Press release: New lead for the „Voice of Future Generations“

Jakob von Uexkull, Founder of the World Future Council, resigns as Chair of the Management Board. Supervisory Board appoints successors.

Project topics for 2019 work will be climate protection, child and youth empowerment, agroecology and peace and disarmament.

Hamburg, 7th February 2019 –  The Supervisory Board of the World Future Council Foundation announced the resignation of Jakob von Uexkull as Chair of the Management Board for health reasons. Von Uexkull founded the World Future Council in 2007 in Hamburg. As he resigns, the Vice Chair of the Management Board Alexandra Wandel (45) as well as Johanna Dillig (35), Head of Operations, were appointed Executive Members of the Management Board. Wandel now acts as spokesperson and Executive Director of the foundation, and Dillig as Director of Operations as well as Vice Chair of the Management Board.

The World Future Council (WFC) identifies and spreads the best and most sustainable policy solutions worldwide in order to pass on a healthy planet and just societies to our children. The new board announced that core topics of their work in 2019 will be climate protection and renewable energy, child and youth empowerment, agroecology  as well as peace and disarmament. One of the highlights will be the Future Policy Award, which will focus on improving the lives of youth this year.

Alexandra Wandel states: “1.8 billion young people on our planet are confronted with numerous challenges: access to jobs and quality education, climate change, destruction of their environment and digitalisation. This is why the World Future Council will dedicate its Future Policy Award on youth empowerment, researching and awarding policies that create decent and sustainable jobs, and engaging youth for meaningful societal purposes.”

The new Management Board is supported by strong advocates, amongst them Honorary Councillor Prof. Dr. Michael Otto (entrepreneur, Germany)  as well as the following Expert Commission Chairs from the Council:  Dipal Barua (Founder and Chairman of the Bright Green Energy Foundation, Bangladesh) for Climate and Energy , Helmy Abouleish (CEO, Sekem, Egypt) and Vandana Shiva (Founder, Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology  India ) for Agroecology, Dr. Auma Obama (Founder and Director, Sauti Kuu Foundation, Kenya ) for the Rights of Children and Youth and Alyn Ware, Founder and Global Coordinator of the Network Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), New Zealand/Czech Republic ) for Peace and Disarmament. Abouleish, Barua,  Shiva and Ware are also recipients of the Right Livelihood Award (also known as Alternative Nobel Prize).

MEDIA CONTACT

Miriam Petersen
Media & Communications Manager
World Future Council
miriam.petersen@worldfuturecouncil.org
+49 (0) 40 3070914-19

Press Release: Outstanding Practices in Agroecology 2019 Announced

The recognition highlights outstanding practices advancing the transition towards agroecology from the global South. Out of 77 nominations from 44 countries, 15 receive recognitions, including practices from across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

 

Berlin, 17 January 2019 – 15 outstanding projects, programmes, social enterprises and non-governmental organisations from the Global South promoting sustainable food systems are  receiving the first recognition Outstanding Practices in Agroecology 2019, beating 77 nominations from 44 countries. The recognition is organised by the World Future Council (WFC), in collaboration with the start-up Technology for Agroecology in the Global South (TAGS).

 

On the basis of a World Future Council evaluation report, an international panel of renowned experts decided upon the following 15 best practices to be recognised in Berlin on Friday 18 January, 2019 at the occasion of the International Green Week and the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture 2019:

 

Africa: Regeneration Through Connecting Seeds with Culture and Nature in Africa 

This NGO project works in 11 African countries to revive traditional agroecological farming systems, promoting seed and food sovereignty and regenerating livelihoods. Currently it has 4,640 farmers working on reviving seeds and has revived 470 varieties of seeds.

 

Benin: Premium Hortus

Premium Hortus specialises in the e-commerce of agroecological products, organic production and producer support. So far, the African Greentech company has trained 400 small farmers and provided access for more than 700 urban households to healthy food. Waste is also limited and recycled.

 

Benin: Using water hyacinth compost to produce healthy food and protect the environment 

This NGO project turns the highly invasive plant species water hyacinth into an economic opportunity, by training smallholders in compost-making and providing them with market access. A 20% reduction of water hyacinth was achieved. Furthermore, smallholders are connected to market opportunities to enhance their income.

 

Brazil: Community organic waste management and urban agriculture – “Revolution of the buckets” (2008)

This community project collects domestic organic waste for use in urban agriculture in socially-troubled areas of Florianópolis, Brazil. This waste management system has already treated 1,200 tons of organic waste and contributed to the production of nutritious food of participating families, benefitting over 1,600 people.

 

Cameroon: Participatory Domestication of Indigenous Trees for the Delivery of Multifunctional Agriculture by Agroforestry 

The research project enables farmers to implement agro-forestry techniques and to diversify livelihoods, learned at inclusive Rural Resource Centres (RRC). In Cameroon, it opened with communities 10 RRCs, hosting 150 nurseries and serving over 10,000 households, planting 1.6 million trees.

 

China: Shared Harvest and Rural Regeneration 

This social enterprise promotes a community-owned socio-economic mode of agriculture. The Shared Harvest farm weekly delivers fresh organic and locally produced food to 800 consumer members in Beijing, guaranteeing each 200 kilograms of food. It is the foundation of China’s Community Supported Agriculture movement.

 

Cuba: Generation and adoption of Agroecological Pest Management (APM) system in the Cuban Agriculture 

The research programme increases the capacity for self-regulation of pests. From 2003-2008, 30,780 farmers were trained and diffused APM to others. This has led to reduced costs of pesticides and pests in 75% of Cuban agrarian production, and an increase of biodiversity and climate resilience.

 

Egypt: SEKEM Initiative 

Today SEKEM is a leading social business worldwide. It reclaimed about 684 hectares of desert land, of which 100% is operated by biodynamic agriculture methods. More than 70% of SEKEM’s reclaimed land produces food and raw materials for the local market. Its products respect highest possible ethical, ecological and social standards.

 

Global: Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR)

First developed in Niger, FMNR – a low-cost, quick, farmer-managed technique that restores woody vegetation on deforested and degraded land – is now implemented in at least 24 countries. In Niger, FMNR spread to 5,000,000 hectares, reviving more than 200 million trees. Its founder Tony Rinaudo recently gained the Right Livelihood Award 2018.

 

India: Promoting organic farming and marketing among small peasants in an ecologically fragile region (Timbaktu Collective)

This grassroots organisation improves the livelihoods of marginalised smallholders through organic farming and producer-owned enterprises. Now 8,700 acres are under agro-ecological farming practices and many of the 2,080 farmer families they work with, are shareholders of the established cooperative.

 

Kenya: Drylands Natural Resource Center (DNRC)

The Drylands Natural Resource Center (DNRC) works with over 600 smallholder farmers, in order to restore their land through agricultural and agroforestry best practices. Thanks to DNRC over 100,000 tree seedlings of over 30 different local species are planted each year, with a survival rate of 80%.

 

Mozambique: Inclusive investment for agroecology

Based on individual and collective investment, risk sharing and consultation and negotiation, this practice facilitates a transition to boost agroecology, strengthens local institutions for self-determination, facilitates higher level of aggregation and diversifies production and markets. By 2018, 180 smallholders have been trained in agroecology.

 

Nepal: Cultivating Green Prosperity in High Himalayan Communities through Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs)

This NGO project trains highland farmers in growing medicinal and aromatic plants, offering them a profitable alternative to traditional wild harvesting. Now, 18,000 farmers are trained in over 100 Nepali villages and over 2,500 hectares of degrade land are covered with 13 different MAP species.

 

 

Philippines: Building Resilient Farming Communities and Sustainable Economies in the poorest provinces of the Philippines through Agroecology 

The practice improves rural development by focusing on organic production, social entrepreneurship and marketing hubs. It has trained 3,048 smallholders on climate-resilient agriculture and initiated 22 farmer’s organizations now engaging in social entrepreneurship.

 

Zimbabwe: Africa Centre for Holistic Management 

Working directly with local farmers in Zimbabwe, the ACHM disseminates holistic management planned grazing. This has multiple proven benefits for soil regeneration and for farmers’ revenues. The Centre has trained 100 facilitators so far and reached 15,000 communal farmers in 16 Zimbabwean communities.

 

 

On the occasion of the International Green Week and the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture 2019, recognised practices will be presented at the event: “Scaling up Agroecology! For Forward-looking Decision-making in Policy and Practice”, on 18th January 2019, 15:30 – 17:30h at the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Schumannstr. 8, 10117 Berlin, along with a panel discussion including representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

 

Statements from the World Future Council, TAGS and IFAD

To address hunger, social inequality, climate change, and biodiversity loss, a transition to sustainable food and agriculture systems is inevitable. This recognition showcases smart solutions that really work for the local people and empower those on whom food security of the Global South relies on: small-scale food producers. The Outstanding Practices in Agroecology 2019 create immediate and real impact and if executed at scale, they can help to considerably transform our food systems,” says Prof. Dr. Franz-Theo Gottwald, Supervisory Board Chairman of the World Future Council.

 

“Innovation happens when people who are facing challenges dare to think outside the box. The practices distinguished as Outstanding Practice in Agroecology 2019 show in an impressive way how holistic and innovative approaches can turn agriculture into a key element to fight not only food scarcity but also poverty, climate change and loss of biodiversity. It’s time to give a stage to these exemplary approaches and think about ways to scale their impact.” say Valerie von Koerber and Samuel Wagner, directors of the start-up Technology for Agroecology in the Global South (TAGS).

 

These 15 Outstanding Practices in Agroecology 2019 are exemplary in that they empower small-scale food producers, nurture sustainable food systems and promote resilient agricultural practices. I proudly served on the jury of this recognition and call all decision-makers to learn from these unique initiatives”, says Shantanu Mathur, Lead Adviser, Global Engagement and Multilateral Relations Division, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

 

 

More information about the practices can be found here:

https://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/p/opa-2019/

 

Media Contact:
Miriam Petersen

Media & Communications Manager, World Future Council

 miriam.petersen@worldfuturecouncil.org

 +49 40 307 09 14 19

 

About the World Future Council
The World Future Council (WFC) works to pass on a healthy planet and fair societies to our children and grandchildren. To achieve this, we focus on identifying and spreading effective, future-just policy solutions and promote their implementation worldwide. Jakob von Uexkull, the Founder of the Alternative Nobel Prize, launched the World Future Council in 2007. We are an independent, non-profit organisation under German law and finance our activities from donations. For information visit www.worldfuturecouncil.org

 

About TAGS

TAGS is an initiative aiming at using the Bosch company’s technological strength to contribute to major global challenges. It turned out very soon that our focus will be on the empowerment of smallholder farmers. We were given the chance to explore the possibilities as a start-up within the Bosch organization. The Start-up is called TAGS – Technology for Agroecology in the Global South.

Learning from the Outstanding Practices in Agroecology TAGS aims at finding a way how Bosch’s expertise in technology and/or large scale production can help to scale those practices in order to empower as many farmers as possible.

Scaling Up Agroecology: The Outstanding Practices in Agroecology 2019

After months of intensive research, following an outreach to 2,000 agroecology experts from across the globe, the World Future Council is proud to officially give recognition 15 Outstanding Practices in Agroecology 2019. This is the climax of an intense multistep process including a nomination stage, evaluation stage and deliberation by a panel of global experts. But how does the process take shape? Here is a quick overview.

Keen followers will know that the World Future Council has already been directing much of its research efforts to agroecology. In 2018, the World Future Council organized its renowned Future Policy Award (FPA) on the topic of “Scaling up Agroecology”. After a lengthy and meticulous evaluation period, the winners of the award were announced at a ceremony at the FAO headquarters in Rome in October 2018 and the “100% organic state” Sikkim in India beat 51 nominated policies from 25 countries to take the Gold Award.

Following the same theme as the Future Policy Award, the recognition Outstanding Practices in Agroecology 2019 is a furthered effort to find and honour practices carried forward by diverse individuals and organisations, which enable and support transitions into agroecology. From a total of 77 nominated practices from 44 countries, received by a call to action to 2,000 agroecology experts, 23 made it through to the penultimate, most intensive stage of evaluation. Here, extensive research was carried out and interviews with practice representatives were led. As per the World Future Council’s methodology, the practices were compared with the 7 Future Justice Principles, plus the 10 Elements of Agroecology developed by the FAO.

MORE INFORMATION ON THE RECOGNITION

On the basis of the World Future Council’s evaluation report on the shortlisted practices, a global panel of experts decided which of the practices provide the best solutions in agroecology, in accordance with the evaluation framework. The Jury for the 2019 Outstanding Practices in Agroecology was made up of internationally renowned experts:

  1. Caterina BATELLO, former Team Leader – Agriculture Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO, in personal capacity)
  2. Million BELAY, Founder of the MELCA-Ethiopia NGO; Coordinator of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA); Member of the International Panel of Experts on the Sustainable of Food Systems (IPES-Food), Ethiopia
  3. Gábor FIGECZKY, Head of Global Policy, IFOAM – Organics International, Hungary
  4. Barbara GEMMILL-HERREN, Senior Associate to World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi, Kenya; Team member of the Committee on World Food Security HLPE project ‘Agroecological approaches and other innovations for sustainable agrifood systems that enhance food security and nutrition’
  5. Dr. Franz Theo GOTTWALD, Chairman of the Schweisfurth Foundation; Chairman of the Supervisory Board, World Future Council Foundation
  6. Shantanu MATHUR, Lead Adviser, Global Engagement and Multilateral Relations Division, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD, in personal capacity)
  7. Shamika MONE, Research Director, Organic Farming Association in India; Convenor of International Network of Organic Farmers Organizations (INOFO).

In total, 15 practices were granted recognition and celebrated at the event. With the recognition, the World Future Council seeks to raise global awareness for these exemplary practices and speed up action towards just, sustainable and peaceful societies.

18th January 2019 also marks the release of the Position paper (in German) ‘Agrarökologie stärken: Für eine grundlegende Transformation der Agrar- und Ernährungssysteme’ of which the World Future Council and 56 other German and international organisations are official signatories. This paper marks real movement and co-operation in the field of agroecology and its potential to present a real, sustainable alternative to the current global system. The paper features background information, a call of solidarity to action, the necessary steps to move forward and most importantly issues clear demands to the German government.

The recognition is organised by the World Future Council (WFC), in collaboration with the start-up Technology for Agroecology in the Global South (TAGS).

Event: Scaling-up Agroecology! For Forward-looking Decision-making in Policy and Practice

On the occasion of International Green Week and the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture 2019, the World Future Council is hosting a panel discussion on Friday, January 18, 2019 in Berlin. The aim is to promote the strengthening of agroecology in politics and practice in Germany and beyond – the theme of this year’s Future Policy Award.

Greetings from COP24’s 4 per 1000 Initiative Day!

On the occasion of the UNFCCC COP24 (December 2018) in Katowice, Poland, the international “4 per 1000 Initiative: Soils for Food Security and Climate” organised, in partnership with the University of Silesia, the second 4 per 1000 Initiative Day on 13 December 2018. An important event to which the World Future Council was invited to speak.

Numerous ministers and renowned personalities took the floor to underline the importance of soil protection and how improved soil health can absorb greenhouse gases and thereby fight climate change. World Future Council’s Climate Director Rob van Riet underlined the need to advance urgently the transition towards sustainable food systems and presented the winners of Future Policy Award 2018 – exemplary policies that work towards this transition and scale up agroecology.

After working in 2017 with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the World Future Council had organized this year’s Future Policy Award in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and IFOAM – Organic International. In 2017, the 4 per 1000 Initiative that was launched in 2015 during the Paris Climate Change Conference by H.E. Stéphane Le Foll, then French Minister of Agriculture, AgriFood and Forestry, won the Future Policy Vision Award as it created an unprecedented attention to the role soils play for food security and climate stability.

 

Press Release: Global Renewables Congress to be launched at UN Climate Conference in Katowice, Poland

A new cross-country and cross-party platform for parliamentarians aims for the rapid and large-scale deployment of renewable energy solutions, as “Only a swift transition to renewable energies can halt climate crisis and save us from its devastating impacts.“

Hamburg/Katowice, 10 December 2018 – The 24th UN Climate Conference (COP24) is underway in Katowice, Poland (2-14 December). After countless unusual weather events have wreaked havoc all over the globe this year, this round of climate change negotiations comes at a critical time. Implementing far-reaching changes to our societies to cut carbon and phase-out fossil fuels has become inevitable. Against this backdrop, the Global Renewables Congress (GRC) will be launched on December 11 on the sidelines of COP24. The GRC is a new cross-country, cross-party platform for ongoing dialogue between and with legislators for the rapid and large-scale deployment of renewable energy solutions. Current and former legislators from national and regional parliaments can become members of the GRC. The GRC is chaired by Bärbel Höhn, former MP of the German Bundestag and acting Commissioner for Energy Reform in Africa for the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.

“Only a swift transition to renewable energies can halt climate crisis and save us from its devastating impacts”, states Bärbel Höhn. “We must deliver renewables at scale. In order to stand a chance of avoiding the catastrophic consequences of climate crisis, renewable energy solutions need to be deployed more widely and rapidly than ever before. The GRC has great potential to advance them on a global level.”

Co-Chairs are appointed representing each of the major regions of the world. The World Future Council provides the secretariat of the GRC.
“A series of recent reports, including the IPCC 1.5 Special Report, makes it clear that we are nowhere near on track to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement”, argues Rob van Riet, Director of the Climate Energy Programme at the World Future Council. “The good news is that a clean energy transition is technologically feasible, and that it can act as a catalyst for achieving the Agenda 2030; the bad news is that political will still falters and vested interests resist this transformation of our energy system. The GRC aims for the rapid and large-scale deployment of renewables and I am optimistic it will bring decision-makers together to create the synergies needed for this process.”

The GRC is made possible through the support of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt/DBU) and the Stiftung Mercator. Additional support for this project was made available by Mr. Amir Roughani, Ambassador for the World Future Council.

MORE INFORMATION

www.renewablescongress.org
Anna Skowron
Project Manager Climate & Energy, World Future Council
anna.skowron@worldfuturecouncil.org

 

MEDIA CONTACT

Miriam Petersen
Media & Communications Manager
World Future Council
miriam.petersen@worldfuturecouncil.org
+49 (0) 40 3070914-19

About the World Future Council

The World Future Council (WFC) works to pass on a healthy planet and fair societies to our children and grandchildren. To achieve this, we focus on identifying and spreading effective, future-just policy solutions and promote their implementation worldwide. Jakob von Uexkull, the Founder of the Alternative Nobel Prize, launched the World Future Council in 2007. We are an independent, non-profit organisation under German law and finance our activities from donations. For information visit www.worldfuturecouncil.org

Ghana on its way to its enhanced child protection system for survivors of child violence

For majority of children in Ghana, violence is an unfortunate part of their everyday life. According to official statistical reports, 9 out of 10 children are exposed to mental or physical violence, and physical punishment is a common phenomenon. More shocking are the figures for sexual violence: one out of five girls is sexually abused. There is an urgent need for action to protect children from violence! For girls and boys who experience and survive violence or abuse, a central, child-friendly centre providing the most essential services under one roof would be established from the first quarter of 2019, where trained personnel from the  Social Welfare, Domestic Violence Unit of the Police Service (DOVVSU) and Ghana Health Service are available to offer prompt, secured and confidential service to victims. Our team conducted a technical workshop with representatives of Ministries and other key stakeholders responsible for child protection in Ho, South-East Ghana together with experts from Zanzibar to discuss and develop a roadmap to establish a pilot in Accra. These are the main results at a glance.

Samia Kassid – opening remarks

In November 2017, the World Future Council Foundation invited political decision-makers from 12 African and Asian countries to Zanzibar to acquaint themselves with the country’s comprehensive Children’s Act and its implementation. Zanzibar won the Gold Award of the “Political Oscar” Future Policy Award in 2015.

The Ghanaian delegation, consisting of representatives from the Department of Children of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare and the Law Faculty of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration were inspired by the one-stop-center model that Zanzibar has currently implemented in 6 out of 11 districts.

 

 What is a one stop center?

One-Stop-Center (OSC) are central contact points for children and their families affected by (sexualised) violence. Here survivors can find psycho-social support, a police office to initiate criminal investigation as well as medical treatment including collection of forensic evidence under one roof. Ideally, legal help is part of the centre. The graphic illustrates the model:

As an important element of a strong national child protection system, the one-stop-centres provide survivors (girls and boys, women and men) with various initial services under one roof. As a result, the affected person does not have to go through the trauma of narrating the incident several times and also receives quick help. It helps parents stay focused on treating their child and persecuting the perpetrator. In cases without the OSC, survivors mostly have to visit different institutions – that costs money and time and often parents lose the momentum to persue the case. The later a case is reported, the harder it is to gather evidence of abuse on a child’s body.

Ideally, a one-stop center provides four services and is usually docted at a hospital:

  1. Psycho-social support – this is where the first interview takes place and the social worker decides which further steps are required. If there is an abuse / violence, the child will be escorted to the next room, where a police officer in civilian clothes and trained in child-friendly behaviour will fill in the form to follow up the case.
  2. Medical examination: in a third room, a medical doctor takes care of the child. Here the first medical and forensic examinations take place. If the child needs further special treatment, it will be treated immediately in the hospital.
  3. The employees of the one-stop-center are provided by the relevant ministries (Health, Interior, Family Affairs) and the Centre is (at best) coordinated by the Ministry of Health. All employees receive same training so they can better collaborate and follow same procedures and guidelines in writing the reports. This makes it easier for the police and the courts to track and prosecute cases.
  4. Support for counseling and legal aid is ideally offered in the fourth room.

 

Ghana on the way to pilot a one stop centre

A member of the Zanzibar team sharing her experience at the workshop

The Director of the Department of Children, speaking at Workshop

After intensive discussions with the Department of Children from April 2018, the World Future Council Foundation organised a technical workshop to fully introduce the state agencies in the establishment and management of a one-stop-center model in Ghana from the 25-27 November 2018. We invited experts from Zanzibar to Ghana: Deputy Chairwoman Halima Abdallah, who spearheaded the establishment of the One-Stop-Center in the Ministry of Family and Health, Dr. Marijani, who has been responsible for medical and forensic investigations since its implementation in 2011, and Farshuu Khalfa, head of a one-stop center in Stone Town. Their insights, expertise and practical experience were most welcome and helpful in drawing up the roadmap for Ghana.

Under the auspices of the Children’s Department, 30 key representatives and decision-makers took part in the workshop to discuss the need for the OSC and to develop the roadmap for a pilot program. The participants represented the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Social Welfare Department and the specialised Domestic Violence Unit of the Police service – DOVVSU.  Medical representative and international child rights organisations including ActionAid, World Vision, International Needs, UNFPA and UNICEF were also present.

The most important results of the workshop at a glance:

  • Development of a roadmap for the establishment of a pilot in Accra
  • National coordination agency of the One-Stop-Center pilot program will be the Ministry of Health with support of other ministries
  • An inter-ministerial conference is scheduled for the first quarter of 2019 to decide on the roadmap and timetable
  • A core group will identify a possible location for the pilot program in Accra

 

Working groups during the workshops.

Why is soil so important?

Happy World Soil Day!

In order to stress the importance of environmental and soil protection, the United Nations celebrate this indispensable natural resource every year with World Soil Day, on 5th December. Celebrations are taking place around the world and so they do, for instance, in the Republic of San Marino, to which the World Future Council was invited to speak.

Why is soil so important?

Soil health is fundamental for a healthy food production. It provides essential nutrients, water, oxygen and support to the roots, all elements that favour the growth and development of plants for food production. The soil hosts a big community of diverse organisms that improve the structure of the soil, recycle essential nutrients, helps to control weeds, plant pests and diseases. Another important aspect is that when soil is healthy, it contributes to mitigate climate change by keeping or increasing soil organic carbon. Soil is the basis of food systems as well as the place where all plants for food production grow. For that reason it is extremely important to preserve soils and to start a global cultural movement which returns to soils the primary importance that they deserve.

What does the World Future Council to promote soil protection?

The World Future Council identifies and promotes successful solutions to protect our soils. Our Future Policy Award, which is the world’s only prize for exemplary laws and policies, was awarded in 2009 on the topic of Food Security. The Gold Award went to the outstanding legislative programme from the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte, which promotes urban and community-based agriculture and protects thereby precious soils.

Our Future Policy Award 2017 was awarded in the area of ​​desertification and land degradation, in close cooperation with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. The Tigray region in Ethiopia which has rehabilitated degraded land by mass mobilization and on a massive scale, won Gold Award. Since 1991, soil and water conservation measures have been carried out on 960,000 hectares, and despite a growing population, the region has thus achieved reduced soil erosion, better water infiltration and improved soil productivity.

Recently, we celebrated with our Future Policy Award 2018 the world’s best policies for scaling up agroecology in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and all winning policies from Brazil to India, from Denmark to the USA, from Senegal to the Philippines show how to successfully protect soils and biodiversity, increase productivity, making farming more climate resilient and profitable for those who do the job.

The World Future Council engages to show what is possible, how much more you can achieve if you invest sustainably and not just short-term ideas. It is extremely important that these forward-looking solutions are increasingly taken up and disseminated. Because still we have the possibility to limit the globally rapidly spreading problems. Please help us and support our work for healthy soils!

What happens today in San Marino?

 

Today, on 5th December 2018, at 10:30 am Augusto Michelotti, San Marino’s State Secretary of Territory, Environment and Tourism, and

Ingrid Heindorf, World Future Council’s Geneva Representative, will both address San Marino’s Presidency (Capitani Reggenti), stressing the urgency to protect our soils from land degradation. Thereafter, from 11 am onwards, they will participate in a Roundtable in Palazzo Graziani to present solutions on how to best advance soil protection in San Marino and to discuss with renowned experts, relevant associations of San Marino as well as the general public.

 

 

You are interested in finding out more?

Have a look here or read our recent news posts on the Future Policy Award.

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Berlin welcomes the World Future Council into the Bundestag

100% Organic Sikkim, World Future Councillor Vandana Shiva and Director Alexandra Wandel in the German Parliament with Former Minister for Food and Agriculture Renate Künast

 

On Thursday 29th November, Berlin provided a solace of winter sun after a week of heavy-hanging weather to welcome World Future Councillor and world-renowned environmental activist, Prof. Dr. Vandana Shiva, and the Director of the World Future Council, Alexandra Wandel in the capital’s Parliament Complex. They were invited by Member of Parliament, Renate Künast, former Minister for Food and Agriculture to discuss the agro-political situation in India, the world’s first 100%-organic state and Gold-winner of the Future Policy Award 2018, Sikkim, as well as the road-map to sustainable global agriculture.

 “Sikkim shows that we can turn this around and walk the agro-ecological path.”

Vandana Shiva

In a simple yet elegant conference room, the Honourable Künast welcomed her guests and 30 audience members from the German Parliament, European environmental institutes and the general public, and opened the discussion. The conversation quickly turned to agriculture in India. As a country whose agricultural face was profoundly transformed under the Green Revolution of the mid-20th Century, India is a notable example of the extreme conflicts and contrasts in the current global food system. Councillor Shiva described the horrors incurred by input-intensive agriculture in the country, which she has repeatedly encountered across four decades of environmental activism. An ongoing suicide-epidemic of hundreds of thousands of debt-ridden farmers, a ‘cancer train’, from the Punjab the Rajasthan, and a youth driven from agriculture and into drug abuse were some of the images she invoked. But the old techniques based on an old reductionist “lego-logic” have been recognised and, by some, reversed in the most radical and inspiring ways.

 

“A new knowledge of an old knowledge will be the future of humankind.”

Renate Künast

Over the past 45 years, Sikkim state in the Himalaya Region of India has made the transition to 100%-organic agriculture. Model farms, farmer field schools and a total ban on non-organic food-products have been instrumental in training over 65,000 farmers across 75,000 hectares into sustainable, fully-organic methods. World Future Council Director Wandel described how this unprecedented and entirely-successful transformation has earned the region countless benefits for its farmers and the health and well-being of the local people, as well as a 50% boom in tourism and recognition on the global stage. It is for this tireless work in organic agriculture that Sikkim was awarded the Gold Future Policy Award 2018 at the ceremony in front of 170 heads of state in Rome. Whilst 51 other nominations to the post were extensively researched and other policies from Denmark, Ecuador and Brazil received a Silver recognition, Sikkim’s efforts proved by far by the most exemplary.

 

“A truly visionary and holistic approach to agriculture.”

Alexandra Wandel

As part of her work with the Parliamentary Group on India, Hon. Künast recently had the opportunity to visit Sikkim experience their ground-breaking (and ground-making) work first-hand. She said she was wholly impressed by how the state uses public money to provide possibilities and livelihood dignity for its citizens in organic agriculture. Their valuing of traditional knowledge fuses with the goodness of the people in an atmosphere of respect for one another and the Earth.                                                                                                

 

“Sikkim is the light. The struggle must continue.”

Vandana Shiva

After all speakers had passionately shared their experiences and knowledge, the floor was opened up for questions from the audience. The opportunities and risks of digitalisation of agriculture came first, and Councillor Shiva was quick to insist on the stark difference between the right to technology and free internet, versus the forced digitalisation of agriculture. We must remain wary of the dangers of commodification of agricultural data for use by big companies. “Defining the commons in this new context,” said Prof. Dr. Shiva, “is extremely important.”

A second audience member asked how Sikkim was perceived at national level – is this the dawn of an organic India? There certainly exist other positive examples, for example, efforts in the Northern state of Ladakh to become organic. However, at national level, major obstacles remain. Vital here is the ongoing commitment to a sustainable vision by all spheres of society.

“We need a real debate across all of our societies or the future is a dead-end. Only food democracy will feed us in 2050.”

Vandana Shiva

The Director of the World Future Council Alexandra Wandel mentioned that unfortunately not a single German law was nominated for the Future Policy Award on Scaling Up Agroecology and that parliamentarians were invited to have a look at the awarded policies, including the organic policy of Sikkim and also the silver award from neighbouring country Denmark which received the Future Policy Silver Award and has the highest share of organic products in the world.

The event in the German Parliament came a day after the World Future Council and Councillor Shiva were invited to celebrate Bread for the World’s (Brot für die Welt) 60th anniversary in the German Theatre, and proceeded two exciting events at the historic Babylon Cinema in Berlin’s Mitte district. The first – “Vision for Agriculture 2050” [1] [2] –  was a debate between Councillor Shiva, Norbert Lemken, Director Agricultural Policy at Bayer and Prof. Dr. Sonoko Dorothea Bellingrath-Kimura of the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF). As the audience outed their respective support and outrage, the debate raged over the science behind chemical inputs, the capacity to feed the world and the morality behind this monumental task. After a short break where audience members could inform themselves with Councillor Shiva’s literature and speak with Liam Innis about the World Future Council and the Future Policy Award, the night continued with the screening of “SEED: The Untold Story[3]. The film, wherein Councillor Shiva is a protagonist follows the rich and treasured history of Earth’s 12,000 year-old food legacy, which continues to be threatened to extinction by – and fight back against – an all-encompassing agro-industry.

 

“I think it’s time to bring care, sharing, love, the commons and our brains back into the picture of agriculture.”

Vandana Shiva

 

[1] https://www.2000m2.eu/de/vandana-shiva-visions-for-agriculture-2050/

[2] https://theworldnews.net/de-news/aktivistin-streitet-mit-konzern-vandana-shiva-vs-bayer-lobbyist

[3] https://www.seedthemovie.com

The World Future Council at COP24 Climate Conference in Katowice: Our events

With the annual UN Climate Conference just around the corner, we are excited to invite you to meet our Climate & Energy Team at our side events on December 12 in Poland. This year, the 24th conference is taking place in Katowice, Poland from 2-14 December 2018.