Mar 22

ICEA: Inclusive Partnerships for Sustainable Livelihoods

A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stress and shocks, maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets, when it contributes a net benefit to other livelihoods at the local and global level and, in the short and the long term, when it provides sustainable livelihood opportunities for the next generations

R. Chambers, 1991

According to ICEA, Organic Agriculture can contribute to meaningful socio-economic and ecological sustainable development of the livelihood, both in the developed countries than in developing ones.

Starting from its historical experience in the Italian organic movement, ICEA moved toward a daring and challenging sector that is international cooperation, offering its expertise in organizing sound and sustainable value chains for smallholders producing organic crops around the world.

ICEA has been working in order to promote a kind of organic and ethic certification tailored in the most appropriate form to the project stakeholders (e.g. Group Certification; Internal Control System, Participatory Guarantee Systems); and proposed a diverse range of certification schemes  (e.g. Fairtrade; Eco Tourism; Corporate Social Responsibility; Organic Aquaculture, Cosmetic and Textiles, etc.).

ICEA arose from Italian farmers experience, but is now operating worldwide in diverse contexts trying to apply always the same guiding principles about sustainable livelihoods: to be holistic; to be people-focused; to encourage broad partnerships; to promote micro-macro linkages.

An example of this fruitful approach is represented by the recent membership of the Ecuadorian FECD – Fondo Ecuatoriano de Cooperación para el Desarrollo – who has joined the ICEA consortium in 2011. FECD has a long lasting experience in Ecuador promoting and implementing sustainable development related activities, with a specific focus on the livelihoods of smallholder producers adopting organic agriculture. FECD works with an innovative approach for the implementation of its projects, putting emphasis on the “human side” of the entire process, from production to certification; actually FECD is using in all its activities the “focusing” approach, a methodology derived from psychotherapy and has adapted it for the management of non-profit organizations.

Following this methodology, ICEA and FECD are collaborating to develop joint cooperation initiatives, based on organic standards promotion, in Latin American Countries; furthermore they became technical partners of the new Ecuadorian certification body, named ICEA ECUADOR.

Taking into account this successful story with Ecuador, ICEA’s key message to RIO+20 would be to encourage the creation of broad and inclusive partnerships amongst different stakeholders, aiming at enhancing livelihoods and facing the problems connected to rural poverty eradication, sustainable agricultural development and food security.

Chiara Scaraggi and Michele Maccari
International Cooperation Projects
ICEA – Istituto per la Certificazione Etica ed Ambientale


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