PR: FPA 2019: Empowering Youth

Nominations now open for the Future Policy Award for exemplary policies that promote and support young people’s empowerment

Global contest announced by the World Future Council, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), with the support of the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Youth Policy Labs

Hamburg/New York, 5th April 2019 – On the eve of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum and the 140th IPU Assembly, the World Future Council, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with the support of the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Youth Policy Labs, have kicked off a global call for nominations to identify and honour the world’s most successful policies enabling youth empowerment.

Every year, the most visionary policies tackling humankind’s most pressing challenges are celebrated through the Future Policy Award (FPA), the only global award that recognises policies for the benefit of present and future generations. The World Future Council has awarded this annual prize since 2010 in partnership with UN agencies and the IPU. Recognising that youth empowerment is critical to achieve the Agenda 2030 and address key sustainable development and justice challenges, the Future Policy Award 2019 will put the spotlight on policies that empower young people through decent and sustainable jobs as well as civic and political participation for sustainable development and peace.

Youth empowerment: key to achieving a fairer, more just and sustainable future

Today, there are 1.8 billion young people – the largest generation the world has ever seen. The majority of them live in the so-called developing world. They are almost three times as likely as adults to be unemployed. Yet young people embody the potential of a society and play a crucial role as key architects of the future of their families, communities and countries. Young people are on the frontlines of political and social change and have the power to renew cultures as well as maintain important traditions. With the multiple global challenges we face – climate change, unsustainable food systems, dramatic loss of biodiversity, water scarcity, growing inequalities, conflicts and much more – it is absolutely critical that youth empowerment is promoted and supported through inclusive, effective, inspiring and innovative laws and policies that promote their rights and speed up common action. It is also vital that youth voices are heard and that they meaningfully participate in the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of such laws and policies for example, through parliaments, civil society organizations, and other formal and informal means.

The award will highlight proven policies that effectively promote and scale up local, national and international youth empowerment solutions. We seek policies that advance the economic empowerment of young women and men in decent and sustainable jobs, for instance, youth skills development programmes that pave the way for youth to build the green economy we need. It also encompasses youth entrepreneurship or programmes targeting particularly marginalized groups including women. We also seek inspiring policy and legislative frameworks that enable much more civic engagement and political participation of youth. This includes, for instance, policies that promote enhanced youth representation in politics and decision-making, and enable the integration of youth at all levels of governance.

Representatives of international organizations, academia, non-governmental organizations, parliaments, government agencies, and others have until the 26th April to nominate exemplary policies through the online form (available in English, at http://bit.do/eNoZb) or with a word version of the form (available on request, in English, French and Spanish, at: fpa@worldfuturecouncil.org). Winners will be selected by a high-level jury of experts and announced in October 2019 at an award ceremony in Belgrade, Serbia, during the 141st IPU Assembly. For further information, please visit: https://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/p/2019-empowering-youth/.

Youth at a crossroads

Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator and Vice-Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group says: “Youth are powerful agents of change, driving important conversations and actions today on critical issues like climate change, peace building, and social entrepreneurship. In recognition of this role, UNDP supports initiatives globally that recognize, promote, and support youth leadership, expanding civic space for youth and encouraging youth-led innovation.”

“At a time when world youth population is bigger than ever before, only 2.2 per cent of parliamentarians worldwide are under 30 years of age. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the youth political deficit. Representation is a source of strength. Laws and policies that empower youth and better include them in decision making results in better outcomes for people of all ages and future generations. This Future Policy Award is a timely opportunity to share and celebrate laws and policies that have proved successful. I call on you all to nominate your experiences not only for a chance to win the Award itself, but to inspire further action around the globe,” underlines Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the IPU.  

“This year’s Future Policy Award will celebrate proven solutions that make youth empowerment a reality. The World Future Council is determined to work with its partners in order to identify and share the best policies for advancing decent and sustainable jobs and civic and political participation in the interest of sustainable development and peace. It is critical that we learn from policies that are already making an impact,’’ says Alexandra Wandel, Executive Director of the World Future Council.

“In the world there are 1.8 billion young people, the largest generation ever. Most of them live in developing countries where they tend to make up a large proportion of the population. This reason should be enough to understand the crucial importance of effective youth policies to promote young people’s meaningful political and civic engagement, as well as their economic empowerment and access to decent and green jobs,” says Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.

The winners of the 2019 Future Policy Award will be celebrated at a high-level award ceremony at IPU’s 141st General Assembly in Belgrade (Serbia) in October 2019. The Award Ceremony typically brings together more than 200 decision-makers, including heads of state, ministers, permanent representatives, parliamentarians, youth, heads of international organisations and leading civil society organisations from across the world.

Follow the 2019 Future Policy Award on Twitter with #FuturePolicyAward and #FPA2019

CONVENING PARTNERS

The World Future Council

The World Future Council brings the interests of future generations to the centre of law and policy making. The Council consists of 50 eminent global change-makers from governments, parliaments, the arts, civil society, academia and business. Together they form a voice for the rights of future generations. The Council addresses challenges to our common future and identifies and promotes effective legislative and policy solutions among decision makers. www.worldfuturecouncil.org

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is the world’s organisation of parliaments. It was founded in 1889 as the first multilateral political organisation, encouraging cooperation and dialogue between all nations. Today, IPU comprises 178 national parliaments and 12 associate members. It empowers youth by supporting parliaments to better provide access to youth to political decision-making, and include a youth perspective in legislation and policies. We build capacities of young MPs and provide platforms for them to coordinate actions at the global, regional and national levels. We also monitor youth representation in parliaments and issue policy and legislative guidance to boost it. https://www.ipu.org/

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in nearly 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. UNDP recognizes, supports and promotes the role of young women and men as agents of change and has implemented its first-ever UNDP Youth Global Programme since 2016. https://www.undp.org

SUPPORTING PARTNERS

UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth

The Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth serves as a global advocate for addressing the needs and rights of young people, as well as for bringing the United Nations closer to them. The Envoy’s Office is part of the United Nations Secretariat and supports multi-stakeholder partnerships related to the United Nations system-wide action plan on youth and to youth volunteer initiatives. The office also promotes the empowerment and foster the leadership of youth at the national, regional, and global levels, including through exploring and encourages mechanisms for young people’s participation in the work of the United Nations and in political and economic processes with a special focus on the most marginalized and vulnerable youth. The UN Envoy on Youth works on realizing the Youth2030: The United Nations Strategy on youth. https://www.un.org/youthenvoy/

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is the United Nations agency for the world of work. It sets international labour standards, promotes rights at work and encourages decent employment opportunities, the enhancement of social protection and the strengthening of dialogue on work-related issues. The ILO was founded in 1919, in the wake of a destructive war, to pursue a vision based on the premise that universal, lasting peace can be established only if it is based on social justice. The only tripartite U.N. agency, the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men. www.ilo.org

Youth Policy Labs

Youth Policy Labs is the leading global think-tank specifically focusing on youth and is hosted by the Berlin-based NGO Demokratie & Dialog e.V. We operate at the junction of research and journalism, producing high-quality and well-researched knowledge with the aim of improving public policies that affect the lives of young people. We champion the development of youth policies, promote young people as researchers, facilitate international discussion on youth policies, and advocate for stronger coherence within the United Nations and donor agencies on youth rights, policies and programmes. Our team is made up of youth policy experts, youth researchers, and young journalists. Our publications are published under Youth Policy Press, a global publishing house on youth issues. http://www.youthpolicy.org/

With special thanks to the Michael Otto Foundation and the Jua Foundation.

MEDIA CONTACT

World Future Council

Samia Kassid, Senior Project Manager, The Rights of Children and Youth

Phone: +49 (0)40 307 09 14 18

samia.kassid@worldfuturecouncil.org; media@worldfuturecouncil.org

Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)

Thomas Fitzsimons, Director of Communications

Phone: +41 (0)79 854 31 53

tf@ipu.org

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Sangita Khadka

Tel.: +1 212 906 5043

Sangita.khadka@undp.org

 

World Future Council releases new handbook: exemplary education practices show how children and youth can shape a sustainable future

The publication demonstrates how educational approaches are helping learners develop the skills to create more resilient, skilled, low-carbon societies.

Hamburg, 26th February 2019 – The World Future Council (WFC) has just released a pioneering new policy handbook, compiling the most exemplary policies and practices to advance Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). After working with 16 Environment and Education Ministries, the Rights of Children and Youth Commission of the WFC has gathered together evidence that shows ESD can play a central role in empowering learners of all ages to positively respond to the pressing global challenges facing us, such as climate change, biodiversity loss and inequality.

Given the huge challenges the world faces, it is clear that we need to teach, learn and live in a fundamentally different manner. The evidence shows Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is already helping to realise this transition. The new policy handbook explores some of the central features of policy, process and practice in some of the pioneering countries embracing these educational approaches. It examines some of the major trends and opportunities in introducing this more holistic, progressive, transformational education.

Education for Sustainable Development embraces hands-on and outdoor learning pedagogies counteracting the trends of indoor living and lack of contact with the natural world that has been shown to have real costs for the health and wellbeing of our children. It creates the conditions for an environmentally literate generation of problem solvers.

“As the growing school strike movements across Europe show, we need young learners with the knowledge, values and conviction to act in a just, inclusive manner and make sustainable development a reality”, says Alexandra Wandel, Executive Director of the World Future Council.

Dr. Auma Obama, Chair of the WFC Child Rights Commission and Founder and Director of the ‘Sauti Kuu Foundation’, says “Education systems need to be reformed to allow our young people to leave school motivated, creative and able to be self-reliant – mentally, socially and financially. As this comprehensive policy handbook shows Education for Sustainable Development encourages this transformation, empowering learners with the key skills, knowledge and self-belief to grow into their best selves. There is no time to lose!”

Jane Goodall, Honorary Councillor of the World Future Council and UN Messenger of Peace, says “Empowering young people to care for the world they inherit is the responsibility of every generation. Education for Sustainable Development is a powerful tool that gives young people, their peers and communities the knowledge and confidence to act on their beliefs, be part of something bigger and make a real difference.”

This handbook offers insights from around the world on how sustainable education can be implemented successfully in policy, in the curriculum and at the level of schools, universities and other places of learning, to build a better future for all. Countries like Scotland are making an explicit link between ESD and the skills needed to prepare young people for a sustainable economy based on renewable energy and more sustainable consumption and production patterns. Similarly Costa Rica’s policy to decarbonise its economy by 2021 specifically identifies ESD as part of a wider programme for public awareness raising, education and cultural change.

Ultimately, ESD asks us assume active roles in creating a world we’d be proud to pass on to our grandchildren.

The handbook was supported by the Michael Otto Foundation, Janina Özen-Otto/Jua- Foundation and Ismail Özen.

>> Download Policy Handbook

Media Contact:

Miriam Petersen, Media & Communications Manager

miriam.petersen@worldfuturecouncil.org | T: +49 40 307 09 14 19

 

Expert Contact:

Samia Kassid, Senior Project Manager – Rights of Children and Youth

samia.kassid@worldfuturecouncil.org

 

Alistair Whity, Senior Policy Officer – Rights of Children and Youth

alistair.whitby@worldfuturecouncil.org

About the World Future Council

The World Future Council (WFC) works 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 organisation under German law and finance our activities from donations.

Germany could burn more coal despite capacity reduction

Scaling Up Agroecology: The Outstanding Practices in Agroecology 2019

After months of intensive research, following an outreach to 2,000 agroecology experts from across the globe, the World Future Council is proud to officially give recognition 15 Outstanding Practices in Agroecology 2019. This is the climax of an intense multistep process including a nomination stage, evaluation stage and deliberation by a panel of global experts. But how does the process take shape? Here is a quick overview.

Keen followers will know that the World Future Council has already been directing much of its research efforts to agroecology. In 2018, the World Future Council organized its renowned Future Policy Award (FPA) on the topic of “Scaling up Agroecology”. After a lengthy and meticulous evaluation period, the winners of the award were announced at a ceremony at the FAO headquarters in Rome in October 2018 and the “100% organic state” Sikkim in India beat 51 nominated policies from 25 countries to take the Gold Award.

Following the same theme as the Future Policy Award, the recognition Outstanding Practices in Agroecology 2019 is a furthered effort to find and honour practices carried forward by diverse individuals and organisations, which enable and support transitions into agroecology. From a total of 77 nominated practices from 44 countries, received by a call to action to 2,000 agroecology experts, 23 made it through to the penultimate, most intensive stage of evaluation. Here, extensive research was carried out and interviews with practice representatives were led. As per the World Future Council’s methodology, the practices were compared with the 7 Future Justice Principles, plus the 10 Elements of Agroecology developed by the FAO.

MORE INFORMATION ON THE RECOGNITION

On the basis of the World Future Council’s evaluation report on the shortlisted practices, a global panel of experts decided which of the practices provide the best solutions in agroecology, in accordance with the evaluation framework. The Jury for the 2019 Outstanding Practices in Agroecology was made up of internationally renowned experts:

  1. Caterina BATELLO, former Team Leader – Agriculture Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO, in personal capacity)
  2. Million BELAY, Founder of the MELCA-Ethiopia NGO; Coordinator of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA); Member of the International Panel of Experts on the Sustainable of Food Systems (IPES-Food), Ethiopia
  3. Gábor FIGECZKY, Head of Global Policy, IFOAM – Organics International, Hungary
  4. Barbara GEMMILL-HERREN, Senior Associate to World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi, Kenya; Team member of the Committee on World Food Security HLPE project ‘Agroecological approaches and other innovations for sustainable agrifood systems that enhance food security and nutrition’
  5. Dr. Franz Theo GOTTWALD, Chairman of the Schweisfurth Foundation; Chairman of the Supervisory Board, World Future Council Foundation
  6. Shantanu MATHUR, Lead Adviser, Global Engagement and Multilateral Relations Division, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD, in personal capacity)
  7. Shamika MONE, Research Director, Organic Farming Association in India; Convenor of International Network of Organic Farmers Organizations (INOFO).

In total, 15 practices were granted recognition and celebrated at the event. With the recognition, the World Future Council seeks to raise global awareness for these exemplary practices and speed up action towards just, sustainable and peaceful societies.

18th January 2019 also marks the release of the Position paper (in German) ‘Agrarökologie stärken: Für eine grundlegende Transformation der Agrar- und Ernährungssysteme’ of which the World Future Council and 56 other German and international organisations are official signatories. This paper marks real movement and co-operation in the field of agroecology and its potential to present a real, sustainable alternative to the current global system. The paper features background information, a call of solidarity to action, the necessary steps to move forward and most importantly issues clear demands to the German government.

The recognition is organised by the World Future Council (WFC), in collaboration with the start-up Technology for Agroecology in the Global South (TAGS).

Event: Scaling-up Agroecology! For Forward-looking Decision-making in Policy and Practice

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.

Ghana on its way to its enhanced child protection system for survivors of child violence

For majority of children in Ghana, violence is an unfortunate part of their everyday life. According to official statistical reports, 9 out of 10 children are exposed to mental or physical violence, and physical punishment is a common phenomenon. More shocking are the figures for sexual violence: one out of five girls is sexually abused. There is an urgent need for action to protect children from violence! For girls and boys who experience and survive violence or abuse, a central, child-friendly centre providing the most essential services under one roof would be established from the first quarter of 2019, where trained personnel from the  Social Welfare, Domestic Violence Unit of the Police Service (DOVVSU) and Ghana Health Service are available to offer prompt, secured and confidential service to victims. Our team conducted a technical workshop with representatives of Ministries and other key stakeholders responsible for child protection in Ho, South-East Ghana together with experts from Zanzibar to discuss and develop a roadmap to establish a pilot in Accra. These are the main results at a glance.

Samia Kassid – opening remarks

In November 2017, the World Future Council Foundation invited political decision-makers from 12 African and Asian countries to Zanzibar to acquaint themselves with the country’s comprehensive Children’s Act and its implementation. Zanzibar won the Gold Award of the “Political Oscar” Future Policy Award in 2015.

The Ghanaian delegation, consisting of representatives from the Department of Children of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare and the Law Faculty of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration were inspired by the one-stop-center model that Zanzibar has currently implemented in 6 out of 11 districts.

 

 What is a one stop center?

One-Stop-Center (OSC) are central contact points for children and their families affected by (sexualised) violence. Here survivors can find psycho-social support, a police office to initiate criminal investigation as well as medical treatment including collection of forensic evidence under one roof. Ideally, legal help is part of the centre. The graphic illustrates the model:

As an important element of a strong national child protection system, the one-stop-centres provide survivors (girls and boys, women and men) with various initial services under one roof. As a result, the affected person does not have to go through the trauma of narrating the incident several times and also receives quick help. It helps parents stay focused on treating their child and persecuting the perpetrator. In cases without the OSC, survivors mostly have to visit different institutions – that costs money and time and often parents lose the momentum to persue the case. The later a case is reported, the harder it is to gather evidence of abuse on a child’s body.

Ideally, a one-stop center provides four services and is usually docted at a hospital:

  1. Psycho-social support – this is where the first interview takes place and the social worker decides which further steps are required. If there is an abuse / violence, the child will be escorted to the next room, where a police officer in civilian clothes and trained in child-friendly behaviour will fill in the form to follow up the case.
  2. Medical examination: in a third room, a medical doctor takes care of the child. Here the first medical and forensic examinations take place. If the child needs further special treatment, it will be treated immediately in the hospital.
  3. The employees of the one-stop-center are provided by the relevant ministries (Health, Interior, Family Affairs) and the Centre is (at best) coordinated by the Ministry of Health. All employees receive same training so they can better collaborate and follow same procedures and guidelines in writing the reports. This makes it easier for the police and the courts to track and prosecute cases.
  4. Support for counseling and legal aid is ideally offered in the fourth room.

 

Ghana on the way to pilot a one stop centre

A member of the Zanzibar team sharing her experience at the workshop

The Director of the Department of Children, speaking at Workshop

After intensive discussions with the Department of Children from April 2018, the World Future Council Foundation organised a technical workshop to fully introduce the state agencies in the establishment and management of a one-stop-center model in Ghana from the 25-27 November 2018. We invited experts from Zanzibar to Ghana: Deputy Chairwoman Halima Abdallah, who spearheaded the establishment of the One-Stop-Center in the Ministry of Family and Health, Dr. Marijani, who has been responsible for medical and forensic investigations since its implementation in 2011, and Farshuu Khalfa, head of a one-stop center in Stone Town. Their insights, expertise and practical experience were most welcome and helpful in drawing up the roadmap for Ghana.

Under the auspices of the Children’s Department, 30 key representatives and decision-makers took part in the workshop to discuss the need for the OSC and to develop the roadmap for a pilot program. The participants represented the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Social Welfare Department and the specialised Domestic Violence Unit of the Police service – DOVVSU.  Medical representative and international child rights organisations including ActionAid, World Vision, International Needs, UNFPA and UNICEF were also present.

The most important results of the workshop at a glance:

  • Development of a roadmap for the establishment of a pilot in Accra
  • National coordination agency of the One-Stop-Center pilot program will be the Ministry of Health with support of other ministries
  • An inter-ministerial conference is scheduled for the first quarter of 2019 to decide on the roadmap and timetable
  • A core group will identify a possible location for the pilot program in Accra

 

Working groups during the workshops.

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.