Making change happen globally – how can organic/agroecological approaches deliver?

Chair: Nic Lampkin (ORC)

Sustainable food production and consumption is now well-established on the global and political agenda. But what does this mean in practice? The Palestinian example demonstrates how even in very challenging political and economic circumstances agroecological practices and organic markets have a role to play. At the UN level, new initiatives have the potential to move the sustainability debate forwards.

Session summary

Dr Samer Jarrar (Canaan Center for Organic Research & Extension) and Charles Arden-Clarke (UNEP) presented to the conference two very different perspectives on how organic/agroecological approaches can make change happen. Jarrar outlined what CORE-Palestine is, how and why it was founded and what it does. He demonstrated how the Palestinians need to find organic/agroecological approaches and answers to their problems of production and marketing as the occupation means that high input solutions are not available (or desirable). He illustrated the work of CORE and the benefits of agroecological approaches with their successful participatory work on the management of Almond Wasp an economically devastating wasp of almonds in Palestine.

Charles Arden-ClarkeArden-Clarke outlined the UNEP 10YFP programmes and in particular the Sustainable Food Systems Programme (SFSP) and where it had got to in the 3 years that it has been running. The main focus of his talk was how solidarity and sharing of information and knowledge across global systems is essential to deliver a globally truly sustainable food system for the world. The UNEP SFSP aims to encourage and enable this. To do this smart use of resources is essential and many web platforms are being developed including the important SCP Clearing House. Not the only site but the comprehensive first stop. More signposting. Their work needs to work through the value chain from sustainable production to sustainable consumption as sustainability cannot just focus on the supply side but needs a market pull also. What the programme is doing is to make linkages to sustainable lifestyles programme and others. However, at the moment they are not doing as much as should do on sustainable consumption and where there is a need for new partners and more work to be done.

Key conclusions

Kate Collyns asks a question in the closing plenary

The discussion that followed the presentations brought out the following points:

  • Finding common ground is still an unanswered question but there is a need to reduce tribalism and work more together.
  • Agroecological approaches can deliver through the value chain if we work together

Individual speaker presentations and abstracts

Dr Samer Jarrar (CORE): Canaan model for a sustainable crop value chain approach in Palestine (3.32mb pdf file)

The Canaan Model- consists of the Palestine Fair Trade Association (PFTA), Canaan Center for Organic Research and Extension (CORE), and Canaan Fair Trade (CFT) working together in complete synergy and integration for developing entire crop value chains. The PFTA, which is the largest fair trade producers’ union in Palestine, consolidates farmers and their production, and facilitates marketing them through fair trade channels. CFT processes, develops and markets farmers’ products. CFT contributes to social empowerment and community development programs initiated by the PFTA. The PFTA-CFT model has been named “world model for rural transformation” by the ILO. CORE is a new institution aiming to improve the livelihood of small-scale farmers and their communities through promoting sustainable ecological and organic farming. CORE aims also to scale up the Canaan model and expand its positive impact, through using research and innovation, training and extension, and sharing knowledge and cooperation with local and international partners. The participatory approach that CORE adopted in addressing the almond seed wasp problem, the most serious challenge for almond farmers in the last few years, and the tangible positive results, all that enabled CORE to build real trust and start active and sound collaboration with farmers.

Charles Arden-Clarke (UNEP): The UN Ten Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (553kb pdf file)

The presentation will introduce the sustainable food systems programme of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP), adopted by governments at Rio+20. This programme, to be led by the governments of South Africa and Switzerland and two international NGOs (HIVOS and an environment NGO), aims to ensure that “All food systems are sustainable, delivering food security and nutrition for present and future generations”. Among the programme work activities are those of: 1) building capacity and enabling conditions for sustainable food systems; and 2) increasing access to knowledge, information and tools to mainstream sustainable consumption and production (SCP) in food systems. Sustainable agriculture is the foundation of any sustainable food system, and there are a number of “integrated approaches” and practices which can be classified as sustainable, including organic, climate smart and conservation agriculture. To secure the volume of sustainable food products for a wide scale shift to sustainable food systems (SFS), researchers, practitioners and advocates of these different systems need to work together. The 10YFP SFS programme, which already includes more than 100 actors, will be reaching out to the sustainable agriculture community to secure your broad and intensive engagement in this global programme.

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