Tag Archive: policy

May 04

Nature & Progrès: Food Sovereignty First!

The issues of food and hunger around the world question the current systems of production, processing and marketing of agricultural products. Peasants represent 70% of the hungry.

Yet, the right to food appears in the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food”. Also, in 2007, at the Forum for Food Sovereignty in Mali, the declaration of Nyéléni underlined that all people have the right to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food, produced sustainably and ecologically.

Food sovereignty is the right for countries and peoples to define their own agricultural and food policies, and must be the engine of peasant and citizens mobilization.

Food sovereignty breaks with the current organization of international agricultural markets and is the answer for more equitable, sustainable and respectful food systems.

Food sovereignty rejects the idea that food products should be products like any other, only managed by the agro-food industry and subject to the strategies of multinationals and to the adverse effects of international trade.

Food sovereignty implies that farmers should get a fair income for their production.

Food sovereignty adds value to an agriculture respectful of life, food habits and traditions, hence creating social bonds between men and women living close geographically and socialy.

Food sovereignty opposes the standardization of agricultural and food production.

Food sovereignty tends to develop agricultural systems focused on national and regional needs, hence reducing dependence to international markets.

Food sovereignty opposes the privatization of natural resources, even allowed by law.

Food sovereignty connects producers and consumers, rural and urban communities, for them to exchange and to master their food production.

Nature & Progrès and its partners calls out to citizens and policy makers to promote healthy food for all, in their campaigns “Alimentons” (“Alimentons l’Europe” in 2009, “Alimentons les regions” in 2010, and “Alimentions” in 2012)

By developing Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) in organic production, Nature & Progrès takes action to support knowledge exchange and develop new and transparent relations between organic stakeholders in France, e.g. peasants, craftsmen and citizens.

Message to Rio+20

Nature & Progrès alerts NGOs and policy makers on the transformation of elements of biodiversity into commercial goods or services. Any patent, or any financial value given to elements of biodiversity is the beginning of their destruction. A collective asset taken outside of its social system, or an ecosystem service outside of its ecosystem, no longer fulfill their social or ecological function: they become mere speculative products on the financial markets.

The market is unable to ensure the equitable distribution of land, water, seeds and other elements of biodiversity essential to life. Their conservation first and foremost depends on the respect of local communities’ rights to use and manage their resources sustainably.

Nature & Progrès

Mar 19

IFOAM EU Group goes RIO+20

Happy birthday, IFOAM! IFOAM EU is proud of its mother for its 40 years of uniting, assisting and leading the organic movement! One just has to be present in one of IFOAM’s events to experience how many people from all over the world IFOAM brings together – in their common objective towards the worldwide adoption of ecologically, socially and economically sound systems that are based on the principles of Organic Agriculture. There is a lot of energy, ideas, commitment, enthusiasm and positive thinking to be found in such gatherings! Thank you IFOAM for making the organic movement strong by uniting it!

IFOAM EU is proud to be supporting IFOAM in Europe. For almost nine years now IFOAM EU has had its own office in Brussels, Europe’s policy-making capital. From here we represent the European members of IFOAM. Again, it is about the connectivity with people if you want your work to make a difference. IFOAM EU can draw on an extensive network covering the European Commission, Parliament, Council and civil society organizations. We are recognized as the leading advocacy group for organic food and farming on the EU political scene and we are also represented on a number of European Commission committees, including DG Agriculture and DG Health and Consumers advisory groups.

Even though our focus lies on Europe, the working fields of IFOAM EU do of course reach out into the rest of the world. This can be illustrated by one of the working fields of IFOAM EU: the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and rural development are crucial to shaping farming, food production and the rural economy. The current cycle of the CAP is due to end in 2013 and discussions are now under way to reform the policy for the period 2014 to 2020. The IFOAM EU Group firmly believes that the current CAP needs a fundamental reform to proactively respond to the current environmental challenges we face, ensure the future supply of high-quality food through sustainable resource use and play a decisive role in realizing equitable socioeconomic development across rural communities.  IFOAM EU draws on its networks within the EU institutions to influence some of the hot issues on the political agenda and it can be considered as a landmark that the 2011 legislative proposals of the European Commission for the reform of the CAP included organic food and farming.

Our world appears so small at times: with this blog IFOAM connects people and organizations from all over the world.  IFOAM EU uses this opportunity to extend its greetings from Brussels to all its organic friends and alliances – be they in Bonn, Rio or anywhere else in the world. We hope that the participants in Rio+20 will also draw on their networks to push for sustainable development.

Lena Wietheger

Mar 12

HIVOS: A Greener and more Inclusive Agricultural Sector at RIO+20!

Starting this week Dutch Prime Minister Rutte and the governing parties are engaged in a new round of discussions on how to reduce the budget deficit to an acceptable level. The economic crisis is hitting the Netherlands hard and the politicians aim to cut back on a wide range of programs and services, including development aid. Unfortunately there is no sign of interest to not only reduce expenditures but to also look at possible solutions that take sustainability as a starting point. Why not use the crisis to change Dutch policies and ensure that we respect the planetary boundaries and include people’s well being all over the world?

Can Rio+20 play a role in motivating politicians like those in the Netherlands to look beyond their own backyard and open the door for necessary transformations in for instance the agricultural sector? The green revolution has been for years the mantra of agricultural ministers and presented as the solution. We are now witnessing the unintended results. More farmers than ever before are faced with serious debts leading to an alarming number of suicides. And how do we explain an increase in hunger around the world and especially in rural areas where food is produced? We must have taken a wrong road somewhere.

Hivos Working Team of the Green Entrepreneurship Program

Over the last 20 years Hivos worked with farmers and their organizations around the world to come up with solutions for a real green agricultural sector that enables farmers to have a decent life. Their insights and experiences show that practices that take biodiversity serious offer not only a lot to the men and women farmers themselves but also to the world at large. Data show that such practices  like  low external input, organic farming or agroforestry are able to produce enough to feed the world also in times of climate change and growing population. There are many advantages that Hivos witnessed in the fields but only writing about them will hardly impress someone.

These positive experiences have developed on their own, without a lot of support from the government. What if governments would change their policies, become really green and help these islands of success to become oceans of change? I am not very hopeful about the Dutch politicians. There is little acknowledgment of the positive impacts of resilient agricultural practices on people and environment. There is for instance no sign they will cut back on subsidies for fuel based fertilizers or chemicals.  But luckily there are a number of Southern governments making moves that will impresse the world, including the Dutch. So, If the Dutch Prime Minister Rutte– probably empty handed – decides to travel to Rio this might inspire him to include a longer term perspective when cutting in his budget. The farmers around the world that have developed such successful resilient agricultural practices deserve it.

Willy Douma
Programme Officer Green entrepreneurship Hivos
www.hivos.nl or www.hivos.net (for documents on smallholder farmers in a globalizing market, on biodiversity, poverty and livelihoods or on foodsecurity)


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