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.

Winning Policy of our Future Policy Award Ndiob is running for Climate Initiative Awards

Agroecology is key to increase climate resilience of our agriculture and food systems! We are therefore very excited to see that these days one of our winning policies of the Future Policy Award 2018 from Ndiob in Senegal is running for 2018 Climate Initiative Awards of the 8th Africities Summit that is held these days at Marrakesh, Morocco and is dedicated to the theme “The Transition to Sustainable Cities and Territories, The Role of Local and Sub-National Governments of Africa.” We have interviewed Mayor Ba, who along with his fellows at the municipal council and villagers, has kicked off a truly exemplary transition process in the Senegalese municipality of Ndiob:

Mayor Ba, you have recently received an Honourable Mention of the Future Policy Award 2018, at the FAO Headquarters – how do you feel about this high-level recognition?

Honourable Mentions of the Future Policy Award 2018: Los Angeles, Ndiob and Kauswagan.

It was a great pleasure to receive this award. It is the confirmation that our vision and our programme are relevant. However, we won’t brag about this award. We consider it as a motivation to keep working and fighting. It is like an “engagement letter” that the stakeholders gave us to promote agroecology and to prove that agroecology is a credible alternative to conventional agriculture that fails to feed the world.

When did you actually think about agroecology for the first time, and about starting an agroecological transition in Ndiob? Was there a key moment triggering your action?

I am of peasant origin and in spite of the responsibilities I’ve had at the national level, I’ve always been closely related to my family. It allowed me to note the constant degradation of natural resources, fauna, flora, ecosystems and the lower yields that generated impoverishment! Poor agricultural practices and excessive use of synthetic chemical inputs have contributed significantly to soil leaching and declining soil fertility. Our parents and grandparents did not use these synthetic products but had good harvest and preserved biodiversity. So we decided that the best thing we could offer to the younger generations and to the future generations was a sound environment and the abundance we had when we were young. When we realized that, we turned to agroecology. We researched to understand agroecology and we experimented with success in fields and farm schools. Encouraged by our first results, we decided to scale up by generalizing the experience throughout our community. However, to be more effective, it was necessary to have the support of local government. So we decided to run in the municipal elections on an environmental list. The people trusted us and we won by a landslide. Since then we have initiated the process of ecological transition for our municipality. This earned us the award from FAO and its partners like World Future Council and IFOAM – Organic International.

Looking at what has been achieved so far in Ndiob, what are your impressions?

Mayor Ba in an interview about the award winning policy. Watch the full video here: https://youtu.be/TqVedM0LFLs

We have successfully launched the agroecological transition process. There was a lot of training, awareness raising and experimental activities. We managed to increase the yield of millet from 350 to 1000 kg per hectare on a 100-hectare sample. The populations are enthusiastic and embrace more and more our vision. The use of chemical inputs is decreasing and we are slowly moving towards the use of organic inputs.

What will be the next steps ahead of you?

At the local level, the next step will be to achieve in 2019 the agroecological transition of two villages (Thiallé and Soumnane) of the municipality. These two villages unanimously decided to adopt agroecology as a rural development model. We defined a support programme to help them achieving their ecological transition. We are currently looking for technical and financial partners for the realization of this programme. This territorial approach is important. We will build on this process and model it in view of its replication in the other villages. The objective is to extend the project within three to four years to all the villages in order to make Ndiob a green and resilient municipality. At the international level, it would be great if a programme of exchanging experiences that were awarded by the 2018 Future Policy Award could be set up. As champions in this field, we need to strengthen our relations and establish a core group that will, with the support of partners, provide leadership in the promotion of agroecology at the global level.

Learn more about Ndiob by visiting our Future Policy Award 2018 winners page.

“It’s all about the landscape” – new Film on land restoration launched

Healthy soils are key for food security. But today, huge parts of our land are degraded. So restoring land will have a huge impact on food, soils, and livelihoods on the continent. How can we restore Africa’s degraded land? The new film of our Africa manager, Ina Neuberger Wilkie “It’s all about the landscape” is now launching at the 4p1000 Africa Symposium in Johannesburg.

The film explores good solutions in Tigray (Ethiopia), Jordan, Egypt and Namibia – solutions we identified in our 2017 Future Policy Award on Combating Desertification. We talk to our Councillors and experts Wanjira Mathai (Green Belt Movement), Luc Gnacadja (former UNCCD Executive Secretary) and Helmy Abouleish (CEO of Sekem). We also interview Dr. Hans Herren and Dr. Melaku Worede: Dr. Herren, Right Livelihood Award (“Alternative Nobel Prize”) Laureate and Member of the World Future Council. He is known for his biological pest control in Africa. Dr. Worede is received the Right Livelihood Award in 1989 and is a renowned Agronomy expert from Ethiopia.

We find that in Africa, it is all about the landscape.

Climate Bailout: A financial tool to save the climate

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World Food Day 2018: Celebrating the World Best Agroecology Policies

It’s World Food Day today! Being one of the most celebrated international days, the World Future Council is especially proud that we just distinguished eight truly exemplary policies scaling up agroecology with our Future Policy Award 2018. Among them are policies from Brazil, Denmark, Ecuador, India, the Philippines, Senegal, the United States of America, as well as TEEBAgrifood that accelerate the transformative change in the way we produce and consume our food.

Yesterday evening a high-level Award Ceremony was held in the prestigious Sheikh Zayed Centre of FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy, in presence of more than 170 Heads of State, Ministers, Permanent Representatives and other eminent guests, including FAO Deputy Director-General Ms Maria-Helena Semedo.

Award Ceremony at Sheikh Zayed Centre, FAO headquarters, Rome. ©FAO/Giuseppe Carotenuto

©FAO/Giuseppe Carotenuto

Helmy Abouleish (Sekem Group, Member of the World Future Council, and Maria Helena Semedo, Deputz DG, FAO. ©FAO/Giuseppe Carotenuto

 

Three World Future Councillors – Prof. Dr Vandana Shiva, Dr. Hans R. Herren and Helmy Abouleish – who are also Right Livelihood Award Laureates were on stage.

 

Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director General hands over the Future Policy Gold Award to H.E. Dr. Pawan Chamling, Honourable Chief Minister of the Indian State of Sikkim. ©FAO/Giuseppe Carotenuto

Among the representatives of winning policies was H.E. Dr. Pawan Chamling, Honourable Chief Minister of the Indian State of Sikkim, who received the Gold Prize for having realised the first organic state in the world. H.E. Dr. Chamling was accompanied by an entire delegation, including Mr. Somnath Poudyal, Agriculture Minister of Sikkim, and Mr. Mani Kumar Pradhan, Director of Sikkim Organic Mission.

Ms. Vibeke Gram Mortensen representing the current Danish Minister for Environment and Food, Hon. Mette Gjerskov, former Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Mr. Paul Holmbeck from Organic Denmark all came to collect the Silver Award for Denmark’s Organic Action Plan of 2011-2020, which resulted in Denmark having today the highest market share of organic products in the world.

From Brazil, H.E. Alberto Beltrame, Minister of Social Development, joined, along with Ms. Lilian Rahal, National Secretary for Food and Nutrition Security, Mr. Henrique Villa da Costa Ferreira, Executive Secretary for Sustainable Development Goals, Mr. Rogério Augusto Neuwald, Executive Secretary of  National Commission of Agroecology and Organic Production (CNAPO), and Ms. Maria Verônica de Santana, Executive Secretary of the Northeastern Rural Worker’s Movement (MMTR-NE). Together, they were handed over the 2nd Silver Prize for the country’s Policy on Agroecology and Organic Production, which in its first cycle of activities led to impressive quantitative results in terms of advancing the agroecological agenda in the country (budget and initiative-wise), investing over EUR 364 million.

The third Silver Award that went to Quito’s Participatory Urban Agriculture Programme AGRUPAR, Ecuador, was personally accepted by Mr. Alfonso Abdo, Executive Director of CONQUITO. AGRUPAR fosters food security, increases incomes, and enhances ecosystem functions, and led to over 3,600 urban gardens growing on 32 hectares and more than 21,000 people trained in ecological production.

This year’s Future Policy Vision Award honoured TEEBAgriFood, a unique comprehensive evaluation framework which allows assessing of impacts and externalities of food systems. The trophy was proudly received by Dr. Steven Stone from UN Environment, Mr. Pavan Sukhdev, Goodwill Ambassador of UN Environment and former World Future Councillor, and Mr. Alexander Müller, TEEBAgriFood Study Leader.

Mr. Rommel C. Arnado, current Mayor of Kauswagan in the Philippines, Mr. Oumar Bâ, current Mayor of Ndiob and President of REVES, Senegal, and Ms. Paula Daniels, Chair of Board and Co-Founder of Center for Good Food Purchasing, and Ms. Alexa Delwiche, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Center for Good Food Purchasing from Los Angeles, USA came personally to receive the Honourable Mentions for Kauswagan’s From Arms to Farms Programme of 2011, Ndiob’s Vision to become a green, resilient municipality of 2014 and Agriculture Development Programme of 2017, and the Good Food Purchasing Policy that was first adopted by Los Angeles in 2012.

 

Alexandra Wandel, Director of the World Future Council, who acted also as Master of Ceremonies, says: “It was a truly exciting live webcasted event! We profoundly thank everyone. We thank all our partners – foremost FAO, IFOAM, DO-IT, GCI, SEKEM, and ECORNATURASI, all awardees and speakers, as well as jury members, but also the many experts and volunteers, who supported us in making this year’s Future Policy Award possible. It has been a great success!”

Alexandra Wandel, World Future Council ©FAO/Giuseppe Carotenuto

After the Award Ceremony all guests were invited to a 100% organic cocktail reception. Partners, awardees and speakers then came together for a Roman agroecological dinner, which rounded off this exceptional occurrence and celebrated the eve of World Food Day with local, healthy, organic and agroecological food.

NOTE: All images shown in this post are the property of UN FAO, ©FAO/Giuseppe Carotenuto. Available via Flickr.

Press release: 2018 Future Policy Award winners announced

Future Policy Award 2018 crowns best policies on agroecology and sustainable food systems

The “100% organic state” Sikkim in India wins Gold. Policies from Brazil, Denmark and Ecuador honoured with Silver Awards

 

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Hamburg/Rome, 12 October 2018 – The world’s best laws and policies promoting agroecology are awarded the Future Policy Award (FPA) 2018. The “100% organic state” Sikkim, in India, is this year’s winner of the “Oscar for best policies”, beating 51 nominated policies from 25 countries. Policies from Brazil, Denmark and Quito (Ecuador) take home Silver Awards. This year’s award is co-organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Future Council (WFC) and IFOAM – Organics International.

 

Gold Prize winner Sikkim is the first organic state in the world. All of its farmland is certified organic. At the same time, Sikkim’s approach reaches beyond organic production and has proven truly transformational for the state and its citizens. Embedded in its design are socioeconomic aspects such as consumption and market expansion, cultural aspects as well as health, education, rural development and sustainable tourism. The policy implemented a phase out of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and achieved a total ban on sale and use of chemical pesticides in the state. The transition has benefitted more than 66 000 farming families. The Sikkim tourism sector has benefitted greatly from the state’s transition to 100 percent organic:  the number of tourists increased by over 50 percent between 2014 and 2017. As such, Sikkim sets an excellent example of how other Indian states and countries worldwide can successfully upscale agroecology.

 

Three Silver Awards are granted to:

  • Brazil’s National Policy for Agroecology and Organic Production (PNAPO, 2012): In its first cycle of activities PNAPO invested 364 million Euros. Amongst others, it helped 5,300 municipalities to invest 30% or more of their school feeding budgets in organic and agroecological products purchased from family farmers.
  • Denmark’s Organic Action Plan (2011-2020, updated in 2015): As a result of the Action Plan, Denmark has the highest market share of organic products in the world, with almost 80 percent of Danes purchasing organic food.
  • Quito’s Participatory Urban Agriculture Programme (AGRUPAR, 2002): With over 3 600 urban gardens growing on 32 hectares and more than 21 000 people trained, AGRUPAR fosters food security, increases incomes, and enhances ecosystem functions.

 

The Vision Award goes to TEEBAgriFood, an initiative of “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity” (TEEB) by UN Environment. TEEBAgriFood has developed a comprehensive evaluation framework for food systems that helps decision-makers to compare different policies and the market to value food more accurately.

 

The three Honourable Mentions of the Future Policy Award, this year go to the Good Food Purchasing Policy of Los Angeles, USA (2012), to the Agriculture Development Programme of Ndiob, Senegal (2017) and to the From Arms to Farms Programme of Kauswagan, the Philippines (2011).

 

Winners of this year’s Future Policy Award will be celebrated in a ceremony on 15 October 2018 at FAO headquarters during the World Food Week in Rome. A life webcast is available at http://www.fao.org/webcast/home/en/item/4874/icode/ and photos at: https://bit.ly/2Et5MI6

The Future Policy Award 2018 is co-organised by the World Future Council, FAO and IFOAM – Organics International, with the support of Green Cross International, DO-IT – Dutch Organic International Trade, Sekem Group, Egypt and EcorNaturaSi, Italy.

Statements from the World Future Council, FAO and IFOAM – Organics International:

“By scaling up agroecology, it is possible to tackle malnutrition, social injustice, climate change, and loss of biodiversity. Through effective, holistic policymaking, we can transform our food systems so that they respect people and planet. The 2018 Future Policy Award winners prove that it is feasible – and how. Policymakers across the globe should follow their example and step up similar exemplary political action!” says Alexandra Wandel, Director of the World Future Council.

 

Maria-Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General, states: “A transition to sustainable food and agriculture systems is critical to achieving sustainable development, and the 2018 Future Policy Award is unique as it highlights policies that advance such a transition. FAO is proud to honour, along with the World Future Council and IFOAM – Organics International, such leadership and political will.”

 

“This year’s Future Policy Award honours exceptional policies adopted by political leaders who have decided to act, no longer accepting widespread hunger, poverty or environmental degradation. They are committed to better food and agriculture systems, and have achieved unimaginable change,” notes Louise Luttikholt, Executive Director of IFOAM – Organics International. “One of them is Sikkim’s Chief Minister Pawan Chamling who set an ambitious vision and achieved it: Sikkim became the first organic state in the world – 100% Organic is no longer a pipe dream but a reality, serving as an outstanding role model for others to follow.”

Note to editors

More Information about the winning policies can be found here: https://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/future-policy-award-2018-agroecology-brochure

Follow the 2018 Future Policy Award on Twitter with #FuturePolicyAward or #FPA2018

About the Future Policy Award

The Future Policy Award is the only award which honours policies on an international level. Each year, the World Future Council chooses a topic for the Future Policy Award on which policy progress is particularly urgent. In partnership with FAO and IFOAM – Organics International, the 2018 Future Policy Award will highlight policies that scale up agroecology to contribute to the protection of life and livelihoods of small-scale food producers, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement climate resilient agricultural practices. More information about this year’s Future Policy Award is available at: https://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/2018-agroecology

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Press Release: Shortlist Future Policy Award 2018

Champions in supporting agroecological approaches: Shortlist of Future Policy Award 2018 out now

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Best policies promoting agroecological approaches shortlisted for international award include candidates from Brazil, Denmark, Ecuador, India, the Philippines, Senegal, the United States of America, as well as TEEBAgrifood. Recognising that a transition to sustainable food and agriculture systems is crucial to achieve sustainable development and climate resilience, the 2018 Future Policy Award will celebrate policies that create enabling environments that advance such a transition. This year’s award is co-organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Future Council (WFC) and IFOAM–Organics International.

Hamburg/Rome, 4 October 2018 – In 2018, the Future Policy Award (FPA) will commend proven policies that effectively scale up agroecological approaches at local, national and international levels. It will celebrate outstanding examples for accelerating the transformative change in the way we produce and consume our food. Since a big part of the current food systems are input and resource-intensive, our environment – soil, water, climate, air quality and biodiversity – continues to degrade. A transition towards sustainable food systems not only leads to healthy nutrition for all and contributes to social and economic equity, but it also tackles global warming as well as conserves biodiversity and the ecosystem services on which agriculture and human well-being depends.

In total, 51 policies from 25 countries were nominated. An international expert jury convened to deliberate on the top candidates. The following have been shortlisted as the world’s best policies in the support to scale up agroecological approaches:

  • Brazil: National Policy for Agroecology and Organic Production (PNAPO, 2012)
  • Denmark: Organic Action Plan for Denmark: Working together for more organics (2011-2020, updated in 2015)
  • Ecuador: Quito’s Participatory Urban Agriculture Programme (AGRUPAR, 2002)
  • India: Sikkim’s State Policy on Organic Farming (2004) and Sikkim Organic Mission (2010)
  • Philippines: Kauswagan: From Arms to Farms Programme (2010)
  • Senegal: Ndiob’s vision to become a green and resilient municipality (2014) and its Agriculture Development Programme (2017)
  • United States of America: Los Angeles’ Good Food Purchasing Policy (2012)
  • UN Environment: TEEBAgriFood – The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Agriculture and Food Evaluation Framework, 2018.

Additional information on each policy can be found here

With their holistic approach and impressive impact, these eight legal frameworks and policies create enabling environments for the implementation of agroecology, help achieve the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda and contribute directly to multiple Sustainable Development Goals. They aim at protecting the life and livelihoods of smallholders and family farmers, ensuring sustainable and inclusive food systems, and implementing sustainable agricultural practices that help conserve and enhance natural resources and strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change and contribute to mitigation.

Winners of this year’s Future Policy Award will be announced on 12 October 2018 and celebrated during World Food Week in a ceremony on 15 October 2018 at FAO headquarters in Rome. You are warmly invited to join the Future Policy Award 2018 Ceremony in person. Please register here by 7th October 2018. The event will be webcast live.

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

Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General, states: “Agroecology is a key pathway to support the transition towards healthier and more sustainable food systems. The selected policies are outstanding examples featuring important agroecological elements that support such transitions. Leadership and political will are key to achieve them. FAO encourages such leadership and is committed to join hands to accelerate the needed transformation.

“Unsustainable land use threatens our environment and human well-being. We must act before it is too late. But there is hope: these eight policy solutions show how we can effectively transform our agriculture and food systems. The World Future Council is looking forward to celebrating the best policies advancing agroecology in the interest of future generations, and to sharing their success stories. We can – and should – learn from them how to shape food systems so that every human being can benefit without harming Mother Nature,’’ says Alexandra Wandel, Director of the World Future Council.

“The potential of agroecology to achieve healthy nutrition for all and to address social injustice, climate change and biodiversity loss has been internationally recognised”, notes Peggy Miars, World Board President of IFOAM – Organics International. “These shortlisted policies underline that policymakers in all corners of the world have heard the alarm bell ringing and took the urgently needed action. Let’s highlight and reward these impactful policies!”

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Additional information for editors

About the shortlisted policies

 

Brazil: National Policy for Agroecology and Organic Production (PNAPO, 2012)

Developed as a result of intense civil society engagement and structured around seven comprehensive guidelines that encompass the most relevant aspects of sustainable food chains and systems, Brazil’s National Policy for Agroecology and Organic Production is a unique federal framework policy for the promotion of agroecology and organic production in Brazil. In its first cycle of activities it led to impressive quantitative results in terms of advancing the agroecological agenda in the country (budget and initiative-wise), investing over EUR 364 million, resulting in visible large-scale improvements for smallholders and vulnerable groups in Brazil. Amongst others, it constructed 143,000 cisterns; assisted 5,300 municipalities to spend 30 per cent or more of their school meal programme budget on purchases of organic and agroecological products from family farmers; assisted 393 rural family farming organizations; launched several public calls that enabled agroecological organizations to expand their staff on an unprecedented scale benefitting about 132,744 farming families; trained 7,722 technicians and 52,779 farmers; promoted 24 networks for agroecology; trained 960 professionals and political leaders on financing women in organic and agroecological agriculture, which benefitted 5,200 rural women in 20 different Brazilian States; financed nine projects for seeds for agroecology; and much more.

Denmark: Organic Action Plan for Denmark: Working together for more organics (2011-2020, updated in 2015)

Developed by involving a broad spectrum of stakeholders, Denmark’s Organic Action Plan (OAP) supports diversified agroecological farming and a holistic strategy to build long-term fertility, healthy agro-ecosystems and secure livelihoods, by increasing, on the one hand, the overall demand for organic agricultural products in Denmark and abroad, and hence stimulating farmers’ motivation to convert from conventional to organic food production, and on the other hand stimulating research and product innovation. The OAP is supported by substantial dedicated funding, has invested so far around EUR 192 million (2015 to 2018) and produced very clear positive outcomes: Today Denmark has the highest market share for organic food among all EU countries and the highest annual per capita spending on organic food. Amongst others, the OAP motivated municipalities through a national goal to achieve 60 per cent organic in all public kitchens, by earmarking funds to support the conversion process and primarily through the education of kitchen leaders and workers, and changes in supply chains and menus; thereby, for instance, the city of Copenhagen succeeded in developing one of the most ambitious public procurement programmes in Europe, which met the goal of 90 per cent organic food in 2015, without an increase in meal prices.

Ecuador: Quito’s Participatory Urban Agriculture Programme (AGRUPAR, 2002)

Launched in the aftermath of a deep economic crisis and set up on the basis of a broad, largely women-led community consultation, Quito’s Participatory Urban Agriculture Programme promotes the production, processing, marketing and distribution of healthy organic food from urban and peri-urban gardens in the Metropolitan District of Quito. In its 16 years of existence, AGRUPAR has continuously expanded and considerably advanced food security, job creation, income generation, environmental management, gender equity, social inclusion of vulnerable groups such as women, elderly and migrants, and micro-entrepreneurship. Among AGRUPAR’s impressive results are: 4,500 participants that now produce more than 870,000 kg of food products per year for the city; more than 3,600 urban gardens that cover 32 hectares in total; more than 21,000 people – 84 per cent of whom are women – trained in organic production; more than 6,600 bio-fairs attended by about 170,000 consumers that have been organized so far; more than 170 micro-enterprises that created more than 330 jobs with an average income of USD 3,100; and much more.

India: Sikkim’s State Policy on Organic Farming (2004) and Sikkim Organic Mission (2010)

Political commitment to support organic farming in Sikkim began in 2003 and was consolidated in 2010 with the design of the Sikkim Organic Mission, a road map that clearly detailed all the measures necessary to achieve the target of becoming a fully organic state by 2015 – the first such far-sighted and visionary policy commitment by a state in India or indeed the world. By setting the 100% organic goal and implementing this political strategy, Sikkim reveals itself as a ground-breaking policy that takes all necessary measures to reverse the prevailing economic logic, which favours forms of food production failing to preserve the biodiversity and ecosystem functions agriculture depends on. This action plan, together with its linked policies, is unique in its boldness and notable for the holistic approach adopted, tackling many aspects needed for the transition towards organic farming (input provision, capacity building, etc.) in combination with mandatory requirements, such as gradually banning chemical fertilizers and pesticides, with support and incentives, thus providing sustainable alternatives. As a result, in December 2015 Sikkim became the first organic state in the world with more than 66,000 farming families practicing organic farming state-wide, managing 75,000 ha organic certified, and tourism augmented considerably: between 2012 and 2016 the number of Indian tourists increased by 40 per cent, meaning more than 800,000 people per year, while the number of foreign visitors doubled.

Philippines: Kauswagan: From Arms to Farms Programme (2010)

Having experienced over three decades of Moro conflict, Kauswagan in the Philippines witnessed and suffered from the atrocities of war until 2010, when the local government introduced an outstanding policy that shows how conflict resolution can be achieved by tackling food security – the programme ‘From Arms to Farms: Walking through the Paths of Peace’ that addressed the root causes of the conflict, which were poverty, food insecurity and inequalities between population groups, notably Muslims and Christians. Based on a broad participation of different actors, led by the Local Government Units and other support groups, the programme proved very successful by helping over 600 former combatants to reintegrate into society through farming and thanks to strong leadership and well-conceived governance, Kauswagan turned from a territory disrupted by decades of war into a platform for innovation and sustainable agricultural development. As a result of this exemplary programme, no incidents of crime related to armed conflict between Muslims and Christians have been registered in the last four years in the area; the rate of poverty in the area decreased to 40 per cent in 2016, thus meeting the programme’s target in just five years; food production increased thanks to the fact that 300 ha of previously abandoned land are now cultivated by ex-fighters under organic and agroecological practices; and communities have been positively affected because they can send their children to school.

Senegal: Ndiob’s vision to become a green and resilient municipality (2014) and its Agriculture Development Programme (2017)

Thanks to a very engaged Mayor and Municipal Council as well as local community, Ndiob became the first city in Senegal to embark on an agroecological transition. Designed in a large community consultation, citizens from 18 Ndiob’s villages formulated their Agriculture Development Programme, which includes five priorities: food security, management of natural resources, soil fertility, livestock breeding and farming, and agriculture. Investing a notable 23 per cent of its total budget into developing agroecology, Ndiob has undertaken a series of appropriate and adequate measures to sustainably manage its natural resources and to achieve food security, including: training 600 producers and strengthening their skills in good agricultural practices; achieving self-sufficiency in certified millet seeds (about 10 tonnes); planting 300 ha of millet in ecological agriculture (producing about 450 tonnes) to ensure food self-sufficiency to 300 families; generating 84 tonnes of peanut seeds, which resulted in each of the breeders gaining more than EUR 530 of income in just the2017 season; training 15 women group leaders on cereal processing techniques and the preparation of local, high quality cereal-based dishes; establishing an expanded public commission to ensure good land management, a farmers’ cooperative, a storage warehouse and a credit fund for financing agricultural and processing projects for young people and women; and much more.

UN Environment: TEEBAgriFood – The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Agriculture and Food Evaluation Framework, 2018

The TEEBAgriFood is a path-breaking, globally applicable food systems evaluation framework, which for the first time presents all wider benefits and costs associated with all relevant dimensions (environmental, health, social, cultural) of the eco-agri-food value chain in one single report. By evaluating the significant external costs and benefits inherent in different food systems, and making these costs transparent, decision-makers on farms, and in governments, institutions and businesses can make better-informed decisions that take into account the impacts of the available choices. This  holistic approach of ‘true cost accounting’ allows the recognition, valuing and managing of the positive and negative externalities of all human behaviour and will lead to more agroecological and equitable food systems. The TEEBAgriFood Evaluation Framework will soon be applied at the country level across Africa and in Brazil, China, India and Mexico.

United States of America: Los Angeles’ Good Food Purchasing Policy (2012)

Adopted first by the city of Los Angeles city in 2012, the Good Food Purchasing Programme creates a transparent supply chain and helps institutions to measure and then make shifts in their food purchases. It is the first procurement model to support five food system values – local economies, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, animal welfare and nutrition – in equal measure. Within just six years, the Programme has achieved an impressive impact: since 2012, it has been mandatory for all city departments of Los Angeles and for the L.A. Unified School District (LAUSD), which together serve about 750,000 meals a day and have an annual budget of USD 185 million for food. For instance, it achieved that LAUSD has reduced its purchases of all industrially produced meat by 32 per cent, reducing its carbon and water footprint by 20 per cent and 20.5 per cent per meal respectively, that in just a few years  the environmentally sustainable purchases of four institutions (including LAUSD) increased by 3.3 per cent and now an additional USD 4.3 million per year goes to environmentally sustainable producers, and that the same four institutions now purchase an additional USD 4.4 million annually from smallholders. The Program has set off a nationwide movement to establish similar policies in localities small and large, and inspired the creation of the Center for Good Food Purchasing, an NGO which now owns and manages the program, as well as its expansion across the United States. By now 27 public institutions in 14 U.S. cities are enrolled, which collectively spend nearly USD 895 million on food each year.