What we do

Functioning ecosystems form the basis for life on earth and a sustainable way of using our land is key for sustainable development. We spread policy solutions that can end hunger and malnutrition, promote a sustainable use of resources and apply ecological principles.  Thorough research of Food Land and Livelihoods policies underpins our advocacy work. We advise policy-makers at all levels and encourage and facilitate south – south cooperation concerning food security and sustainable agriculture.

Our aim is to build capacity among policymakers and institutions for the governance for food and nutrition security.




Our aim is to pass on a healthy planet and just societies to our children and grandchildren.
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Regenerative Agriculture

Promoting Regenerative Agriculture

Food security, agriculture and climate (Food Land and Livelihood) resilience are intrinsically intertwined. In the face of the depletion of natural resources such as clean water and fertile soils, a growing population and the challenges connected to climate change, we have to quickly transform our food and agriculture systems in order to protect biodiversity and regenerate our natural resources, reduce poverty and become resilient against weather extremes. In particular, small scale farmers in the Global South that produce the biggest share of food for the world’s population, suffer disproportionally from hunger and poverty, and are generally the most affected by the negative effects of global warming. 

This is why the World Future Council, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and IFOAM – Organics International, highlighted with the 2018 Future Policy Award policies that scale up agroecology.


Since December 2017, ,, we cooperate with the grow platform GmbH and the start-up company Technology for Agroecology in the Global South (TAGS). In January 2019 we recognized together 15 Outstanding Practices in Agroecology. This recognition was celebrated this year for the first time. Since June 5th, World Environment Day, until 20th July 2018, experts had been invited to nominate exemplary agro-ecological approaches. From August until December 2018, the World Future Council carried out intense research and evaluation about the nominations.

From November 2018 until January 2019 we worked to promote the identified policy and practice  solutions especially in Germany, supported by the Schweisfurth Foundation. The winners of the Future Policy Award 2018 and the recognized Outstanding Practices in Agroecology 2019 were presented to 200 decision-makers during International Green Week in Berlin on 18th January 2019.  


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We promote agroecology, which applies ecological principles and takes into account the social aspects.


Our research focuses on policies and practices that contribute to transforming our food and agricultural systems.


With agroecology we promote three goals at the same time: a sustainable use of natural resources, poverty reduction and climate resilience.

Expert Voices on Sustainable Agriculture

Only Organic Agriculture can feed the growing world population: it manages water and resources sustainably, produces healthy food for the people, and helps fight climate change, says our Councillor Helmy Abouleish, CEO of Sekem Group, a renowned social business that received the Right Livelihood Award and is one of our Outstanding Practices in Agroecology 2019.


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For restoring land, good policies are crucial! Wanjira Maathai explains why this is particularly true for Africa.

Our Councillor Wanjira Mathai is the Chair of the Wangari Maathai Foundation (WMF) whose mission is to advance the legacy of Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate, and 1984 Alternative Nobel Prize (Right Livelihood Award) Laureate.


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Rangelands have a huge potential for carbon sequestration. They can be regenerated by applying techniques like Holistic Management (one of our Outstanding Practice in Agroecology 2019). The best part: not only nature, but also the pastoralists would benefit from it.

Our Councillor Dr Hans Rudolf Herren is one of the world’s leading experts on sustainable agriculture who received the 2013 ‘Right Livelihood Award‘,for designing a successful biological control programme for the cassava root in Africa that has been credited with saving millions of lives.


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The miracle in the desert

In 1976, Ibrahim Abouleish follows his vision and returns from Austria, where he lived for over 20 years, back to his home country Egypt to found the development initiative SEKEM.
He buys a piece of desert land and begins to cultivate it with biodynamic agriculture.

Forty years later, SEKEM employs over 2,000 people and operates with the Heliopolis University, the first university for sustainable development in the Arab-African region.

SEKEM – THE MIRACLE IN THE DESERT sheds light on the philosophical and practical background of this exceptional initiative, whose example shows highly explosive themes, such as climate change, sustainable management, energy supply and awareness raising development of comprehensible and forward-looking perspectives.

Ibrahim Abouleish was awarded the Alternative Nobel Prize for his initiative and died in 2017.

SEKEM is continued by his son SEKEM CEO Helmy Abouleish today.
A film of special significance on a model for the future of sustainable development.


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Desertification & Land degradation
Don't let
Our Future Dry Out!

Drylands are among the most conflict-prone regions in the world. Not tackling desertification and land degradation means accepting humanitarian disasters. By reversing desertification, we can help build peace, food security and a safe future for millions of people. This is why in 2017, our Future Policy Award was dedicated to policies that effectively address land and soil degradation, and the related risks to food security and livelihoods, and help secure a sustainable and just future for people living in the world’s drylands. 

“Drylands cover close to 40% of the Earth’s land surface. Hundreds of millions of people are directly threatened by land degradation and climate change is only going to intensify the problem. So far, this underestimated environmental disaster has received far too little attention. The Future Policy Award 2017 is turning the spotlight on the looming environmental challenge and effective responses. The seven Future Policy Awardees are all from affected countries, and demonstrate great environmental and political determination.”

says Monique Barbut, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

Food Security
Right to
Healthy and Sufficient Food

Our Food Security programme focuses on policy solutions that secure the right to healthy, safe and sufficient food. We work to enhance South-South cooperation in this area. We connect policy-makers with international experts, and advise them on innovative, pioneering initiatives from different parts of the world that have proven successful in fighting hunger and malnutrition.

One of our main focuses is spreading the exemplary model of the Brazilian city Belo Horizonte (Winner of the Future Policy Award 2009) to cities of southern Africa. Since 1993, Belo Horizonte is a pioneer in the right to food – guaranteed by law. This right to food has nearly eliminated hunger and reduced malnutrition, especially for children.

As a result of our study tours and workshops for African mayors and food security experts, we started in 2013 a cooperation with government representatives of Namibia. Currently elements of the Brazilian model are being transferred to the country’s capital, with already some impressive first impacts. Thanks to our support, Belo Horizonte and Windhoek have also signed an international cooperation agreement in 2015. In March 2017 we published with the City of Windhoek a study on best practices, in order to help spread urban agriculture and in 2018 we launched together with partners the Farm Okukuna.


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“Nothing is more degrading than hunger, especially when man made. “

Ban Ki-moon, former United Nations Secretary General 

Initiatives & Information

There are 2.6 million people living in Namibia, of which an estimated 900 000 live in informal settlements. We believe that everyone should have the chance to improve their lives. But unfortunately, people who want to do so often do not have access to the necessary knowledge and creativity. This is exactly the gap we want to close with the Kambashu Institute. We invite people living in the informal settlements of Windhuk to participate in the development of new ideas and solutions. Since winter this year, we have been running courses there in permaculture and gardening. This semester we have focused on a course on building a food circle. The idea is to plant trees around a pit. The dirty water that accumulates in every household is poured into this pit, and biomass, dry grass and cardboard are also thrown in. Once the trees reach a certain size, they use the water and nutrients from the pit. For Windhoek, we recommend a larger tree (mulberry or fig) and closely spaced rows of moringa and papaya. In the short time that the Kambashu Institute has been in existence, we have already organised 12 courses with local trainers and over 140 participants, almost 70 percent of whom are women. Most of the participants live in corrugated iron huts. The feedback was very positive: the graduates were enthusiastic about the course, and many of them went on to successfully build Food Circles in their own homes. This year, there will be more courses for beginners and advanced learners.

In February 2018, we opened the Okukuna Farm in Windhoek with partners. The farm aims to be the starting point for the further development of the Windhoek food system to become more sustainable, inclusive, safe and diverse, providing healthy and affordable food for all. Our project manager Ina Neuberger Wilkie is a member of the board of Okukuna Farm. A recent study by the African Food Security Urban Network in collaboration with UNAM found that food security in Windhoek settlements has increased from 89% to 92% in the last 9 years. People need to be able to eat enough, healthy and diverse food. People who do not eat well cannot learn well and will not work well.

After three years of successful project work, the farm has now been handed over to the City of Windhoek. “A project that is so successful that it is taken over by the local actors – that is what you want to achieve as a supporter,” says Ina Wilkie, Senior Project Manager of the World Future Council. “We wish the City of Windhoek all the best as they continue their work.”

In March 2017, the World Future Council published together with the City of Windhoek and the Eloolo Permaculture Initiative a study on best practices on urban agriculture in Windhoek. Windhoek is a growing city, reflecting a global trend: by 2050, the world’s urban population is expected to nearly double, which poses massive challenges for all cities in regards toin regard to housing, infrastructure, health, education, jobs, natural resources and food. At the same time, Windhoek has a very testing climate and there is, of course, the water issue. Windhoek’s vision is that all of its citizens enjoy food and nutrition security. This means that enough and healthy food is available in the city and that all of Windhoek’s citizens can afford to feed themselves adequately. By producing food in and around the city, we can connect – the production with the market, experiments, ideas and solutions, and people of all ages and all walks of life. When we grow food in Windhoek, we need to do it right. With this handbook, we want to help make those connections and on that basis further ideas and projects will develop.

Our implementation workshop in December 2015 brought together policymakers, agricultural experts, civil society actors, urban and (peri-) urban farmers and private sector representatives to engage in an open and constructive dialogue on the future of agriculture in and around urban areas in Namibia, one of the driest countries in southern Africa. The focus was on sharing experiences about agriculture in arid regions, re-use of wastewater for irrigation and innovative technologies that allow for (peri-)urban agriculture in face of water scarcity. A study commissioned by the World Future Council, which analyzed the institutional and political context in this area, was presented and discussed, in order to lay the fundaments for the process to create a political framework hereon.

Our work to support South-South collaboration between Belo Horizonte and Windhoek resulted in the adoption of an international cooperation agreement in February 2015, which stipulated that both cities will work together on development issues, beyond food security. The objective was to create a formal basis for the exchange of approved methods and to promote an institutional cooperation on development-related topics. The agreed areas of collaboration comprise food security, culture, development, and education and training.

In October 2015, Windhoek signed with 110 other cities the „Milan Urban Food Policy Pact“. The agreement underlined the increasing critical role that cities play in securing healthy and safe food for their citizens. The „Pact“ comprises concrete recommendations on which measures mayors should implement, in order to live up to the obligations of the agreement. The exchange on food security between Belo Horizonte and Windhoek initiated by the World Future Council is therein presented as good practice example for South-South cooperation.


Following the study tour (2013) to Belo Horizonte, an implementation workshop was organized by the World Future Council, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the City of Windhoek in July 2014 in Windhoek, involving local and national authorities, experts from Belo Horizonte and international food security experts. The objective was to share insights into the Brazilian model with all mayors from Namibia, to enable a multi-stakeholder dialogue on food and nutrition security governance and to strengthen understanding of successful interventions among the participants. The adaptation and the implementation of the Belo Horizonte system was discussed and local solution were being designed. At the event the Windhoek Declaration on the right to food was adopted by 51 Namibian mayors and policymakers, under the eyes of the Vice Prime Minister. The document obligates signatories to implement measure to improve the situation of their citizens, especially it promises a review of national policy and legal frameworks, the development of solutions for financing efforts on local level, the establishment of an inter-municipal technical task force and of networks for multi-level stakeholder dialogue, partnerships and capacity building, and contains the commitment to harmonize current efforts to tackling food and nutrition security.

First concrete measures will be the establishment of the first Namibian food bank and the promotion of urban and peri-urban agriculture in Windhoek.“We will be showing you the greatest political will this country has ever seen,” said Honourable Marco Hausiku, Deputy Prime Minister and thanked the World Future Council for facilitating this exchange.

All recommendations you can find in the workshop report.


It is one of the goals of the World Future Council to bring African delegations to Belo Horizonte so that they can learn about the successful policy framework for food and nutrition security of the Brazilian city on site – because nothing is as convincing as the own experience.

The participants of the first Study Tour of August 2013, among them the Deputy Mayor of Windhoek (Namibia), Mayor of Kitwe (Zambia), Mayor of Kinondoni (District of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania), and the Mayor of  Bangangte (Cameroon), visited key programmes such as subsidized restaurants, the food bank, community gardens, nutrition education programs, school kitchens, etc. and met with Brazilian government officials to discuss governance for food security.

A second Study Tour in February 2015 focused on further supporting the Namibian cities of Windhoek and Walvis Bay in adapting and implementing solutions from Belo Horizonte. An interdisciplinary team of different departments of the City of Windhoek, as well as the Mayor of Walvis Bay, deepened their understanding of the necessary technical and legal requirements of the food and nutrition security framework.


In 2009, our first Future Policy Award honoured the implementation of one of the most fundamental human rights – the right to food. The comprehensive policy framework for food and nutrition security of the Brazilian city Belo Horizonte was declared the inspiring winner. The system is based on the legal right to food for all citizens and incorporates a set of about 20 interconnected programmes that ensure compliance. A main innovation of the policy is the Municipal Secretariat for Food and Nutritional Security, an organizational framework that is committed to the concept of food sovereignty: the right of peoples to define their own food and agricultural policies, to protect and regulate their production and trade in such a manner as to secure sustainable development, to determine the degree of their autonomy and to eliminate dumping on their markets.

It has proven effective in fighting hunger and malnutrition and improving the livelihoods of citizens by supporting the local economy.  It has also integrated family farmers into a local, just food system and strengthened rural – urban linkages. Due to its effectiveness, it has strongly influenced Brazil’s national ‘Zero-Hunger’ Strategy and has been recognized by UNESCO and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN as a model for cities in the global south. A feasibility study regarding a transfer of this system approved its model character. Click here for the study.


Preserving diversity: 30 % by 2030

Our commitment to protecting our oceans

How much ocean does man need, how much ocean does the earth need? We must raise this question now, before too much is destroyed. According to numerous scientists, 30 % of the oceans and, if possible, 30 % of the land area must be protected by 2030. This is the only way to preserve at least some of the biodiversity on this planet. Otherwise the overexploitation will continue: most fishing grounds are already overfished, many species of shark and even the large tuna species, such as the bluefin tuna, are almost extinct. This is why other scientists, such as the famous entomologist Edward O. Wilson, are demanding as much as 50 %. This is because climate change is accelerating the extinction of these species.

The global goal of protecting 30 % of the world’s oceans can be adopted by the international community at the next Conference on Biological Diversity (CBD). Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it will not be adopted until autumn next year. To set an example, a number of states have now joined forces to form the Global Ocean Alliance (GOA). They are promoting the 30 % by 2030 target, including the UK and also Germany. This was one of the goals we wanted to achieve last year.

Around 64 % of the sea surface is in international waters. It is precisely in these areas where it is important to put large zones under protection. However, apart from the Antarctic, there are hardly any areas where this is legally possible.

First of all, a High Seas Treaty must be created within the framework of the international “Law of the Sea“ (UNCLOS), which can provide the framework for such marine protected areas, among other things. There is a clear mandate from the United Nations this convention. We are actively working on such a High Seas Treaty together with a number of other international environmental organisations.

Another important aspect of our work is Antarctica and the surrounding Southern Ocean. Protected areas are already possible here, and three such protected areas are currently under discussion. Together with the already existing Ross Sea MPA, they are to form a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). There is a strong majority of the 25 members of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Resources (CCAMLR), which are behind the creation of this network. However, Russia and China are currently still blocking this decision. This is why we are calling on the German government, among others, to use all diplomatic means at the highest level to urge Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping to support this. In the meantime, the German Bundestag has also joined this demand. So far, not much seems to have happened because these two countries have continued their blockade policy this year – the proposal to protect the Weddell Sea failed in October 2020.

We therefore urge Chancellor Angela Merkel and Heiko Maas, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to take action and to emphasise the global importance of these protected areas in their talks with these two governments.

The World Future Council wants a future with healthy oceans. We are therefore committed to the CBD, CCAMLR and the coming High Seas treaty and inform the participants about the global situation, about possible solutions and try to convince them of the need to protect large parts of the marine environment.

Policies to protect the ocean


Back in 2012, we asked the question: How can we save our seas and oceans? Find out more about the innovative political solutions that we recognized as the world’s best coastal and marine protection policies with the 2012 Future Policy Award.

Biodiversity & Forests

In previous years, we have celebrated best policies to save our oceans, sustain healthy forests and enhance biodiversity. We awarded them with our prestigious Future Policy Award.