à modifier en profondeur le système alimentaire et agricole mondial.

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment

was founded in 1997 by Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham. Jeremy is Co-Founder and Chief Strategist of GMO, LLC, an investment management firm.

“Jeremy Grantham’s Letters and Articles” ( Letters addressing environmental and/or resource limitation themes include the following :

  • “Resource Limitations 2 : Separating the Dangerous from the Merely Serious, published 7/22/2011
  • “Time to Wake Up : Days of Abundant Resources and Falling Prices Are Over Forever,” published 4/25/2011
  • “Everything You Need to Know About Global Warming in 5 Minutes,” published in “Summer Essays,” 7/19/2010
  • “Running Out of Resources,” published as an addendum to “Boring Fair Price !” 7/25/2009
  • “Living Beyond Our Means : Entering the Age of Limitations,” published as an addendum to “Meltdown ! The Global Competence Crisis,” 7/30/2008

More about Jeremy Grantham in the New York Times Sunday Magazine.
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Article publié ou modifié le

24 octobre 2013