Mansholt lectures about European policy and issues: food, agriculture and sustainable livelihoods

Mansholt lecture

The Mansholt lectures, named for the great Dutch European politician and thinker Sicco Mansholt, are organised by Wageningen University & Research to discuss European policy and issues in our domain: nutrition, agriculture and sustainable livelihoods.

In 2016 WUR started to organise the annual Mansholt lectures. During the lectures WUR presents multidisciplinary views on aspects of the European policy and recommendations to adjust this policy. The policy views and recommendations are discussed during the meeting with representatives from scientific community, governments and business.

The lectures aim to alter European policy, either by agenda setting or by providing recommendations for various takeholders. As such the first lecture made a pledge for a Common Agriculture & Food Policy, a more integrative approach on the connection between nutrition patterns and the agricultural policy. The second lecture provided recommendations for the Agrifood 2030 research agenda. The third Mansholt lecture in 2018 discussed the opportunities and difficulties of circularity in agricultural production. The 2019 lecture focused on recommendations for an European protein transition. In 2020 unfortunately the Mansholt lecture could not be organised. In 2021 a hybrid lecture was provided on the topic of digitalisation.

Topic 2022: Nature positive futures

The sixth edition, the Mansholt lecture addresses nature positive futures: food systems as a major catalyser for change.

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Former Mansholt lectures

Mansholt Lecture 2021: Pathways towards digital transformation of food systems

The fifth edition of the Mansholt lecture discussed the options and challenges for stakeholders in the transition towards a sustainable digital innovation ecosystem.“We don’t need more apps. We need a system”. This short quote of a farmer reflects the high degree of fragmentation and discontinuity in innovation processes we observe. More focus on the user readiness of technologies and support by multi-actor ecosystems is required, in which innovations are embedded in a system approach and tested in living labs. These are important pathways towards a sustainable digital innovation ecosystem and to navigate through the Twilight Zone.

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Mansholt Lecture 2019: The Future of Proteins

The fourth edition of the Mansholt lecture focusses on the future of proteins, reflecting on the challenges and discussing policy recommendations. As part of the transition to a fully biobased economy, WUR calls for a new focus on production and consumption. We envision a future in which protein production will need to be sustainable, affordable and healthy. Purposeful combinations of plants, animals, and microorganisms from land and sea will be tailored to local conditions, even where resources are scarce. Europe needs to consider creating a European policy on protein transition.

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Mansholt Lecture 2018: Towards circularity in agricultural production

The key challenge is to secure a sustainable and healthy nutrition security within the capacity of planet earth and human society. A paradigm shift from optimization in production towards optimization in resource use. Europe’s future lies not in a linear but in a circular food system with an integrated use of regenerative natural resources and associated agro-biomass.

During the 2018 Mansholt Lecture Wageningen University & Research presented the overall framework as well as the scientific basis for the transition towards a circular food system in Europe.



Mansholt Lecture 2017: Food policy and Research

President of the Executive Board of Wageningen University & Research, Prof. dr. Louise O. Fresco gave a keynote speech and two documents were presented:

A forum with international experts discussed both documents.

Mansholt Lecture 2016: ‘Towards a Common Agricultural and Food Policy’

The first Mansholt lecture was organised in September 2016 with the title ‘Towards a Common Agricultural and Food Policy’. This lecure emphasized the need to involve all stakeholders into a broader common agriculture & food policy. This in order to cope with five major challenges: food and nutrition security & safety, climate change & water and energy use, ecological impacts, healthy diet for a lifelong healthy lifestyle, and inequality.

Summary of Common Agricultural Policy post 2020 study

Position Paper: Towards a Common Agricultural and Food Policy