Four crucial global challenges: health, food, sustainable development and knowledge sharing.
One health, animal and human
Animal and human health issues must be studied globally, in accordance with the principle “One World, One Health, One Medicine”.
According to some estimates, animal diseases would lead to the loss of 20% of animal species intended for human consumption. In addition, 60% of human diseases known and 70% of emerging human diseases are due to animals.
Controlling animal health is a major issue for human beings, both from the food safety and health safety point of view.
Food: a global issue
In addition to guarantee healthy living beings, one of the global issues is the access to food in sufficient quantity and quality.
Demographic development in some part of the world raises the issue of food security: amount of food production and food distribution in the world. In order to encourage autonomy and self-sufficiency of some countries, it is nowadays necessary to think about new food production systems.
Those animal and vegetal production systems must be sufficiently effective while preserving natural resources. This includes optimal use of agricultural land. In addition to meet quantity requirements it is also necessary to meet standards of quality, both at the level of health safety and hygiene than at the level of nutritional needs. As indicated in the report of the 2nd annual conference on food industry, the intrinsic qualities of food has become a consumer requirement. Those requirements concern both the origin and the organoleptic qualities of the product. It has now become essential to satisfy those requirements, in particular through the development of organic farming.
A global sustainable development
The world now faces sustainable development issues. Sustainable development is based on three aspects: environmental, economical and social.
Concerning the environmental aspect, actions taken today must go further, in particular regarding the pollution control and conservation of resources. Agricultural and food production systems are a major contributor to pollution (pesticides, atmospheric and soil pollution). Another important environmental issue is the conservation of water, energy and biodiversity resources, which is part of the Millennium Development Goals. Finally, it will be necessary to take into account the climate change and then adapt systems and current methods.
Concerning the economic aspect, the agricultural and industrial productions, as well as the local economic infrastructures, must be taken into account. Further work will be undertaken, in particular for land use, production systems adaptation and preservation of farmland, whilst taking into account the development of territories. Moreover, the question of the fast expanding urbanization and peri-urbanization is a key issue for the future economic equilibrium between urban and rural areas. A better understanding of these issues and their consequences is also necessary. Finally, from the social point of view, it will be necessary to promote equal opportunities, to open public institutions while developing and adapting new trades to our changing world. Environmental changes and economic turmoil are indeed responsible for profound changes in our society, which must adapt to a new environment.
Knowledge should be shared and disseminate
Only a global approach will answer the issues mentioned above. However, there is no global unity concerning the knowledge of these challenges. Dissemination and knowledge-sharing are essential for a positive development of the world situation.
Dissemination of knowledge must not be reduced to scientific popularization. Indeed, even if scientific popularization is useful, sharing the knowledge is more efficient to answer global issues. Diffusion of scientific data is nowadays eased by Information and Communications Technologies, but it is important to give it an international perspective. Given the multiplicity of information sources, scientific reference centers should be developed and promoted.
Furthermore, this dissemination is directly linked to scientific publications and training. The development of scientific and technical knowledge is guaranteed by initial training and ongoing education.
International exchanges between very different actors
At a global scale, decisions now imply a fast growing number of actors.
Subjects listed above concern both the exchanges between developed countries or emerging countries. In order to address the challenges poses, actors and decision makers in those areas will need excellent skills and knowledge. An international recognition at the academic, scientific and professional level is mandatory.
We also have to take into account the English speaking world we are living in but at the same time, we have to promote French-speaking communities. The development of French language contributes indeed to linguistic and cultural diversity, which is a subject that the French government is supporting actively.