The World Organic Forum 2020 focuses on the local implementation of Agenda 2030 with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for a just and sustainable world.
Twenty-five years ago, the international community acknowledged the central role our land plays, by creating the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
Twenty-five years ago, the international community acknowledged the central role our land plays, by creating the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
67 policies from 36 countries contest for Future Policy Award received
We proudly joined the PANORAMA – Solutions for a Healthy Planet initiative by UNEP, UNDP, GIZ, IFOAM – Organics International, IUCN and Rare, as new collaborator.
The negative effects of industrial agriculture have long been clear, and agroecology offers a multitude of solutions for the fundamental transformation of the agri-food system. The position paper presents these solutions and is supported by the World Future Council and many other important actors of the agroecology debate.
There is movement in the international debate on agriculture. More and more people – activists, scientists, members of
organizations and some governments – have come to realize that “carry on as usual” is not an option. The IAASTD report (International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development) recognized this as much back in 2009. The message has now gotten through: the negative effects of industrial agriculture have long been clear; they include water shortages, species extinction, high greenhouse-gas emissions, soil degradation, and land grabbing. They cause social, economic and ecological damage that harms the
livelihoods of peasants1 and the ability of ecosystems to adjust to the already noticeable effects of the climate crisis. The business model of the international pesticide and seed companies is based on the Green Revolution concept of raising yields through the massive use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. But this system is coming under enormous pressure to justify itself. Just a handful of big multinationals control markets all the way from the field to the supermarket. The takeover of Monsanto by Bayer is just one example of
this power. And the power imbalances are increasing between huge corporations on one hand and peasants and workers on the other. Social inequality worldwide is on the rise. Small farms find themselves squeezed out of the market; the human rights of peasants are systematically ignored, especially in the global South; farmworkers toil for a pittance and are exposed to toxic pesticides. According to a United Nations report, 200,000 people die each year from acute pesticide poisoning; 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries.
Press Release: Outstanding Practices in Agroecology 2019 Announced
The recognition highlights outstanding practices in agroecology advancing the transition towards agroecology from the global South. Out of 77 nominations from 44 countries, 15 receive recognitions, including practices from across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Berlin, 17 January 2019 – 15 outstanding projects, programmes, social enterprises and non-governmental organisations from the Global South promoting sustainable food systems are receiving the first recognition Outstanding Practices in Agroecology 2019, beating 77 nominations from 44 countries. The recognition is organised by the World Future Council (WFC), in collaboration with the start-up Technology for Agroecology in the Global South (TAGS).
On the basis of a World Future Council evaluation report, an international panel of renowned experts decided upon the following 15 best practices to be recognised in Berlin on Friday 18 January, 2019 at the occasion of the International Green Week and the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture 2019:
Africa: Regeneration Through Connecting Seeds with Culture and Nature in Africa
This NGO project works in 11 African countries to revive traditional agroecological farming systems, promoting seed and food sovereignty and regenerating livelihoods. Currently it has 4,640 farmers working on reviving seeds and has revived 470 varieties of seeds.
Benin: Premium Hortus
Premium Hortus specialises in the e-commerce of agroecological products, organic production and producer support. So far, the African Greentech company has trained 400 small farmers and provided access for more than 700 urban households to healthy food. Waste is also limited and recycled.
Benin: Using water hyacinth compost to produce healthy food and protect the environment
This NGO project turns the highly invasive plant species water hyacinth into an economic opportunity, by training smallholders in compost-making and providing them with market access. A 20% reduction of water hyacinth was achieved. Furthermore, smallholders are connected to market opportunities to enhance their income.
Brazil: Community organic waste management and urban agriculture – “Revolution of the buckets” (2008)
This community project collects domestic organic waste for use in urban agriculture in socially-troubled areas of Florianópolis, Brazil. This waste management system has already treated 1,200 tons of organic waste and contributed to the production of nutritious food of participating families, benefitting over 1,600 people.
Cameroon: Participatory Domestication of Indigenous Trees for the Delivery of Multifunctional Agriculture by Agroforestry
The research project enables farmers to implement agro-forestry techniques and to diversify livelihoods, learned at inclusive Rural Resource Centres (RRC). In Cameroon, it opened with communities 10 RRCs, hosting 150 nurseries and serving over 10,000 households, planting 1.6 million trees.
China: Shared Harvest and Rural Regeneration
This social enterprise promotes a community-owned socio-economic mode of agriculture. The Shared Harvest farm weekly delivers fresh organic and locally produced food to 800 consumer members in Beijing, guaranteeing each 200 kilograms of food. It is the foundation of China’s Community Supported Agriculture movement.
Cuba: Generation and adoption of Agroecological Pest Management (APM) system in the Cuban Agriculture
The research programme increases the capacity for self-regulation of pests. From 2003-2008, 30,780 farmers were trained and diffused APM to others. This has led to reduced costs of pesticides and pests in 75% of Cuban agrarian production, and an increase of biodiversity and climate resilience.
Egypt: SEKEM Initiative
Today SEKEM is a leading social business worldwide. It reclaimed about 684 hectares of desert land, of which 100% is operated by biodynamic agriculture methods. More than 70% of SEKEM’s reclaimed land produces food and raw materials for the local market. Its products respect highest possible ethical, ecological and social standards.
Global: Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR)
First developed in Niger, FMNR – a low-cost, quick, farmer-managed technique that restores woody vegetation on deforested and degraded land – is now implemented in at least 24 countries. In Niger, FMNR spread to 5,000,000 hectares, reviving more than 200 million trees. Its founder Tony Rinaudo recently gained the Right Livelihood Award 2018.
India: Promoting organic farming and marketing among small peasants in an ecologically fragile region (Timbaktu Collective)
This grassroots organisation improves the livelihoods of marginalised smallholders through organic farming and producer-owned enterprises. Now 8,700 acres are under agro-ecological farming practices and many of the 2,080 farmer families they work with, are shareholders of the established cooperative.
Kenya: Drylands Natural Resource Center (DNRC)
The Drylands Natural Resource Center (DNRC) works with over 600 smallholder farmers, in order to restore their land through agricultural and agroforestry best practices. Thanks to DNRC over 100,000 tree seedlings of over 30 different local species are planted each year, with a survival rate of 80%.
Mozambique: Inclusive investment for agroecology
Based on individual and collective investment, risk sharing and consultation and negotiation, this practice facilitates a transition to boost agroecology, strengthens local institutions for self-determination, facilitates higher level of aggregation and diversifies production and markets. By 2018, 180 smallholders have been trained in agroecology.
Nepal: Cultivating Green Prosperity in High Himalayan Communities through Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs)
This NGO project trains highland farmers in growing medicinal and aromatic plants, offering them a profitable alternative to traditional wild harvesting. Now, 18,000 farmers are trained in over 100 Nepali villages and over 2,500 hectares of degrade land are covered with 13 different MAP species.
Philippines: Building Resilient Farming Communities and Sustainable Economies in the poorest provinces of the Philippines through Agroecology
The practice improves rural development by focusing on organic production, social entrepreneurship and marketing hubs. It has trained 3,048 smallholders on climate-resilient agriculture and initiated 22 farmer’s organizations now engaging in social entrepreneurship.
Zimbabwe: Africa Centre for Holistic Management
Working directly with local farmers in Zimbabwe, the ACHM disseminates holistic management planned grazing. This has multiple proven benefits for soil regeneration and for farmers’ revenues. The Centre has trained 100 facilitators so far and reached 15,000 communal farmers in 16 Zimbabwean communities.
On the occasion of the International Green Week and the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture 2019, recognised practices will be presented at the event: “Scaling up Agroecology! For Forward-looking Decision-making in Policy and Practice”, on 18th January 2019, 15:30 – 17:30h at the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Schumannstr. 8, 10117 Berlin, along with a panel discussion including representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Statements from the World Future Council, TAGS and IFAD
“To address hunger, social inequality, climate change, and biodiversity loss, a transition to sustainable food and agriculture systems is inevitable. This recognition showcases smart solutions that really work for the local people and empower those on whom food security of the Global South relies on: small-scale food producers. The Outstanding Practices in Agroecology 2019 create immediate and real impact and if executed at scale, they can help to considerably transform our food systems,” says Prof. Dr. Franz-Theo Gottwald, Supervisory Board Chairman of the World Future Council.
“Innovation happens when people who are facing challenges dare to think outside the box. The practices distinguished as Outstanding Practice in Agroecology 2019 show in an impressive way how holistic and innovative approaches can turn agriculture into a key element to fight not only food scarcity but also poverty, climate change and loss of biodiversity. It’s time to give a stage to these exemplary approaches and think about ways to scale their impact.” say Valerie von Koerber and Samuel Wagner, directors of the start-up Technology for Agroecology in the Global South (TAGS).
“These 15 Outstanding Practices in Agroecology 2019 are exemplary in that they empower small-scale food producers, nurture sustainable food systems and promote resilient agricultural practices. I proudly served on the jury of this recognition and call all decision-makers to learn from these unique initiatives”, says Shantanu Mathur, Lead Adviser, Global Engagement and Multilateral Relations Division, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
More information about the practices can be found here:
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About the World Future Council
The World Future Council (WFC) consists of up to 50 eminent global changemakers from governments, parliaments, civil society, academia, the arts, and business who have already successfully created change. We work to pass on a healthy planet and fair societies to our children and grandchildren. To achieve this, we focus on identifying and spreading effective, future just policy solutions and promote their implementation worldwide. Jakob von Uexkull, the Founder of the Alternative Nobel Prize, launched the World Future Council in 2007. We are an independent, non-profit organization under German law and finance our activities from donations. For information visit www.worldfuturecouncil.org
TAGS is an initiative aiming at using the Bosch company’s technological strength to contribute to major global challenges. It turned out very soon that our focus will be on the empowerment of smallholder farmers. We were given the chance to explore the possibilities as a start-up within the Bosch organization. The Start-up is called TAGS – Technology for Agroecology in the Global South.
Learning from the Outstanding Practices in Agroecology TAGS aims at finding a way how Bosch’s expertise in technology and/or large scale production can help to scale those practices in order to empower as many farmers as possible.
On the occasion of International Green Week and the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture 2019, the World Future Council is hosting a panel discussion on Friday, January 18, 2019 in Berlin. The aim is to promote the strengthening of agroecology in politics and practice in Germany and beyond – the theme of this year’s Future Policy Award.
On the occasion of the UNFCCC COP24 (December 2018) in Katowice, Poland, the international “4 per 1000 Initiative: Soils for Food Security and Climate” organised, in partnership with the University of Silesia, the second 4 per 1000 Initiative Day on 13 December 2018. An important event to which the World Future Council was invited to speak on COP24
Numerous ministers and renowned personalities took the floor to underline the importance of soil protection and how improved soil health can absorb greenhouse gases and thereby fight climate change. World Future Council’s Climate Director Rob van Riet underlined the need to advance urgently the transition towards sustainable food systems and presented the winners of Future Policy Award 2018 – exemplary policies that work towards this transition and scale up agroecology.
After working in 2017 with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the World Future Council had organized this year’s Future Policy Award in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and IFOAM – Organic International. In 2017, the 4 per 1000 Initiative that was launched in 2015 during the Paris Climate Change Conference by H.E. Stéphane Le Foll, then French Minister of Agriculture, AgriFood and Forestry, won the Future Policy Vision Award as it created an unprecedented attention to the role soils play for food security and climate stability.
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.
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