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Cooperation and compromise in the FAO

The debate in the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) saw incredible cooperation and cooperation in one of the blocs in particular; two contrasting ideas in one block came together to form a stance that incorporated aspects of both.

As background, the topic that the FAO was debating was the “Reduction to Factory Farming.” The problem with factory farming is mainly the negative effect it has on the climate. Factory farming emits lots of harmful gasses and chemicals into the air such as ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and methane. Factory farms emit noxious air pollutants such as ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and methane. Methane is one of the worst greenhouse gasses and according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “Methane is more than 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.”

In session two of the FAO, the delegate of Finland said, “Finland’s policy is to find alternatives rather than factory farming in order to mitigate the negative impacts of factory farming including its harm on climate control.” Finland wanted to completely eradicate factory farming and wishes to find alternatives rather than trying to make factory farming more efficient and climate-friendly.

“Our bloc is using plant meats as a substitute rather than depending on meats from factory farming and to spread awareness to the public about factory farming,” said the delegate of Finland. They think that eliminating meat for plant-based meats is the best way to deal with the problem of factory farming.

Opposing Finland’s policy, the delegate of Belgium said that, “We cannot deny that it is the most efficient way to produce food, we do see the immense release of greenhouse gasses, and we should make it more efficient so that the output outweighs the costs.” Unlike Finland, Belgium wants to keep factory farming but make it more efficient so that you can make more food with fewer emissions.

Responding to this point, the delegate of Finland said “Although his solution is good, there is no base or reasoning that backs his stance on environmentally friendly farming, there's never been successful studies or ways that could suggest implementing it into actual society, so he is just speaking of a theory.” Here, the delegate of Finland is saying that the actual substance of Belgium’s idea is good, but since there have been no studies or proof that factory farming can be done at the same output, let alone a larger output, with fewer emissions.

The delegate of Belgium uses his own country as an example; he brings up how “Each one of Belgium's provinces has different companies with unions between them that work together to be efficient, and this should be implemented outside of Belgium as well.” The only problem with this is that this wouldn’t decrease emissions, and the essence of factory farming is to operate for the most amount of output, so this kind of efficiency may not actually boost the output that much since the farms are already working at maximum output.

In session three of the FAO, these two sides came together and formed a coherent policy, implementing aspects of both into one.

The delegate of Brazil, who is in the same block as Belgium and Finland, explains the compromised policy. The delegate of Brazil says that “Our resolution is to incentivize plant farmers as well as limit the environmental effects of factory farming.” This resolution here shows aspects of both Finland’s policy and Belgium’s policy. The fact that they want to incentivize plant farming, which would make people want to farm plants rather than animals, shows how Finland’s policy influenced the resolution. Belgium’s policy really shines through the resolution when it says that they should limit the environmental effects of factory farming rather than eliminate it as a whole.

Throughout the debate on the topic “Reduction to Factory Farming” in the FAO, we can clearly see differing ideas, both trying to do what they believe is best, cooperating and compromising to achieve positive change.

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