What is the Future Policy Award 2018 and why is it so important?

Would you like to know more about the Future Policy Award 2018? Here are some fundamentals:

Every year, the World Future Council honours the best policies that create better living conditions for current and future generations with the Future Policy Award, the “Oscar on best policies”. If that sounds complicated, let us explain to you what it actually means – it’s pretty simple and important: We look at the greatest challenges of humankind and search the world for the best solutions in order to spread them.

A quick Q&A session will help you understand. We also interviewed Poppe Braam, founder of DO-IT (Dutch Organic International Trade) why they support the Future Policy Award this year.

First of all, what’s the Future Policy Award?

The Future Policy Award is the first award that celebrates policies rather than people on an international level. It raises global awareness for exemplary policies and speeds up policy action. Each year, the Councillors of the World Future Council identifies one topic on which policy progress is particularly urgent.

What is the focus this year? 

This year’s Future Policy Award is focusing on policies scaling up agroecology. Policies that contribute to the protection of life and livelihoods of small-scale food producers, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement climate-resilient agricultural practices.

Who are the main organisations you partner with this year?

In 2018, the World Future Council partners with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and IFOAM – Organics International. We received support from Green Cross International, DO-IT – Dutch Organic International Trade and Sekem Group, Egypt.

Why does, for instance, DO-IT support Future Policy Award? And why does this Dutch company think scaling up agroecology is so important?

We asked Poppe Braam, who founded DO-IT, an organic food trading company from the Netherlands and he said: “In many countries DO-IT supports farmer transition to certified organic agriculture. Many of them are smallholder farmers, who urgently need more support. This makes local and national policy by governments as well as action by NGOs and agricultural institutes a vital part of this transition. Chemical farming (i.e. today’s conventional agriculture using chemical pesticides and fertilizers) and agroecology are natural opponents. Chemical farming does not only harm nature, but it also harms our health and climate. Moreover, the business of organic farmers is threatened due to levels of pesticide and GMO contamination by wind or water. It is therefore critical to scale up agroecology and policymakers should now step up their efforts.”

What can I do to support agroecology?

Buy organic and agroecological local or regional produce and support thereby family farmers in your region! Just like every raindrop counts towards a river, so does every choice you make in what you consume.

Does the World Future Council need support?

Yes! Now that the Future Policy Award identified and highlighted policy solutions from around world, we need to make them known to policy-makers around the world. We need funding for publishing in-depth policy reports, campaigning events, etc. Every donation will help!

Presenting Smart Sustainable Pioneering Models on Smart Cities in China

Fourth China Smart City International Expo on August 21 in China’s innovation capital Shenzhen

The Banquet Dinner Reception – Best Practice Release was successfully organised during the Fourth China Smart City International Expo on August 21 in China’s innovation capital Shenzhen.

In cooperation with the China Center for Urban Development (CCUD) under the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the World Future Council organised the Banquet Dinner Reception – Best Practice Release in the evening of August 21. During the Banquet, the Smart Sustainable Pioneering Models project was co-launched by the World Future Council and CCUD, with international and national best practices of smart sustainable cities introduced as well. Prof. Herbert Girardet, the honorary councillor of the World Future Council gave the keynote speech, followed by international smart city experience sharing presented by Ms Beate Weber-Schuerholz, the former load mayor of Heidelberg, Germany; Mr Niall O’Connor, center director of Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden; Mr Peter Sailer, project director of Sino German Urbanisation Partnership of GIZ, Germany; and Ms Aisa Tobing, Deputy Secretary General of CityNet, Indonesia.

There are over 1,000 smart city pilots ready for or under construction worldwide, and China is home to about 500 of them, covering big and small cities. Three groups of cities have been listed as national pilot projects so far, and the country aims to nurture 100 new smart cities from 2016 to 2020 to lead the country’s urban planning and development. With such high development speed, the Smart Sustainable Pioneering Models project presents best practices from around the globe for Chinese cities to improve their strategy, design, operations and maintenance in developing smart urban areas, along with technology and infrastructure, to ensure residents’ needs can be met efficiently and in a timely manner.

About 300 guests attended the Banquet Dinner Reception – Best Practice Release by invitation, and over 120,000 audiences in total attending the Fourth China Smart City International Expo. The whole event is organised by CCUD and lasts for 2 days, with main forums on August 21 and 16 parallel sub forums on August 22.

Fourth China Smart City International Expo on August 21 in China’s innovation capital Shenzhen

What’s new in August

Chinese Delegation visited Maryland to learn about Environmental Education

Silver Winner of FPA 2015, Maryland, inspires education experts from China

Environmental Education has been a priority in the Chinese education system. But unfortunately, there was no significant increase in the students’ engagement for environmental protection so far. China is therefore interested in learning from successful models in other countries.

We organised a conference in Maryland in 2016, and presented their award-winning Environmental Literacy Standards. During the conference, we looked into the success factors of the legislation which aims to educate students to become environmentally and sustainability aware citizens.

A Chinese delegation has also been present back in 2016. Inspired by the conference, they now visited Maryland again and met with officials at  Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). They discussed various topics and  questions, for instance regarding the curriculum framework and the relationship between government environmental agencies and school systems. How to provide more suitable materials and publicity channels for environmental education? How to improve the teaching staff’s environmental education level? And how to raise national awareness of environmental protection and establish public awareness of environmental supervision?

The delegation would like to conduct exchanges of experience in environmental education legislation in Maryland, particularly its experience in formulating environmental education standards, as well as successful cases of environmental improvement through education.

The World Future Council facilitated the meeting will follow up on this topic with the Chinese delegation.

Updates in July

Annual Report 2017

Annual Report 2017

Our new Annual Report is out now! Let’s take a tour through the diverse and numerous solutions we identified and promoted during 2017. This Annual Report looks back at our impact in 2017 and shows, yet again, our supporters’ strong commitment.

Zero Poverty – a vision in action for the future of Oxford County

In Oxford County poverty eradication is high up on the agenda. To tackle this, the County has designed and implemented a comprehensive plan which is designed to assess inequalities across the community and suggest measures to lead as many people out of poverty as possible.

Community Energy: A possible solution for the power issues in Rio de Janeiro’s neglected areas

Communities in Rio de Janeiro

Rocinha. Source: The Guardian (2013), “Favelas of Rio de Janeiro – in pictures”. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/gallery/2013/nov/04/favelas-rio-de-janeiro-in-pictures

The most neglected areas in the city of Rio de Janeiro, commonly known as “favelas”, are irregular units that started to develop, usually onto hillsides, during a civil war in the final years of the nineteenth century. As it continued to grow over the years, it was embracing former slaves, immigrants coming from other parts of the country searching for jobs, and any other person that couldn´t afford to buy or rent a house in the city. The consequence is an area inhabited by the poorest class, with an un-existing urban plan, houses and buildings with bad infrastructure, difficult access and precarious public services. This reality created a separation between those inhabitants, commonly known as “people from the hills”, and the inhabitants from the rest of the town, known as “people from the asphalt”. Nowadays, there are around 762 of those communities in Rio with more than 1.4 million people residing in them (approximately 25% of Rio´s population) but, unfortunately, many of them are still neglected by the city.[1] The consequence of the weak presence of the state is that these areas work in a different system, with different rules, where inhabitants had to work in a self-sufficient manner. They had to learn how to protect and help themselves and thus developed a sense of a society that functions as a family[2]. With the goal of handling the daily challenges, and also as a way of having an internal political structure, they created their resident´s association, where a resident is elected by the inhabitants to be an active voice inside and outside the slums. They are responsible for organising forums, creating their land ownership titles, solve issues related to infrastructure, such as sanitation, medical care, energy, transportation and, especially, to establish a connection of those inhabitants with the city hall, bringing all the issues of their region[3].

Instead of what many may imagine, these areas in Brazil are responsible for generating 78,3 billion Reais (approximately 20 billion euros) per year. This is a direct consequence of the fact that residents had to learn how to be entrepreneurs in order to provide for their needs. Approximately 44% of inhabitants want to have their own business and 62% of them want to do it inside the community[4]. It has become part of their culture to fight for their interests and to show their value to the community, and to the rest of the city. Moreover, since the term favela became a derogatory way of talking about these neglected areas, especially the term favelado – a person that lives in the favela –, they requested to be recognised as a Community, a definition that fits perfectly with the way that they developed and behave.

Energy issues

The problems regarding infrastructure in the favelas are enormous. They have precarious sewage systems, transportation, water, and especially, electricity infrastructure. Energy consumption is increasing due to the rise of technology and evolution of electronic devices, and the expectation is that the demand for electricity is going to continue to grow even more. Light is the company that is responsible for producing and distributing energy in the entire city of Rio de Janeiro but, unfortunately, the service that is provided is not equal for every area of the town.

These circumstances developed a “culture of non-payment” in slums, where dwellers get their energy directly from the overhead cables, creating a system where their home will have electricity without the inhabitant having to pay for it[5]. Even though it seems like they are only taking advantage of the situation, there are many disadvantages to this system. Without a meter, residents cannot have an energy bill, and don’t have a proof of residency that is acknowledged by the city hall, which means they are unable to open bank accounts and receive mail. Moreover, they are vulnerable to electrocution and fire, due to overloads in the transformer. The key to the problem is not only that some residents cannot afford to pay for electricity, but that electric energy is part of a basic need of any resident of a big city, and they should be receiving a better quality service. In addition to these problems, ANEEL– Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency – has set a goal in which electric power companies have to reduce their commercial losses[6] of electricity annually[7], and now the inhabitants live in constant fear of getting a fine from the energy company.

Community Energy

Insolar and the community energy in Santa Marta slum. Source: Insolar (2018), “Histórias Inspiradoras”. Available: http://insolar.eco.br/

The main idea of community energy is that local members have full participation in the process of managing and generating their own power through renewable energy[8]. Considering that this is already in line with the modus operandi in Rio´s informal settlements, the implementation of this concept would come as a natural solution that will help dwellers to pay a reasonable price for electricity, lose the dependency on big electric companies, and have a quality service. The approach to this investment will be different in each community, since is important to consider the size, structure, political involvement, background and the need of every area in order to choose the right system[9].

In the Santa Marta community, the social organisation Insolar implemented such a community energy concept over a period of two years. Dedicated to promoting democratic access to energy through the installation of photovoltaic systems, it works closely with a variety of stakeholders, also providing awareness of the technology and environmental education. With the objective of having the inhabitants as the protagonist, they also invest in the local workforce to improve empowerment of the residents, teaching them how to install PV panels, getting them involved as much as possible, and having as a consequence an increased spirit of collaboration. They have fitted more than 150 PV panels to the roofs of many buildings in Santa Marta, which represents more than harnessing power from the sun – it is also shaping positive future of clean energy and generating a spirit of collaboration among inhabitants[10].

Barriers

Even though the sun shines for 2.000 hours a year in Brazil, only 0.2% of the country’s energy comes from solar power[11]. The current Brazilian legislation shows the lack of incentives for renewable energy and especially for solar home systems[12]. Residential and commercial customers are allowed to net-metering, a system that gives the possibility to use energy at any time of the day and in any climatic condition. Those connections will work through the Energy Compensation System, where all the power that is produced in excess becomes an “energy credit” for the customer, measured in kWh, and can be used to complement the months where the production is lower than the amount of energy that is consumed. However, this energy credit is only valid for 60 months, and after that this extra production is “given” to the company, according to normative resolution 482/2012 created by ANEEL[13]. Another critical issue is the minimum fee, or cost of availability, that is always charged even if the production is higher than the consumption, which is problematic for those dwellers that cannot afford to pay for the electrical bill. The necessary amount to invest in this new technology is also a big issue since is still very expensive and is considered to be profitable only after 4 or 5 years of use[14].

Promoting community energy in Rio

This investment is part of a long-term energy plan with several socio-economic benefits. Projects for community energy should prioritise and encourage local investors, especially to explore the vast possibility of income and finances that can be provided by it. However, the communities should also have in mind that any stakeholder is essential for its development. Implementing targets, creating regulations and facilitating equal market access is a good strategy to attract stakeholders and increase participation of the local inhabitants. Forming partnerships with a dealership, in order to get loans, could also increase the possibility to implement such a project. Moreover, it is vital to learn how to work with the government, considering that it can create special incentives, specifically for slums, in order to promote more significant investments in community energy[16].

– written by Mariana Cascardo –

 

Ressources

[1]Vox (2016), “Inside Rio´s favelas, the city´s neglected neighborhoods”. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3BRTlHFpBU [Accessed 07 June 2018]

[2] RevoluSolar Institucional (2016), “RevoluSolar – A solar Revolution in Babilônia”. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSTk-3oCAn8 [Accessed 07 June 2018]

[3] Brown University Library (2012), “Favelas in Rio de janeiro, Past and Present”. Available: https://library.brown.edu/create/fivecenturiesofchange/chapters/chapter-9/favelas-in-rio-de-janeiro-past-and-present/ [Accessed 07 June 2018]

[4] GloboNews (2018), “Mundo S/A: Negócios movimentam R$ 78,3 bilhoes em favelas”. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XmxrQURr3Q [Accessed 07 June 2018] (in Portuguese)

[5] The Guardian (2014), “Providing electricity to Rio de Janeiro´s favela”. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/providing-electricity-rio-de-janeiro-favelas [Accessed 07 June 2018]

[6] Commercial losses, also known as technical losses, is associated with the energy that is not billed, that is lost in the grid during the distribution process, measurement with errors or consumed by units without metering equipment.

[7] “Aneel define nível de perda por furtos e frauds no cálculo de tarifa”. http://www.brasil.gov.br/editoria/infraestrutura/2011/11/aneel-define-nivel-de-perda-por-furtos-e-fraudes-no-calculo-de-tarifa [Accessed 07 June 2018] (in Portuguese)

[8]REN21 (2017), “Renewables 2017 – Global status report“. Available: http://www.ren21.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/17-8399_GSR_2017_Full_Report_0621_Opt.pdf [Accessed 07 June 2018]

[9] REN21 (2017), “Renewables 2017 – Global status report“. Available: http://www.ren21.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/17-8399_GSR_2017_Full_Report_0621_Opt.pdf [Accessed 07 June 2018]

[10] Climate Reality (2017), “24 hours of Reality 2017: Democracy in Solar Action (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=252&v=oZG738Ou6hI [Accessed 07 June 2018]

[11] BBC NEWS (2017), “How solar power is charging lives in the Santa Marta favela in Rio”. Available: http://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-39485808/how-solar-power-is-changing-lives-in-the-santa-marta-favela-in-rio [Accessed 07 June 2018]

[12] The Guardian (2016), “From the favelas: the rise of rooftop solar projects in Brazil”. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/may/24/favelas-solar-energy-projects-brazil [Accessed 07 June 2018]

[13] ANEEL (2012), “Resolução Normativa nº 482”. Available: http://www2.aneel.gov.br/cedoc/ren2012482.pdf   [Accessed 07 June 2018] (in Portuguese)

[14] RevoluSolar Institucional (2016), “RevoluSolar – A solar Revolution in Babilônia”. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSTk-3oCAn8 [Accessed 07 June 2018]

[15]IRENA COALITION FOR ACTION (2018). ”Community Energy: Broadening the Ownership of Renewables”. Available: http://irena.org/-/media/Files/IRENA/Agency/Articles/2018/Jan/Coalition-for-Action_Community-Energy_2018.pdf?la=en&hash=CAD4BB4B39A381CC6F712D3A45E56E68CDD63BCD&hash=CAD4BB4B39A381CC6F712D3A45E56E68CDD63BCD [Accessed 07 June 2018]

World Top Experts On Agroecology Form Jury of Future Policy Award 2018

Hamburg/Bonn/Rome, 25th July 2018: Today the World Future Council, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO) and IFOAM – Organics International have announced the names of experts forming the jury of the Future Policy Award 2018. The Award will be celebrating the world’s best policies scaling up agroecology.

Jury members come from all continents – Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America. Three members are also recipients of the Alternative Nobel Prize.

Alexandra Wandel, Director of the World Future Council, says: “The World Future Council is very honoured and grateful that these world top experts on agroecology have agreed to serve on the jury of our Future Policy Award. We look forward to their selection of the world’s best policies for agroecology.”

The jury will be deciding upon the winning policies of the Future Policy Awards 2018 – the best on Earth scaling up agroecology. A shortlist of the winning policies will be published in early September, whilst the winners will be announced and celebrated in October 2018 at the UN FAO Headquarters in Rome.

Renowned representatives of international organisations, academia, civil society and farmers organisations, foundations, and the private sector have agreed to serve on the jury. Among them are the following experts (in alphabetic order):

Helmy Abouleish

CEO, Sekem Group; President, Demeter International; UNFCCC NAP Champion; Ambassador, IFOAM – Organics International; Right Livelihood Award Recipient; and Councillor, World Future Council, Egypt.

Prof. Dr Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger

Senior Director, Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL); Affiliated Fellow, Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge; and Founding Councillor, World Future Council, UK/Canada.

 

Prof. Dr Olivier De Schutter

Co-Chair, International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food); Member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; former UN Rapporteur on the Right to Food; Université de Louvain, Belgium.

images source

Dr Hans Martin Dreyer

Director, Plant Production and Protection Division, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

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Prof. Dr Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias

Chairperson of the 2nd International Symposium on Agroecology of the FAO; Professor Adjunto, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade de Brasília; and former Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

images source

Dr Hans Rudolf Herren

World Board Member, IFOAM – Organics International; Right Livelihood Award Recipient; President, Millennium Institute; and President and Founder, Biovision Foundation, Switzerland.

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Ruth Richardson

Executive Director, Global Alliance for the Future of Food (GA), Canada.

Prof. Dr Vandana Shiva

Director, Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology; Founder, Navdanya International; Right Livelihood Award Recipient; and Founding Councillor, World Future Council, India.

Eva Torremocha

Responsible for the Sustainable Food Programme Spain, Daniel & Nina Carasso Foundation; and Researcher, University Pablo de Olavide, Spain.

images source

To learn more about this year’s Future Policy Award, click here or follow #FuturePolicyAward on social media.

Picture Credits

Prof. Dr Olivier De Schutter: image by Heinrich Böll Stiftung from Berlin, Deutschland, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Dr Hans Martin Dreyer: ©FAO/Alessandra Benedetti via Flickr

Dr Hans Rudolf Herren: © Peter Luethi

Eva Torremocha: image via IFOAM Website

 

 

Scaling up Agroecology: our Call for Nominations triggered unprecedented response

The world’s biggest contest on agroecology has been kicked off this year and the feedback in the first rounds stunned us: 20,000 experts from all over the world were contacted to nominate the most exemplary policies for our Future Policy Award. We received 51 policies from 25 countries from all continents that advance sustainable agriculture and food systems. Here is a quick overview of the process so far.

 

 

This year’s Future Policy Award is focusing on policies scaling up agroecology: Policies that contribute to the protection of life and livelihoods of small-scale food producers, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement climate-resilient agricultural practices.

The path to finding the most exemplary policies is quite elaborate and involves a number of steps: First of all, a Call for Nominations is spread to experts on the topic. Secondly, nominations are being researched and collected: Thirdly, an evaluation team screens, discusses and evaluates all nominated policies.

Our Call for Nominations was circulated by UN FAO, the World Future Council and IFOAM to a total of over 20,000 experts from intergovernmental organisations, non-profit organisations, academic and research institutions, government agencies, development banks and other notable organisations active in this field. This year, we were blown away by the incredible feedback we received from agroecology and agriculture policy experts worldwide: In total, the team received 51 policies from 25 countries and from all continents. These were six nominated policies from Africa, twelve from Asia, nine from Europe, twenty from Latin America, one from North America, and three are international ones.

From certain countries we received more than one nomination: Six from Brazil, four from Cuba, five from India, three from Italy and two from Argentina, Bolivia, Denmark, Ethiopia, Philippines, Spain and Venezuela. The policies we have received come from all governance levels, i.e. from city to state, national, continental and even international level. They reflect a wide range of law-making and policy approaches, addressing different aspects of the topic of agroecology, from supporting organic and agroecological production to comprehensive food policies tackling production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste management.

This year, our research team was composed of 13 people coming from 9 different countries, speaking more than 6 different languages fluently. We engaged with more than 100 experts to receive their views and discuss with them the impact of the policies nominated for the Award. Overall, the evaluation team screened and discussed 51 policies, evaluating 21 of them fully.

The next steps

At the end of July, our international jury of experts discusses which of the evaluated policies best receive the Awards. Our jury this year will be composed of 9 eminent experts including representatives from organising partners – FAO, World Future Council, IFOAM – as well as CISDL, Demeter International, the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, IPES-Food, Navdanya International, Millenium Institute/Biovision Foundation and the Daniel & Nina Carasso Foundation. Among them will be 4 women and 5 men coming from 5 different continents. They will be making important choices and decide upon 1 policy winning Gold and 2 for Silver, 3 receiving Honourable Mentions and last but not least 1 Vision Award.

Last but not least, the winners are being celebrated!

On the occasion of World Food Week in October 2018, the Award Ceremony will be held at FAO Headquarters celebrating the best policies on Earth that scale up agroecology. We are looking much forward to this festivity and to honour exemplary political will!

To learn more about the Future Policy Award click here.

 The Future Policy Award 2018 is organised by the World Future Council, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and IFOAM – Organics International, with the support of Green Cross International, DO-IT – Dutch Organic International Trade and Sekem Group, Egypt.

 

CONTACT

Ingrid Heindorf

Policy Officer of FPA 2018

ingrid.heindorf@worldfuturecouncil.org

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