Clearing the Air in India with the fresh breeze of biomass technology

Every year India struggles with natural conditions of drifting dust from the desert Thar[1] which are aggravated by human impact[2] and lead to environmentally, socially and economically costly air pollution. With the enabling policy framework, a proven technology could be part of a feasible scheme tackling all anthropogenic drivers at once – and ideally lead to a reduction of air pollution by up to 90%. 

Starting a few months ago, India’s North has made headlines when air pollution reached an air quality index (AQI) of 1,001[3] – exceeding safe levels by a multitude of ten. In the national Capital Region of Delhi alone 45 million people[4] have been affected, causing a spike in complaints of respiratory problems and an emergency state, declared by the Indian Medical Association.[5]

Even though the news around the topic subsided, the officially monitored AQI which are even higher in the proximity of roads[6] within major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata, continue to range around hazardous levels[7]. Inhalation of this air is comparable to smoking several packs of cigarettes a day[8] [9] and serious respiratory effects in the general population can be expected while even putting susceptible groups at risk of premature death[10].

Figure 1: Haze over North India in late 2017. (Source: NASA, 2017)

The death toll of air pollution in India was the highest of all countries around the world with 2,5 million in 2015.[11] A global UNICEF study found recently, that over 90% of children are breathing polluted air not matching WHO guidelines and 17 million infants are exposed to levels six times the approved norms.[12] Furthermore, household air pollution was recently discovered to be insalubrious even before birth, reducing birth weight, pregnancy duration and doubling perinatal mortality[13]. This effect is owed to the burning of traditional fuels which exposes mostly women to pulmonary and vision hazards of indoor air pollution.[14]

A study conducted by the World Bank concluded: The negative health impact of outdoor air pollution alone costs India 3% of its GDP[15] which translates to an equivalent loss of roughly 35 billion Euros every year. Research found a direct impact of the atmospheric pollution on agriculture with wheat yields of 2010 being on average up to 36% lower than usual all over India due to reduced intensity of sunlight and toxic ozone reaching the plants.[16] Additionally, increased amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere[17] contribute to the greenhouse effect leading to more extreme and destructive weather events.

Two main causes for a myriad of manmade emission sources

In agricultural areas such as Punjab, the breadbasket of India, which singlehandedly produces 20% of India’s wheat and 10% of its rice[18], smoke blankets rise seasonally for several weeks despite a governmental ban when leftover straw stubble from mechanical harvesting is burned openly in the fields to clean the soil for new seeding [19] (see fig. 2).

Large-scale crop burning in India in 2017. (Source: Propakistani, 2016)

Then, metropolitan areas are covered by the drifting haze of crop burning in addition to the smoke of millions of wood cook stoves in and outside of the urban areas as well as countless emitters of sulfates, nitrates and black carbon such as automobiles, coal-fired power plants, incinerators, smelters or brick kilns.[20]

A comparison of several studies of Delhi shows the difficulty of solving the problem due to the relatively equal share of the main human-made sources of urban air pollution: Open burning of garbage and other diffused emitters contribute on average about a quarter, domestic or biomass burning as well as dust ranges around 15% while both traffic and industry (including coal power plants) are responsible for approximately one third.[21] [22]

However, understanding the reasons of air pollution, the interconnectedness of land and city and the amplification of fog and aerosol hazes[23] permits a vision for a future of clear skies and fresh breath. The main detrimental causes showed to be unsolvable if tackled one by one which is demonstrated by governmental emergency measures falling short every year.

Multiplying the negative causes turns into a feasible opportunity

The usually unused agricultural leftover biomass like paddy straw suddenly becomes an additional source of income for farmers as it already begins to prove itself as a viable source for power generation in rural India, offering employment for thousands of people. The calorific value per kilogram of coal and paddy straw are comparable while it burns cleanly in boilers with an efficiency as high as 99%. Combustion technology is commercialized and alone in the state of Punjab 332.5 MW of agro-waste based power projects are planned.[24]

These power plants can sell their power due to the “New & Renewable Sources of Energy Policy” and generate income under a Clean Development Mechanism while suppling millions of kWh to the grid for years. [25] Even individual households value the significant financial benefit of a carbon credit scheme which earns them up to 500 Rupees per month in a pilot project and convinces them to maintain the use of improved cook stoves.[26]

There are numerous reasons aside from health benefits for extending the understanding of sustainable cooking beyond improved cook stoves[27]. A new one is provided by a recent study, that noted villagers truly wish for cooking like in the cities – preferably with LPG which is out of reach for many due to its higher costs compared to wood.[28]  The so-called producer gas of low-cost straw-based power plants is an ideal replacement of a cleanly burning fuel, reducing indoor air pollution significantly in poor or disconnected rural and urban households alike.

Moreover, the processing of biomass and organic waste opens the opportunity of bio-oil production which can be handled exactly like a petroleum-based product to power suited diesel generators and fuel traffic in the cities.[29] This not only reduces transport emissions greatly but adds value to the commonly high share of organic waste (~30%) in Indian cities[30], attracting the informal sector in waste collection and reducing open garbage burning.

If now the government would take a leap forward by providing legislative support for this scheme in a holistic framework and additionally phase out coal power plants, manmade air pollution could ideally be reduced by roughly up to 90% through counteracting the aforementioned emission sources. In addition to environmental and social health improvements, the positive economic impact would be substantial: An IRENA study estimated a total benefit of 59 to 224 billion USD in savings following a restructuring of the power sector.[31] India’s INDC target of 40% renewable energy in 2030 is a promising step into the right direction.[32]

 

– written by Lisa Harseim –

[1] https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=84731
[2] http://www.urbanemissions.info/inc/uploads/images/PMSA-Delhi-UEinfo-2013-Study.png
[3] https://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=91240
[4] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/07/world/asia/delhi-pollution-gas-chamber.html?mc=adintl&mcid=facebook&mccr=edit&ad-keywords=GlobalTruth
[5] https://www.visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=86982
[6] http://www.dw.com/en/study-offers-new-insight-into-new-delhis-air-pollution-woes/a-18105674
[7] http://clonewdelhi.com/custom/AQI/missionindiaaqi.php#
[8] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/07/world/asia/delhi-pollution-gas-chamber.html?mc=adintl&mcid=facebook&mccr=edit&ad-keywords=GlobalTruth
[9] http://www.theweek.in/columns/shashi-tharoor/dont-hold-your-breath.html
[10] https://www.visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=86982
[11] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/07/world/asia/delhi-pollution-gas-chamber.html?mc=adintl&mcid=facebook&mccr=edit&ad-keywords=GlobalTruth
[12] http://cleancookstoves.org/about/news/01-04-2018-new-study-shows-clean-cooking-can-lead-to-increased-birth-weight-in-newborns.html
[13] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412017312448
[14] https://www.solarquarter.com/index.php/resources/83-industry-reports/6245-remap-renewable-energy-prospects-for-india
[15] http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2013/07/17/india-green-growth-necessary-and-affordable-for-india-says-new-world-bank-report
[16] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4246269/
[17] https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-81-322-2014-5_4#page-1
[18] https://www.visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=86982
[19] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-5055737/Crop-burning-ban-goes-flames-Punjab-Haryana.html
[20] https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=84731
[21] http://www.dw.com/en/study-offers-new-insight-into-new-delhis-air-pollution-woes/a-18105674
[22] www.urbanemissions.info
[23] https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=84731
[24] https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-81-322-2014-5_4#page-1
[25] https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-81-322-2014-5_4#page-1
[26]https://www.povertyactionlab.org/sites/default/files/India_%20Cooking%20up%20a%20recipe%20for%20clean%20air%20%281%29.pdf
[27] https://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/file/2016/10/WFC_BeyondFire_web-version.pdf
[28] https://www.povertyactionlab.org/evaluation/cooking-stoves-indoor-air-pollution-and-respiratory-health-india
[29] https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-81-322-2014-5_4#page-1
[30] http://www.academia.edu/6034600/State_of_municipal_solid_waste_management_in_Delhi_the_capital_of_India
[31] http://www.irena.org/publications/2017/May/Renewable-Energy-Prospects-for-India
[32] http://www.ren21.net/gsr-2017/pages/tables/tables/#table-R15

WEF comment from Dr. Matthias Kroll, Chief Economist, World Future Council

For a number of years, climate change has been on the agenda of the World Economic Forum in Davos – but until today, without any notable results, says the World Future Council, and suggests a “climate bailout”, similar to the bank bailout in 2008, to limit global warming to the 1.5°C threshold agreed in Paris. Dr. Matthias Kroll, Chief Economist of the World Future Council, says in his statement…

12 countries sign Declaration on Securing Children’s Rights

The signatories from across Africa and Asia commit to end violence against children, strengthen child rights and advocate to increase budgets for children

-PRESS RELEASE-

Zanzibar, 1 December 2017: At the International Child Rights Conference in Zanzibar on sharing best practice and policy on child protection, justice and participation, convened by the World Future Council (WFC), representatives and policymakers from Ghana, Indonesia, Liberia, Nigeria, Seychelles, Somaliland, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zanzibar and experts on children’s rights and representatives from civil society signed the Zanzibar Declaration on Securing Children’s Rights. In addition, there were detailed country commitments on how each jurisdiction will take forward their own child rights and protection plans. The declaration was facilitated by Dr. Amb. Gertrude Ibengwé Mongella, WFC Honorary Councillor and former President of the Pan-African Parliament. Read more

January News of the WFC

Dear Friends & Supporters,

A happy and prosperous new year to all our subscribers! It was a great start to the year for us, as we could welcome a new member of the Management Board: Johanna Dillig joined the WFC as Head of Operations.

Policymakers gather to share child rights best practice on protection and participation in Zanzibar

From the 28 – 30 November the World Future Council (WFC) hosted an international child rights conference in Zanzibar to explore the positive impacts of Zanzibar’s Children’s Act and share success stories on child protection, child friendly justice and participation from around the world. Representatives of ministries and policymakers from 12 countries, mainly from Africa and Asia, alongside experts on children’s rights and representatives from civil society drew up the Zanzibar Declaration on Securing Children’s Rights, committing themselves to taking strong action to eradicate all forms of violence against girls and boys. The assembly greatly benefited from the expertise and passion of two WFC Councillors Dr. Gertrude Ibengwé Mongella, former President of the Pan-African Parliament and Dr. Auma Obama, Chair and Founder of the Sauti Kuu Foundation.

Read more

When good laws change lives

Securing Child Rights in Zanzibar

Some of the loudest applause at our recent international gathering of child rights policy-makers in Zanzibar came after the representative from Indonesia took to the floor to list his key priorities for progress on child rights law: “implementation, implementation and implementation!” he boomed to a receptive audience. That this struck a chord with the assembled delegates is testament to the long history of good laws on paper and poor on-the-ground enactment that still plagues child rights policies around the world. It was to tackle this problem that over 100 participants from 15 countries were gathered by the World Future Council in Zanzibar last month, eager to learn and share best practice. We came to see for ourselves how this semi-autonomous island region of Tanzania had made some decisive moves to deliver real progress in how children experience justice and protection.

School girls in Zanzibar City

This was well illustrated by a series of field trips our visiting international legislators made to Zanzibar’s new or improved child rights institutions. One of the striking things you immediately notice is the child-friendly atmosphere that has been created throughout the system. At the new Children’s Court murals adorn the walls, staff dress in civilian clothes and closed circuit video links mean young people can give evidence in a non-threatening environment. The new One Stop Centres, which comprise a 3-room unit of plain clothed police officers, medical personnel and counsellors who provide health, legal and psychosocial services to survivors of violence 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, reduce the trauma of victims of abuse to a minimum while streamlining the collection of evidence and the provision of care.

Conselling room in Zanzibar, specially designed for children who became victims of violence

Another clear feature of the system is coordination. The National Child Protection Unit (NCPU), is the coordinating agency responsible for the implementation of the national strategy. A small team coordinates responses across governmental sectors (social welfare, health, education, justice, etc.), and involves civil society, international agencies, families and children to ensure that child justice and protection is being delivered effectively. Similarly a new Child Rights Centre serves as a hub for civil society organisations working in the field of child rights, identifying gaps in training and filling them. From here the ‘Baba Bora’ (“good father”) campaign is run to engage fathers, men and boys in changing attitudes and behaviours toward women and children, promote gender equality and transform traditional beliefs and norms in order to promote non-violence. The campaign has got the islanders talking with local exhibitions on children’s views on positive parenting, public debates and even a popular R&B song promoting the message.

 

Of course, there is much still to do in Zanzibar to fully operationalise its child rights laws and action plans and ensure that the rights of children are truly safeguarded. But for many of us who have seen the system first-hand, the innovations and progress made were impressive, particularly given Zanzibar’s limited resources. If anything, it is the system-wide approach that can serve as a model for others. So why has similar progress been so slow in some other parts of the region?

 

“Because children don’t vote often the political class ignores them altogether”

Part of the answer is certainly the cost. Across the African continent, children represent close 50% of the population, but this does not translate into them becoming a priority in national planning and resourcing decisions. In fact as Dr. Nkatha Murungi from the African Child Policy Forum noted “Because children don’t vote often the political class ignores them altogether”. When there is funding and resourcing available, too much is dependent on external development partners.

Young people deserve a chance. Zanzibar has a number of places to go for young people if they have become victims of violence and abuse, or if they want to escape from violent environments.

Child protection services in the context of Africa require long term and sustainable investment in the social welfare workforce and developing an effective system and this doesn’t come cheap. The Zanzibar national plan of action will cost $4m annually over the next four years. But it’s clear that adequate budgeting is a crucial instrument for advancing the survival, protection and development of children, particularly in the case in Africa where there are huge unmet needs for access to basic services.

It’s also clear that there can be no better way of spending resources, no matter how scarce, than on our youngest citizens. After all investing in children is investing in the success of our collective future. Whether nations and societies grow and prosper will depend to a large extent on the health, education, protection and the ideas and innovations of the coming generations. We have a huge opportunity to make progress on child rights through the global sustainable development goals (SDGs) whether on poverty (Goal 1), hunger (Goal 2), health (Goal 3), education (Goal 4), gender equality (Goal 5), climate change (Goal 13) or violence against children (Goal 16.2). There’s also no time to lose; 1 year is 6% of a childhood. Any delay in protecting their interests is a lost opportunity. Let’s get to it!

 

 

This article by Jakob von Uexull was originally posted on his HuffPost blog

December News of the WFC

Dear Friends & Supporters,

We had a busy month of December, with a high-level conference on securing children's rights in Zanzibar, with some 100 participants from across Africa and Asia. With the Zanzibar Declaration, the signatories have made a strong commitment to securing and implementing the rights of the children. Find out more about it in this newsletter!

As this year is coming to an end, we would like to thank you for your support and your interest in our work in 2017! We wish you a most enjoyable festive season, and a happy and peaceful 2018!

Zanzibar Declaration on Securing Children’s Rights

At the International Child Rights Conference in Zanzibar on sharing best practice and policy on child protection, justice and participation, convened by the World Future Council with the support of Ministry of Labour Empowerment Elders Youth Women and Children of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar;

We, representatives, nominated by our ministries, and policymakers from Ghana, Indonesia, Liberia, Nigeria, Seychelles, Somaliland, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zanzibar and experts on children’s rights and representatives from civil society;

Acknowledging the commitment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end all forms of violence against girls and boys by 2030 (especially SDG 5 and 16), and to promote participation of children;

Recognising successful and exemplary policies and programmes in Africa and Asia; for example, Zanzibar’s Children’s Act 2011 that was highlighted by the Future Policy Award 2015 initiated by the World Future Council in cooperation with UNICEF and the Inter-Parliamentary-Union;

Further recognising that countries have ratified the UN-Convention on the Rights of Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child;

Emphasising the urgent need to harmonise laws and policies in accordance with internationally and regionally agreed instruments, that there is an urgent need to act on a community, local and national level to introduce and scale up successful experiences and best practices to end all forms of violence against girls and boys;

Commit to:

Take back to our countries, policies and programme ideas, and successful experiences discussed at the International Child Rights Conference in Zanzibar.

Build support for these in our national and local governments and with our parliamentarians, local leaders, families, civil society organisations, and media.

Protect and parent children positively; putting children’s best interests at the centre of decisions that affect them.

Address gender inequality by taking a holistic and lifelong approach to the elimination of violence against women and children.

Take action to eradicate all forms of violence against children, through raising awareness and sensitization about violence against girls and boys, harmful practices (e.g. child marriage) and corporal punishment in all settings.

Strengthen formal and informal child protection systems on all levels with a strong focus on prevention programmes (including family preservation, the involvement of fathers and male caregivers), and to advocate for quality training of social workers, the implementation of disaggregated data management systems (CPMIS), effective case management as well as  reporting and evaluation mechanisms.

Lobby and advocate governments to increase their budgets for children, and develop innovative mechanisms for financing child protection services.  

Facilitate effective implementation of local and national programs, policies and National Plans of Action, on child protection and participation, as part of national strategies to effectively tackle child abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Promote the harmonization of national, religious and customary laws so that they advance the ACRWC and the UNCRC and protect the best interests of the child.

Zanzibar, 30 November 2017

Signatories

Andi Taletting Langi, Deputy Director for Human Rights Foreign Affairs Cooperation Directorate General of Human Rights Ministry of Law and Human Rights of the Republic of Indonesia, Indonesia

Edmund Amarkwe Foley, Head of Department for Public Law, GIMPA Faculty of Law, Ghana

Christopher Lartey, Senior Programme Officer, National Advisory Committee on Child Protection Policies and Law Reform, Ghana

Dr. Nkatha Murungi, Head Children and Law Programme, African Child Policy Forum

Victoria Williams Zaway, Director of Children Protection and Development Division, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Liberia

Mariam Fitumi Shaibu, Chief Social Welfare Officer, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Child Development Department, Nigeria

Sylvette Sandra Jeannine Gertrude, Director Social Services, Ministry of Family Affairs, Social Affairs Department, Social Services Division, Seychelles

Chantal Cadeau, Principal Social Work, Ministry for Social Affairs, Seychelles

Khadra Ali Abdi, Head of Child Protection Unit of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Somaliland

Abdulaziiz Saed Salah, Executive Director, Youth Volunteers for Development and Environment Conservation (YOVENCO), Somaliland

Shabhan Abdillahi Elmi, YOVENCO, Somaliland

Mohamed Aden Nur, CP/ CRG Officer, Save the Children, Somaliland

Kinsi Farah Aden, Project Manager, Save the Children, Somaliland

Suzan Akwii CP/CRG Technical Specialist, Save the Children, Somaliland

Mohamoud M. Aqli, CP/CRG Programme Manager, Save the Children, Somaliland

Abdikarim M. Yussef, CP Officer, Save the Children, Somaliland

Bongani Sithole, Department of Social Development, South Africa

Sonia Vohito, Africa Project Coordinator, The Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, South Africa

Celina Grace Peter Kenyi, Director for Child Welfare, Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, South Sudan

Salma Radwan Salmeen Saeed, Head of the Child, Women and Persons with disabilities Section, Ministry of Justice, Sudan

Yassir Shalabi Mohamed, Executive Director, Child Rights Institute, Sudan

Dr. Katanta Lazarus Simwanza, Head of Gender, ASRHR and Inclusion, Plan International, Tanzania

Asma Matoussi Hidri, Early Childhood Director, Ministry of Family Women and Childhood, Tunisia

Fatma Bilal, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Empowerment, Elders, Youth, Women and Children, Zanzibar   

Khadija Bakari Juma, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, Zanzibar   

Nasima Chum, Director Dept. of Women and Children Development, Ministry of Labour, Empowerment, Elders, Youth, Women and Children, Zanzibar   

Mhaza Gharib, Director Dept. of Social Welfare, Ministry of Labour, Empowerment, Elders, Youth, Women and Children, Zanzibar

I M. Ibrahim, Director of Public Prosecutions, Zanzibar

Didas Khalfan, Ministry of Labour, Empowerment, Elders, Youth, Women and Children, Zanzibar       

Hon. Sabra Mohamed, Chairperson at Children’s Court, Zanzibar   

Hon. Valentina Andrew Katema, Regional Magistrate, Zanzibar

Dr. Issa Ziddy, State University of Zanzibar       

Sheikh Daud Khamis Salim, Appellate Khadi’s Court, Pemba, Zanzibar   

Abdallah Ahmed Suleman, Executive Secretary, Tanzania Youth Icon [TAYI], Zanzibar.

Mali Nilsson, Zanzibar Representative, Save the Children

Shane Keenan, Child Protection Specialist, Zanzibar Field Office ,UNICEF

Nasria Saleh Hamid, Zanzibar Social Work Association, Zanzibar Child Rights Centre

Mussa Kombo Mussa, Chairman of the Zanzibar Children’s Rights Network   

Nuru Mwalim Khamis, Vice Chairperson of the Zanzibar Social Worker Association (ZASWA), Zanzibar Child Rights Centre

Kauthar Kassim S. Dadi, Zanzibar Social Work Association, Zanzibar Child Rights Centre

Nunuu Ali, Zanzibar Child Rights Forum/Society for the Protection of Women and Children Rights and Development Pemba   

Hasina Salim Bukheti, Zanzibar Child Right Forum (ZCRF), Vice Chairperson/ member of executive committee of Zanzibar Association for Children Advancement (ZACA).   

Seif Zanzibar, Child Rights Centre

Dr. Auma Obama, Founder and Chair Sauti Kuu Foundation, Chair of the Expert Commission on the Rights of Children, World Future Council

Hon. Dr. Amb. Gertrude Ibengwé Mongella – Former President of the Pan-African Parliament, Honorary Councillor World Future Council

Alexandra Wandel, Director, World Future Council

Samia Kassid, Senior Project Manager – Rights of Children, World Future Council

Alistair Whitby, Senior Policy Officer – The Rights of Children, Future Justice, World Future Council

Dr. Kate McAlpine, Doing the Right Thing.

Tia Egglestone, Consultant, World Future Council  

Heather O’Dea, Consultant, World Future Council

Participants from across Africa and Asia joined the International Conference on Child Justice, Protection and Participation

Media Contact

World Future Council
Miriam Petersen
Media & Communications Manager
miriam.petersen@worldfuturecouncil.org
Phone: +49 40 30 70 914-19

Ending violence against children

World Future Council organizes international child rights conference in Zanzibar with high-level political participants from across Africa and Asia

-PRESS RELEASE-

Hamburg/Zanzibar, 27th November 2017: The World Future Council (WFC) is organizing an international conference to exchange best practices and policies to tackle violence against children and youths. The conference is taking place in Zanzibar from 28 th to 30 th November. High-level policy-makers from across Africa, as well as Indonesia, Seychelles and Mauritius, are attending the conference. Zanzibar will host the conference as the winner of the World Future Council’s 2015 Future Policy Award, also known as the “Oscar for best policies”, for its Children’s Act. Read more

Soils for food security and climate: The Future Policy Vision Award Winner at COP23

A report from the 4 per 1000 Initiative Day

On the occasion of the UNFCCC COP 23 (6-17 November 2017) in Bonn, the international “4 per 1000 Initiative: Soils for Food Security and Climate” (Future Policy Vision Award) organized, with the support of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and the German Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE), the 4 per 1000 Initiative Day in Bad Godesberg on 16 November 2017.

Following a warm welcome by Dr. Hermann Onko Aeikens, German State Secretary of Food and Agriculture (representing Federal Minister Christian Schmidt), and Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, Chairman of the 4 per 1000 Consortium, Prof. Rattan Lal, Chair of the International Union of Soil Sciences, underlined in his inspirational speech that soil depletion, increased salinization, recurring drought and perpetual hunger are just as real threats to global peace and security as weapons of mass destruction.

4p1000 initiative

Full house of the 4 per 1000 Initiative Day in the city hall of Bad Godesberg.

Numerous ministers and renowned personalities took the floor to restate their support for the 4 per 1000 Initiative, including agriculture ministers from Spain, France, Hungary and Tunisia, and representatives from FAO, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), CGIAR, GEF, Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, OIV, CIHEAM, INRA, IUCN, BAIF, and Danone.

The meeting continued with reports on the work of the Scientific Technical Committee, which developed orientations for an international research and scientific cooperation programme as well as reference criteria and indicators for project evaluation. After the lunch break, Dr. Paul Luu, Executive Secretary of the 4 per 1000 Initiative, presented amongst others the Initiative’s new members and partners, its activities in 2016-2017, its brand-new website and the launch of the collaborative platform, the 2018 roadmap, budget, communication strategy as well as the dates of future meetings.

Prof Barron Orr (UNCCD), Dr Ibrahim Mayaki (NEPAD), Dr Wolfgang Zornbach (BME), Ingrid Heindorf (World Future Council), Stéphane Le Foll (former French Minister of Agriculture, AgriFood and Forestry), and Dr Paul Luu (Executive Secretary of the 4 per 1000 Initiative).

Following a report about the UNCDD COP13 by Prof Barron Orr, Ingrid Heindorf from the World Future Council presented the Future Policy Award 2017 that had been organized this year in partnership with the UNCCD and among whose winning policies was the 4 per 1000 Initiative. Launched in 2015 during the Paris Climate Change Conference by H.E. Stéphane Le Foll, then French Minister of Agriculture, AgriFood and Forestry, the Initiative won the Future Policy Vision Award 2017 as it created an unprecedented attention to the role soils play for food security and climate stability.

During his conclusions of the day, the Initiative’s Chair shared also the promising news that U.N. climate talks in Bonn broke a long stalemate on agriculture (Thomson Reuters Foundation), which could trigger more sustainable government policies to support farmers.

 

The World Future Council

The World Future Council brings the interests of future generations to the centre of policy-making. Its up to 50 eminent members from around the globe have already successfully promoted change. The Council addresses challenges to our common future and provides decision makers with effective policy solutions. In close cooperation with civil society actors, parliamentarians, governments, business and international organisations the World Future Council identifies “best policies” around the globe. The World Future Council is registered as a charitable foundation in Hamburg, Germany.