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Veterinary antimicrobials in Europe’s environment: a One Health perspective

Antimicrobials are an essential tool to prevent or treat disease in humans and animals. In food systems, they help to ensure the health and welfare of animals raised for food. However, their use can also lead to environmental pollution and potentially affect human health, including by contributing to the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This briefing summarises the latest knowledge on how antimicrobials used in food-producing animals may impact the health of humans, animals and ecosystems, and reviews progress in reducing their use in Europe’s food system.

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European Climate Risk Assessment

The EUCRA report builds on and complements the existing knowledge base on climate impacts and risks for Europe, including recent reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Copernicus Climate Change Service and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, as well as outcomes of EU-funded research and development projects and national climate risk assessments. The knowledge in this first-of-its-kind assessment is synthesised with the aim to support strategic policymaking.

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The European Biomass Puzzle

This report looks at how biomass can help us reach our climate and environmental objectives, and how climate change might affect the EU's biomass production in agriculture and forest sectors. It also discusses key synergies and trade-offs in the use of biomass for different policy objectives.

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How pesticides impact human health and ecosystems in Europe

Food production systems in Europe rely on chemical pesticides to maintain crop yields. However, widespread pesticide use is major source of pollution — contaminating water, soil and air, driving biodiversity loss, and leading to pest resistance. Human exposure to chemical pesticides is linked to chronic illnesses such as cancer, and heart, respiratory and neurological diseases. This briefing summarises the latest knowledge on how chemical pesticides impact human health and the environment, and presents good practices to reduce their use and risk across Europe.

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Transforming Europe's food system —  Assessing the EU policy mix

Food systems in Europe and across the world are currently unsustainable. Globally, they account for almost one-third of GHG emissions, drive biodiversity loss and harmful health impacts, and fail to ensure fair economic returns and livelihoods for all actors.

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Soil monitoring in Europe – Indicators and thresholds for soil health assessments

A tremendous effort has been already invested in soil monitoring in Europe, at country and at EU levels. However, there is no comprehensive and updated body of knowledge for identifying healthy soils and those that are degraded and require protection.

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Rethinking agriculture

While global food chains, market competition, industrial processes and increasing productivity have turned agriculture into a profitable economic sector, it is also one of the biggest contributors to environmental and sustainability challenges in Europe and worldwide. In tandem, the COVID-19 pandemic, recent geopolitical developments in Europe and socio-economic trends have driven attention towards agriculture and food systems. Considering these new challenges, it is even more urgent to rethink agriculture and food systems to make them resilient and sustainable. This briefing reflects on what makes agriculture unsustainable today — and the types of agriculture we may want to preserve and support.

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Progress and prospects for decarbonisation in the agriculture sector and beyond

While total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the EU have fallen by a third since 1990, reducing emissions in the agriculture sector has been a slower process and has stagnated since 2005. Based on EU countries’ current policies and measures, this trend is projected to continue, with only a 1.5% decrease expected between 2020 and 2040. This briefing explores two recent studies from the European Environment Agency (EEA) looking at current efforts to reduce emissions in the agriculture sector — and prospects for further reductions during the agri-food life cycle.

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Reimagining the food system through social innovations

Food systems require urgent and profound transformation to become sustainable, both in Europe and worldwide. Social innovation plays a pivotal role in transforming today’s food systems into ones that are economically and socially feasible, and sustainable within planetary boundaries. This briefing presents the results of a systematic examination of emerging social innovations across the food chain, conducted using horizon scanning, a tool to detect early signs of potentially important developments. It offers insights into the experimentation taking place in alternative ways to produce, trade and consume food.

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Water resources across Europe — confronting water stress: an updated assessment

This report aims to update our knowledge of water stress (a general term that includes drought and water scarcity) in Europe to inform policymakers and interested stakeholders about the current state of play.

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Water and agriculture: towards sustainable solutions

This report was initiated following the EEA's 2018 assessment of the status of and pressures on European waters, to highlight the role of agriculture in achieving an improved status of surface water and groundwater in future river basin management plans

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Global climate change impacts and the supply of agricultural commodities to Europe

The EEA has addressed the consequences of climate change in numerous reports, including Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe 2016, the 2019 report Climate change adaptation in the agriculture sector in Europe and the European environment — state and outlook 2020 report. This briefing analyses the implications for Europe of the impact of global climate change on agricultural trade.

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EEA Signals 2020  — Towards zero pollution in Europe

What is pollution? Where does it come from? How does pollution affect the environment and how does it affect people’s health? How can Europe move towards zero pollution, in line with the ambition of the European Green Deal? EEA Signals 2020 looks at pollution through different lenses related to the Agency’s work and EU legislation.

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Bio-waste in Europe — turning challenges into opportunities

Bio-waste – mainly food and garden waste – is a key waste stream with a high potential for contributing to a more circular economy. This report provides an overview of bio-waste generation, prevention, collection, and treatment in Europe.

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Trends and drivers of EU greenhouse gas emissions

This report analyses the developments of the official EU data submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 1990 to 2018. It also provides a short summary of the results for 2018 compared with those for 2017.

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National action across all sectors needed to reach greenhouse gas Effort Sharing targets

This briefing analyses EU Member States’ historic and projected emissions that are not included under the EU Emissions Trading System.

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Nutrient enrichment and eutrophication in Europe's seas

This assessment explores whether Europe has been able to reverse eutrophication trends in its regional seas. The assessment is based on publicly available monitoring data, primarily collected in the context of the Water Framework Directive, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and Regional Sea Conventions.

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EEA SIGNALS 2019 - Land and soil in Europe

We cannot live without healthy land and soil. It is on land that we produce most of our food and we build our homes. For all species — animals and plants living on land or water — land is vital. Soil — one of the essential components of land — is a very complex and often undervalued element, teeming with life. Unfortunately, the way we currently use land and soil in Europe and in the world is not sustainable. This has significant impacts on life on land.

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Climate change adaptation in the agriculture sector in Europe

Climate change affects agriculture in a number of ways. Changes in temperature and precipitation as well as weather and climate extremes are already influencing crop yields and livestock productivity in Europe. Weather and climate conditions also affect the availability of water needed for irrigation, livestock watering practices, processing of agricultural products, and transport and storage conditions. Climate change is projected to reduce crop productivity in parts of southern Europe and to improve the conditions for growing crops in northern Europe. Although northern regions may experience longer growing seasons and more suitable crop conditions in future, the number of extreme events negatively affecting agriculture in Europe is projected to increase.

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Food in a green light - A systems approach to sustainable food

This report takes a food system approach to analyse European production, consumption and trade of food, and associated environmental and human health aspects. Understanding the patterns, processes and actors involved allows for more coherent and effective policy interventions to reduce environmental pressures along the value chain, with potential co-benefits to human health and well-being. The report addresses both terrestrial and aquatic food production and goes beyond the environmental impact and economic performance of agriculture and fisheries. The focus is on long-term sustainability objectives, as laid down in the 2050 vision of the Seventh Environment Action Programme and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

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