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

HLPF side-event: Achieving Agenda 2030 through 100% Renewable Energy – Examples from Tanzania and Bangladesh

The World Future Council and Bread for the World are hereby cordially inviting you to their side-event on the margins of the High-level Political Forum 2018 in New York, on 17 July, at 3.30 pm in the Church Center of the UN.

3.30 – 5.00 pm; 17 July 2018
Church Center of the United Nations
777 United Nations Plaza, NY 10017, USA

The event describes the vital relationship between renewable energy (RE) and sustainable development. In particular, it demonstrates how supporting the transition to 100% RE is a driver for sustainable development that  leaves no one behind. Hereby, it unveils how transitioning to 100% RE contributes to the achievement of the Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The event convenes civil society organizations, policy makers, development agencies and community leaders involved in sustainable development especially in countries in the Global South. Learnings from Tanzania and Bangladesh will be presented to catalyze replication in other countries.

Achieving a transformation of the energy sector to stipulate pathways and scenarios for SDG7 is a necessary pre-condition for the achievement of the Agenda 2030 in full and the highly urgent implementation of other international commitments such as the Paris Agreement. Therefore, this event seeks to highlight the interlinkages between SDG 7 and the other 16 SDGs and how a strategic transformation towards 100%RE contributes to achieving all of them. How do these interlinkages manifest itself in different national contexts and how can we replicate learnings and findings? What is the role of the national government and how can 100%RE benefit domestic socio-economic development? What lessons can be learned from the German “Energiewende”?

Draft Agenda

Facilitator: Rob van Riet, World Future Council

TimeItemSpeaker
3.30 – 3.40IntroductionJohannes Grün, Bread for the World
3.40 – 4.00100%RE and the national dimension of Agenda 2030Sixbert Mwanga, Director, CAN Tanzania; Jahangir Masum, Executive Director, Coastal Development Partnership
4.00 – 4.35Roundtable DiscussionJoyce Msangi, Energy Officer, Government of Tanzania; Dr. Bettina Hoffmann, Member of German Parliament, MdB; Jahangir Masum, Executive Director, CDP; Sixbert Mwanga, Director CAN Tanzania
4.35 – 4.55Q&A
4.55 – 5.00Concluding RemarksRob van Riet, World Future Council

 

Join the conversation!

Are you attending the event? Join the conversation, and tweet using the Hashtags #HLPF2018 #go100RE #SDG7

Follow us on Twitter @Good_Policies 

Need pictures to make your tweets more catchy? You can use the memes below.

 

Contact

Anna Skowron

Project Manager Climate & Energy

anna.skowron@worldfuturecouncil.org

 

 

 

From Degraded Drylands to Green Landscapes

A Homage to the Future Policy Award 2017 at the UN in Geneva

On October 31st, 2017, the United Nations in Geneva paid tribute to the Future Policy Award 2017. The UN Library in Geneva partnered with the World Future Council, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the Permanent Mission of Ethiopia to the United Nations, the University of Oxford’s Enacting Global Transformation Initiative, the Theatre of Transformation Academy and Green Cross International to host an event entitled From Degraded Drylands to Green Landscapes featuring a unique format of theatre, testimonies and a high-level roundtable dialogue.

Read more

WFC Charity Concert in Berlin

On 4 September 2017, a charity concert will take place in the Kammermusiksaal of the Berliner Philharmonie in order to support the World Future Council.

Before the concert, a round table discussion will take place at 6 pm in the lounge of the Kammermusiksaal, with Jakob von Uexkull, founder of the World Future Council, and Dr. Peter Hauber, IPPNW Concerts, moderated by Gerhard Forck, Head of the Philharmonie’s Communications Department.

The concert will begin at 7 pm, with a welcome speech by Jakob von Uexkull.

After the concert, the audience is invited to join a reception in the lounge of the Kammermusiksaal.

The charity concert is a joint event by IPPNW-Concerts, Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin and Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation

“Amore Perduto – Music of the Early Italian Baroque”

Charity Concert for the World Future Council

4 September 2017, 7 pm. Doors open at 6 pm.

Location: Kammermusiksaal, Berliner Philharmonie, Herbert-von-Kajan-Straße 1, Berlin

Ticket are available here

 

The Concert

Amore Perduto – Music of the Early Italian Baroque

MARCO UCCELLINI [ca. 1610-1680]
Sinfonia seconda for five instruments in C major [1660]

LUIGI ROSSI [ca. 1598-1653]
Lasciate Averno
from the opera L’Orfeo [1647]

SALOMONE ROSSI [1570-1630]
The Songs of Salomon (selection) [1623]

ANTONIO SARTORIO [ca. 1630-1680]
Excerpts from L’Orfeo [1672]

ALESSANDRO STRADELLA [1639-1682]
Sinfonia for violin, cello and basso continuo in D minorl

ALESSANDRO STRADELLA
“Affligetemi pure, amare memorie”
Cantata for soprano and basso continuo

JOHANN ROSENMÜLLER [1617-1684]
Sonata nona for five instruments in D major [1682]

MARCO UCCELLINI
Sinfonia quarta for five instruments in C major [1660]

FRANCESCO CAVALLI [1602-1676]
Dunque, Giove immortale – Verginella io morir vo‘
Recitative and aria of Calisto from the opera La Calisto [1651]

MARCO UCCELLINI
Sinfonia sesta for five instruments in D major [1660]

FRANCESCO CAVALLI
Sien mortali o divini – Non è maggior piacere
Recitative and aria of Calisto from the opera La Calisto [1651]

 

SUNHAE IM soprano
AKADEMIE FÜR ALTE MUSIK BERLIN
BERNHARD FORCK conductor

 

Claudio Monteverdi’s contemporaries, pupils and successors in spirit assemble here to perform virtuoso works with and without vocal accompaniment. Salomone Rossi, named “Hebreo” due to his Jewish origins, was one of Monteverdi’s colleagues in Mantua. His instrumental works, as well as his many-part compositions for a reformed synagogue service, which he published under the title “Songs of Solomon”, were pioneering pieces of music. Luigi Rosso and Antonio Sartorio, who were one to two generations later than Monteverdi, are just two examples of the stimulating history of reception of Monteverdi’s “Orfeo” on later composers. Francesco Cavalli was summoned by Monteverdi to his court chapel at San Marco in Venice; first as a boy soprano, then as a tenor, he soon became the most famous opera composer of his generation after Monteverdi. Marco Uccellini’s musical-theatrical works have not survived; but his instrumental works, which are virtuoso in their demands, have an original use of form, survived. Alessandro Stradella extravagances in art, both vocal and instrumental, corresponded to escapism from life.

 

Media Contact

Miriam Petersen
Media & Communications Manager
Phone: +49 40 307 09 14 19

miriam.petersen@worldfuturecouncil.org

 

The Transformative Power of Justice: can justice prevail over power?

To mark Human Rights Day, the World Future Council and the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights are co-organizing a special event on December 8th, focusing on the “Transformative Power of Justice”.

8th December 2016 / 12:30 - 14:15

Library Events Room (B-135) Palais des Nations, Building B, Door 20, 1st floor

Through a combination of diplomatic and political expertise as well as a dynamic performance, multi-media presentation, and an interactive dialogue, the event will address some thorny questions: can justice prevail over power? Can humanity survive brutality? Can right overcome might? And, most importantly, can the human rights agenda be strengthened and not circumvented during turbulent transitions?

Eminent guest speakers confirmed their presence for the high-level round table that will be moderated by World Future Councillor Dr. Rama Mani and that will provide diverse perspectives on human rights challenges and transformative justice applications in times of volatile transition:

  • H.E. Ambassador Suraya Dalil, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan
  • H.E. Ambassador Beatriz Londoño, Permanent Representative of Colombia
  • H.E. Ambassador Andreas Ignatiou, Permanent Representative of Cyprus
  • Mr. Adam Abdelmoula, Director of Human Rights Council and Treaty Bodies Mechanisms Division, OHCHR

Moreover, a lively theatrical performance by Dr. Rama Mani, who is also Director of the Geneva Academy’s MA course on Transformative Justice, will vividly portray real cases of transformative justice, accompanied by renowned musician Mr. Paul Grant and by MA course participants hailing from transitional societies and diverse countries.

Held at the United Nations Office in Geneva from 12:30 to 2:15pm, the event and reception are kindly co-hosted by the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan and Permanent Mission of Cyprus to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

Invitees not in possession of a UN badge should register on the UNOG website at www.unog.ch/librarytalks, bring a valid ID and a copy of this invitation on the day of the event to the Pregny Gate, located at 8-14 Avenue de la Paix, 1211 Geneva 10.