Tag Archive: civil society

Aug 24

Wolf + DiMatteo Associates: What are the lessons from Rio+20 and who will provide the leadership forward?

The lack of resounding endorsement from Rio+20 for sustainable agriculture and food systems will not stop us from moving forward individually and collectively, as we have been doing for 40 years, to put the principles of organic agriculture into practice and model the future we want.

 

 

 

What are the lessons from Rio+20 and who will provide the leadership forward?

As an outside but interested observer of the Rio +20 Summit – one who followed the blogs and news reports, and read the proposed language from NGOs, business, and governments, I was profoundly impressed with the level of preparation for and participation in Rio+20 and its side events.  The disappointment expressed about the final declaration was, in my opinion, amplified because of the high expectations going into the Summit.  From one viewpoint, Rio+20 was a success because of the fact that so many diverse opinions and perspectives came together with the hope of mapping out a way forward to a sustainable future.  Realistically there could not have been a truly revolutionary outcome because governments, and international bodies of governments, are rarely leaders of change.  Inspirational leadership, creative solutions, and risk-taking actions remain the role of non-government, public interest, or civil society organizations.  Rio+20 provided many of these organizations the opportunity to debate, negotiate and work on common ground, and to deliver unified messages.  The strength and presence of the NGOs, and even business groups, was well-reported during and after the Summit – another positive outcome!

But what happens now?  Will the NGOs, that were at Rio+20 and found like-minded partners, continue to work together to achieve the future that they had envisioned?  Will their collaborations begun at Rio+20 be short-term or long-term?  What lessons were learned about reframing discrete organizational interest areas to contribute to a larger sustainable vision?  How will these leaders leverage the relationships built at the Summit?  There haven’t been many answers to these questions since June, perhaps because organizational resources, personal and financial, are tapped out or time is needed for thoughtful reflection on best next steps. The Bonn Sustainability Days: Addressing Our Future Today, November 22-28th, organized by IFOAM may provide answers, but hopefully more – actions that we can take within our organizations and businesses as part of the global movement to shape an equitable, resilient, diverse, and sustainable world.

Katherine DiMatteo
Wolf, DiMatteo + Associates
www.organicspecialists.com

Jun 27

El Rincón Orgánico: Civil society organizations have to lead

23 years ago, El Rincón Orgánico started with the principle that one should first feed your own home and then the world. The organic sector in Argentina has been mainly dedicated to exports of food to the main consumer markets, that is why María Calzada and Pipo Lernoud founded the distribution scheme and the shop. At the beginning the idea was to get organic products for their family and friends. By that time they were producing squashes and cereals for the global market and some veggies for their own consumption. But as conventional agriculture started to be seen as increasingly toxic, the demand for better products grew. María started to contact all the local organic producers and coordinate a supply of their products. And the local market started to appear. After two decades of knocking door to door offering organic, fresh and local produce, we have an increasing organic local market with groceries, restaurants, markets, specialized stores.

All these experiences teach us that biggest changes comes from the grassroots, when people get together under one same aim. We understood we couldn’t wait for the institutions to make the first step, civil society needs to lead the change. This is a crucial point for international conferences, such as Rio+20, where the most important actions and results are the ones that come from the people. Today climate change, world hunger, deficient health and education systems are facts that everybody can acknowledge, and we shouldn’t wait any longer for others to take action. Civil society organizations have to lead.

That is why we are pleased to be part of the big family that is the organic movement and to cooperate with IFOAM in working for the world we all want. Much was achieved in these 40 years, and that shows the importance of collective effort, as one IFOAM annual report stated: “One World, Many Hands”.

As members of this big family, we believe that part of our daily work is to promote this philosophy. That’s the reason why El Rincón Orgánico continues organizing public events and free seminars, and trying to get involved in places we have never been, like rock concerts and film festivals, to bring organic lifestyle to the whole world. We encourage all IFOAM members to take action and help IFOAM to take organic to the next level.

Julia Lernoud
Manager
El Rincón Orgánico
www.elrinconorganico.com