The U.S. and European Union are vowing to look past their significant differences on how to improve agricultural production practices, strengthen food supplies and protect the environment, says USDA Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh, who spoke to reporters from Rome after attending the United Nations Food Systems Pre-Summit.
Bronaugh said she and European Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski pledged to work together to improve their respective food systems by finding common ground, even though the U.S. and EU diverge widely on how to make farming more sustainable.
The European Union is attempting to overhaul the way its 27 nations farm and produce food by slashing the use of pesticides and antimicrobials while requiring that 25% of its farmland shift to organic.
“We acknowledged our differences and we made a commitment to continue to work together and focus on science and innovation in ways that we could move together … on our shared goals of addressing food security and climate change,” Bronaugh said.
She did not provide details on how that would happen, but stressed that the meeting with the commissioner was “very positive” and the two even agreed to collaborate on future projects.
Bronaugh was representing the U.S. at the UN’s Food Systems Pre-Summit – a precursor to the main summit in September – and stressed that much of her time was spent strengthening and forming international coalitions to boost child nutrition, cut food waste and collaborate on research for reducing carbon emissions and preserving the environment.
Ten new countries signed on to support the USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate), which is scheduled to be launched in November at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.
Burkina Faso, Colombia, Ghana, Honduras, Hungary, South Korea, Mexico, the Philippines, Ukraine and Vietnam threw their support behind AIM for Climate, Bronaugh said. The U.S. already had the backing of the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Denmark, Australia, Singapore, Uruguay, Singapore and Israel.
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Meanwhile, Bronaugh stressed that the Biden administration has not committed to any new standards that would impose foreign reforms on U.S. farmers.
“Everyone has a different approach (to improving sustainability) and I think that’s the power of the Food Summit," she said. "There are many different approaches to sustainable agricultural practices and there’s no one way to do it.”
The United Nations said more than 25,000 delegates from 190 countries attended the summit to voice “how they would implement changes for more sustainable, equitable, resilient and nutritious food systems after an extensive process of engagement and dialogues seeking new ideas and evidence-based solutions.”
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