European Policy Conference, 15-16 June 2015, Brussels
This conference, co-organised by Demeter International and the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), will provide a discussion platform for negotiators, decision-makers and stakeholders to exchange views on civil society concerns about the possible implications of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on sustainable food and agriculture, public health and services, education and democracy. It will discuss visions of fair and sound international trade, develop ideas for inter-state arrangements that would foster fair trade and debate whether TTIP and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) contain any approaches that could lead to healthier trade.
In this video, EPHA policy coordinator Zoltán Massay-Kosubek addresses the impact of TTIP for agriculture, food and health in Europe.
You can watch the video HERE which discusses the following five key questions:
REGISTER HERE (Deadline for registration: Wednesday, 10 June 2015, 12:00)
AGENDA & CONCEPT NOTE (pdf)
Date: 15-16 June 2015
Conference languages: EN, DE
The planned free trade agreements between the EU and the US and Canada, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), have stirred heated debates among civil society organisations, which question whether these agreements can achieve their stated aims whilst protecting health. TTIP supporters and negotiators continue to reassure civil society that TTIP would not affect the member states’ sovereign right to regulate and would not lower European public health, agricultural or food safety standards. However, there are legitimate concerns about risks for standard setting and maintenance in the fields of sustainable food, agriculture, health systems, safe labour and animal welfare. Mistrust prevails towards the final outcome of the agreements, since negotiations have taken place behind closed doors and only with civil society pressure have small positive steps towards more transparency been made. Proposed instruments such as regulatory cooperation or the Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) threaten to undermine the right to regulate and the democratic development of legislation.
At the heart of international trade is the belief that it will have a positive economic benefit. Historically, economic growth has led to improved population health. Yet this link is now weakening, and attention is being focused on assessing the effect of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) on health and the ability of governments to mitigate against negative impact. 
TTIP is negotiated in the context of the high and growing burden of chronic diet-related, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain cancers, as well as obesity. There is strong evidence linking increased globalisation, free trade agreements and nutritional transition to over-consumption and a shift towards Western-style diets which are characterised by increased volumes of cheap, energy-dense, nutritionally-poor and ultra-processed foods which are high in (saturated) fats, salt and added sugars (HFSS). Such behavior is also accompanied by under-consumption of products high in fibre such as fruit, vegetables and wholegrains.
The aim of the conference is to produce a list of concrete recommendations to decision makers on how to construct better and fairer international trade relations for the benefit of societies and the environment. The outcomes will be compiled in a conference report – including concrete recommendations around the key questions. These will then be communicated to decision-makers.
The conference will be of particular interest and importance for the representatives of civil society organisations, EU institution and member state representatives, researchers and other stakeholders dealing directly and indirectly with trade, agriculture, food and public health policies.
On the first day the plenary sessions will set the scene focusing on key areas of concern (status of the negotiations, sustainable food and farming, health systems and services), where participants will have the opportunity to contribute short comments and questions.
On the second day different working groups will be set up to allow in-depth discussions. Here participants are welcome to contribute with constructive knowledge and perspectives.
In the final plenary session conference conclusions will be drafted based on the plenary discussions and the workshop debates in an interactive and inclusive way.
In order to feed into the discussions, participants are kindly invited to send initial position papers and inputs to the organisers at email@example.com before 1 June and will receive an information package for the preparation of their workshop before 7 June.
The seminar is free of charge; the organisers do NOT cover any travel or accommodation costs.
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Demeter-International e. V. is a non-profit association for organic food and farming. Its member organisations work together in the spirit of an international confederation with democratic principles. In Brussels, we have an active role supporting social and environmental advocacy work from the perspective of food and agriculture. We are committed to support and promote biodynamic agriculture, sustainable farming and environmental protection and raise the citizens’ awareness about those issues. Demeter International is a member of ARC2020. http://www.demeter.net
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