The Brussels Office of the Baha’i International Community (BIC) has released a statement titled Towards a Sustainable Food System, which explores the implications of the principle of the oneness of humanity for improving global food security.
The BIC presented its statement to the Ministers of Agriculture at the European Union (EU) who had gathered in the Czech Republic to discuss policies relating to food production and distribution.
The discussions at that gathering, reads the statement, “provide a timely opportunity for the discourse to … address systemic challenges,” highlighting the need for analysis to account for the broader impact of EU agricultural policies not just in Europe, but throughout the world.
The BIC proposes, in its statement, that widening participation in decision-making processes “must be understood not merely as negotiation aimed at producing a tolerable consensus, but as a collective investigation into what sustainable food systems entail, in which all meaningfully engage and to which all contribute.”
This approach has formed the basis of the BIC’s own contribution to the discourse on food security, as the three BIC Offices in Addis Ababa, Brussels, and Geneva periodically bring together officials, diverse social actors, and civil society organizations in Europe and Africa — where EU policies have notable impact — for a collective exploration of pressing issues.
Recent discussions held by the BIC have examined topics such as the relationship between agricultural policies, rural sustainability, and the causes of migration. These conversations are showing that when issues are explored in light of the principle of oneness, participants are better able to consider the impact of their decisions and actions not only on their own surroundings but on the whole of humanity.
Other efforts of the BIC in this area include a statement titled The First Active Agent in Human Society: Putting Farmers at the Heart of Food Security Policy, exploring how knowledge generated about food production by farmers and communities at the local level can inform international policies on food and agriculture.
Rachel Bayani of the Brussels Office says: “The world is in need of a food system that is sustainable, non-exploitative, and provides for all of humanity. No single actor and no single continent currently possess all the insights that would allow for a food system to be placed on a solid foundation.
“What we need is a collective inquiry and learning process where peoples from all regions of the world, from researchers to farmers, think about this challenge together and are connected to discussions where meaningful decisions are being made about food systems.”
The Brussels Office will be hosting a number of events in the coming months to explore the new statement further with social actors and officials concerned with the question of food security.