G20 ITALY: new “Marshall Plan” needed to regenerate the Planet
“A massive flood, perhaps due to a rise in temperature and the melting of glaciers: what will happen now if we continue on the same path.” So said Pope Francis at the presentation of his new book “Of Vices and Virtues.”
It’s not just about believing in Divine justice, it is about believing in science, which converges in reminding us that we have less than ten years to keep the Earth’s temperature increase below one and a half degrees. We are therefore living in an era of transition; a transition between models that have led to the overexploitation of natural resources and new regenerative models based on a radical paradigm shift.
Transition is the key concept affecting the new Italian government, led by Mario Draghi, who has established the Ministry for “Ecological Transition” and the Ministry for “Digital Transition.”The former was led by Roberto Cingolani and the latter by Vittorio Colao. A third transition is crucial in redesigning the Italy of the future, linked to infrastructures and sustainable mobility, for which the ministry has been entrusted to Enrico Giovannini.
These transitions will undermine the foundations of traditional economic models, especially in cities, which are destined to become new centers of sustainable development and, as Cingolani stated, new “strategic laboratories for sustainable growth, combining energy transition and climate action towards a zero-emissions scenario.” Hyperconnected destinations, with tangible and intangible digital infrastructures and modern and sustainable logistics systems. These are the key elements of the cities of the future and these are the themes that will be brought to the attention of the G20, of which Italy holds the presidency this year.
And what about food? Isn’t the transition of agri-food systems the most urgent and vital With its farm to fork strategy, Europe has outlined the guidelines, but how are we concretely preparing for the greatest revolution in a sector still full of paradoxes?
Italy has identified three ways to intervene in this area for the next G20: achieve total sustainability of agri-food systems; help the agricultural sector in countries lagging behind the “zero hunger” objective; contribute to the preparatory debate for the UN Food Systems Summit.
To avert the environmental flood of which the Pope also speaks, it is necessary, as anticipated by Paul Polman at the end of 2020, to set up a new “Marshall Plan to save Planet Earth”. As in 1948, when an extraordinary and massive plan was put in place to rebuild Europe, today we need the same determination as then, to introduce a new type of Marshall Plan to face the next ten years to heal the planet and help us transition into a new economy.
A Marshall Plan that focuses on integral ecology and rests on the solid foundations of a radical change in agri-food systems; one that also transforms those strategic laboratories for sustainable growth of which Cingolani speaks; one that redesigns the cities of the future, transforming them into Living Labs capable of bringing together all the players in the supply chain; and one that accelerates the achievement of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda, which are already five years behind schedule.
The agri-food transition must happen quickly because 30% of greenhouse gas emissions come from this sector, the sector on which the relationship between man and nature depends most. The G20 must therefore be the historic opportunity to take a clear position on the sector that represents Italy’s most natural vocation. It is essential that the great of the Earth converge on a single agenda, capable of adopting principles of international cooperation that overcome the gaps generated by treating food as a mere commodity, that responds exclusively to the laws of the market, thus generating distortions harmful to the supply chain and the health of man and the Planet.
When in August 2019, Iceland celebrated the first funeral of a glacier, Okjokull, that disappeared after 700 years due to the rise in the Earth’s temperature, a commemorative plaque was posted there. The plaque, written by the Icelandic author Andri Snaer, is a letter to the future and reads: “In the next 200 years it is predicted that all our major glaciers will come to the same end. This monument testifies that we are aware of what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we have done it.”
We are aware that the “flood” is coming. We are aware of the causes and also the possible solutions. We are in transit to change. Let’s not waste the opportunity to accelerate and do so systemically and not again in the silos of individual transitions. The transversality of the food sector can help us understand the complexity of the system in which we live, and food can and should be the tool through which we implement this change. Let’s not forget.
The Future Food Institute is an international social enterprise and the cornerstone of the Future Food Ecosystem, a collection of research labs, partnerships, initiatives, platforms, networks, entrepreneurial projects and academic programs, that aims to build a more equitable world through enlightening a world-class breed of innovators, boosting entrepreneurial potential, and improving agri-food expertise and tradition.
Future food advocates for positive change through initiatives in Waste & Circular Systems, Water Safety & Security, Climate, Earth Regeneration, Mediterranean Foodscape, Nutrition for All, Humana Communitas, and Cities of the Future as we catalyze progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).