Justice and Food Security in a Changing Climate

With the Sustainable Development Goals the global community has agreed to end hunger and malnutrition in all of its forms by 2030. However, the number of chronically undernourished people has increased continuously each year from 775 million in 2014 to 821 million in 2017. Ongoing climate change and the necessary action to be taken are very likely to aggravate this situation even more.

This makes necessary strategies to mitigate climate change but also adapting agricultural production to radically changing climatic conditions. However, to reach the goal agreed upon at COP 21 in Paris (2015) ‘to limit global warming to well below 2 °C’, the implementation of negative emission technologies becomes necessary what will increase food insecurity even more as this will result in unprecedented competition for agricultural land.

The EurSafe Conference 2021 in Fribourg focuses on the key concerns of ethics and justice as a consequence of these climate change challenges, encouraging papers exploring the following areas:

Climate mitigation and food security:

To avoid dangerous climate change, the economic system and energy production in both developed countries and developing countries must change radically. Recent studies have shown that mitigation action most probably increases food insecurity. Many mitigation efforts require agricultural land, which increases prices for land and food. With regard to world hunger, this has disastrous consequences. How must these trade-offs between mitigation and food security be analysed? What entitlements with regard to food security must be granted. Is zero hunger enough? Does there exist a higher level of nutrition entitlements?

Geoengineering, agriculture and land:

Most models showing that limiting global warming well below 2 °C is possible, assume negative emission technologies (NETs) to be installed to a large extend. If implemented, some of these technologies, like Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), or afforestation, demand vast agricultural areas. This will lead to potential conflicts between interventions into the climate system and food security. How should these conflicts be addressed? What priorities should be set in different regions of the world? Which technologies should be prioritized and on what grounds?

Adapting agriculture to sustain food security:

In order to sustain food security, agricultural systems need to adapt and build resilience. The increased competition for agricultural land from both mitigation action and geoengineering technologies makes such adaptation even more difficult. Strategies for adapting agricultural production to improve the resilience of communities are of key importance, particularly in tropical and dryland regions. What role does climate adaptation play for sustainable food supply and vice versa? Which biotechnologies can be developed and applied and how should responsibilities be distributed in order to ensure food security despite changing climatic conditions?

Animal ethics, veterinary ethics and food security: 

Animals will be affected by climate change in various ways, such as new or wider spread of infectious diseases, through changes in the systems of production and with application of novel animal biotechnologies. In addition, new fields of research might emerge where more and diverse types of research animals will be used. How should we deal with the effects of climate change on animals, theoretically and practically? What solutions do animals, veterinary ethics and agricultural ethics provide?

The topics of the congress range from the four key themes  across fundamental ethical issues and areas that relate to veterinary medicine, transparency in the food chain, professional food ethics, etc. Besides more conceptual and theoretical contributions, we also welcome papers that use case studies and studies that examine and propose guidelines on how to deal with key challenges of food security

Further conference topics :

  • Agricultural Ethics
  • Aquaculture and animal ethics
  • Ethics of Consumption
  • Food ethics and development
  • Food Justice: General Issues
  • Food Politics: Policy and Legislation
  • Media, Transparency, and Trust
  • Novel Approaches in Food Production Systems
  • Sustainable Food Chains