How can we feed Europeans, and the world, while protecting the climate and biodiversity, and taking account of social issues such as farmers' incomes, consumer prices and lifestyle changes?
Agriculture is the main cause of biodiversity loss in France and worldwide (according to the 2019 IPBES report). It contributes for almost 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but it is also the sector most affected by climate change. Two factors are at stake: the spread of intensive farming practices (use of fertilisers and pesticides, standardisation and simplification of landscapes) and the expansion of farmland. At the same time, the proportion of people suffering from chronic undernutrition has been rising steadily since 2019, and now exceeds 10% of the world's population, and almost half the world's population cannot access healthy food for economic reasons, even though the world produces enough to cover everyone's food needs.
IDDRI works mainly on agricultural policies at European level and in France. Through its analysis, assessment and forecasting work, the Institute is encouraging a just transition in food systems, with the threefold aim of protecting biodiversity, combating climate change and improving access to healthy food.
This contribution involves building and discussing scenarios for transforming the food system along three dimensions, using an approach that combines quantitative modelling and qualitative analysis:
- a biophysical dimension, questioning the agronomic/physical contours of a food system that remains within planetary limits in terms of climate, biodiversity and natural resources (water, soil, nutrients). A scenario for an agro-ecological Europe in 2050, called TYFA, published in 2018, has entered the public debate and forms the basis of this work (TYFA project, BIODIVA project, TC4B);
- a socio-economic dimension, which seeks to identify the conditions for changes in food practices, the possible impacts in social terms (jobs, accessibility-price of food) and economic terms (necessary investments and stranded assets, producers' incomes, balance of trade, added value generated in the regions) of the structural transformations envisaged to remain within planetary limits. The report "Towards a Just Transition in Food Systems" illustrates the type of work being undertaken here at French level (Just Transition project, ORGANICTARGETS4EU, VALUMICS);
- finally, a political dimension, which simultaneously questions the nature of the political reforms to be carried out at French and European level and the political dynamics at play (Political Economy of Transition project, SUFISA, PATHWAYS).
IDDRI conducts its work on agriculture and food in partnership with a number of think tank partners in France (ASCA, Solagro, I4CE, BASIC) and in Europe (IEEP in Brussels, Agora in Germany, Concito in Denmark, Clingendael in the Netherlands, and the Institute for the Green Economy in Poland). This work is also firmly rooted in an academic approach, making substantial contributions to numerous European research projects, in partnership with leading institutes, and benefits from funding from European research, French public bodies and philanthropic organisations.