Ingrid Visseren-Hamakers discusses fundamental sustainability in the European Parliament

Date of news: 8 February 2021

Professor of Environmental Governance and Politics Ingrid Visseren-Hamakers discussed the European Commission's new food policy, the Farm to Fork Strategy, during a public hearing on Thursday 4 February. This hearing was organised by the European Parliament Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development.

Individual animals

During the hearing, committee members invited experts to weigh in on a specific scientific theme. Visseren focused on the need for fundamental sustainability and how we this can be achieved through transformative governance. “I also argued for an eighteenth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) ont he interest of the individual animals to shift our definition of sustainable development from an anthropocentric perspective to an ecocentric one,” she explains. In other words, Visseren hopes to redefine sustainable development as living in harmony with all other living creatures.

Politics versus science

According to Visseren, there is a significant difference between scientific facts and political debate. “Some politicians ignore the need for fundamental sustainability efforts because they represent other interests. For me, it was again a reality check about how hard it is to shift towards becoming a truly sustainable society.”

 During the lecture, Visseren also stressed that sustainability does not mean choosing farmer over nature, or vice versa. “Many parties are critical of the current agricultural system,” she says. “This doesn't mean they're anti-farmer; we need farmers to help make agriculture more sustainable.”