SOLUTIONS FOR SCALING UP AGROECOLOGY

12th September 2019, 10:30 – 16:00h, Heliopolis University, Egypt

Transitioning to sustainable food and agriculture systems is critical to tackle malnutrition, social injustice, land degradation, water scarcity, climate change, loss of biodiversity, and agroecology plays a key role therein. In 2018, the World Future Council awarded, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and IFOAM – Organics International, exemplary policies that scale up agroecology, and recognized, in collaboration with the Startup Technology for Agroecology in the Global South (TAGS), effective practices that empower small-scale food producers. At this event we take a closer look at these World Champions that advance the much needed transformation of our food systems. Moreover we will discuss, together with renowned experts, especially solutions from Africa and the Global South that scale up agroecology.

Objectives

  • Present and discuss exemplary policies and practices for land, soils and livelihoods
  • Raise awareness on these outstanding solutions in Africa and the Arab world
  • Create synergies between policymakers of international organisations (FAO, IFAD, etc.) and national stakeholders (Ministries, Member of Parliament, development actors, civil society, academia and media).

Background

In 2018, the World Future Council awarded with its Future Policy Award exemplary policies that scale up agroecology, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and IFOAM – Organics International, with the support of the Sekem Group (Egypt), DO-IT – Dutch Organic International Trade and Green Cross International. The “100% organic state” Sikkim, in India, won this year’s “Oscar for best policies”, beating 51 nominated policies from 25 countries. Policies from Brazil, Denmark and Quito (Ecuador) took home Silver Awards. Honourable Mentions were given to programmes from Los Angeles (USA), Ndiob (Senegal) and to Kauswagan (Philippines), whilst the Future Policy Vision Award went to the path-breaking TEEBAgriFood Initiative. Furthermore, in early January 2019, the World Future Council recognized Outstanding Practices in Agroecology 2019, in collaboration with the Startup TAGS. In total, fifteen effective practices were highlighted that empower small-scale food producers and nurture sustainable food production systems. Among the recognized best practices are the Sekem Initiative (Egypt), Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (developed in Niger) and many more. Moreover, the event gathers renowned experts on agroecology and includes further award-winning practitioners, among them SAPPROS from Nepal and Biovision from Switzerland. All these solutions demonstrate that with appropriate will and an adequate approach the transition towards sustainable agriculture and food systems can be achieved, a transition that ensures healthy food for all, that overcomes social and economic inequalities and that protects our environment, climate and biodiversity. It is now the time to make them worldwide known and to get inspired.

AGENDA

I. WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION

10:30 – 11:00 Reception with drinks

11:00 – 11:15 Music offered by the Sekem Musicians & Welcome Address, Helmy Abouleish, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Heliopolis University

11:15 –11:20 Welcome Address, Prof. Dr. Franz-Theo Gottwald, Chair of the Supervisory Board of the World Future Council and CEO, Schweisfurth Foundation

11:20 – 11:25 Welcome Address, Uwe Gehlen, First Counsellor, Head of German Development Cooperation in Egypt

11:25 – 11:35 Address, Prof. Dr. Mohamed Soliman, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Egypt

11:35 – 11:50 Keynote Address, Dr. Jean-Marc Faurès, Regional Programme Leader, FAO Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa, Cairo, Egypt: Transforming Food and Agricultural Systems in Support of the SDGs: The Key Role of Agroecology

11:50 – 12:00 Open Discussions

II. THE FUTURE POLICY AWARD 2018 CHAMPIONS

12:05 – 13:30 Panel Discussion “World Champions Scaling up Agroecology”

Moderator: Helmy Abouleish, CEO of Sekem Group; and Chair of the Board of Trustees, Heliopolis University, Egypt

Alexandra Wandel, Executive Director, World Future Council: The Future Policy Award 2018: Scaling up Agroecology

Poppe Braam, Founder, DO-IT Dutch Organic International Trade, the Netherlands: Why scaling up agroecology is vital: DO-IT, its support for smallholder farmers and the Future Policy Award

Dr. Rama Mani, Councillor, World Future Council; and Founder of Theatre of Transformation Academy: The Future Policy Gold Award Winner 2018: The “100% organic state” Sikkim, India

Thais Corrall, Councillor, World Future Council; Co-founder, Women’s Environment and Development Organization; and Founder of Sinal do Vale: Future Policy Silver Award Winner 2018: Ecuador-Quito’s Participatory Urban Agriculture Programme

Prof. Herbert Girardet, Honorary Councillor, World Future Council; Consultant to UNEP and UN-Habitat; and Author: Honourable Mention of the Future Policy Award 2018: Senegal-Ndiob’s Vision to Become a Green and Resilient Municipality and Agriculture Development Programme

Prof. Dr. Atef Abd El-Aziz Hassan Ragab, Director of The Central Lab. of Organic Agriculture, Agricultural Research Center, Giza, Egypt: Organic Agriculture in Egypt

Interactive Dialogue
Concluding Remarks by the Moderator

13:30 – 13:40 The Transformative Power of Earth: Celebrating Agroecology – A special performance honouring the Future Policy Award for Agroecology and Sekem, jointly offered by the Sekem Musicians and Dr. Rama Mani, Councillor, World Future Council.

13:40 – 14:10 Lunch Break: Drinks & finger food

III. OUTSTANDING PRACTICES IN AGROECOLOGY 2019

14:10 – 15:40 Panel Discussion “The World’s Best Practices Scaling up Agroecology from Africa and beyond”

Moderator: Dr. Hans Rudolf Herren, Councillor, World Future Council; World Board Member, IFOAM – Organics International; President, Millennium Institute; and President and Founder, Biovision Foundation, Switzerland/US

Valerie von Koerber, Co-Founder, Startup Technology for Agroecology in the Global South (TAGS) – a Bosch corporate start up, Germany: The Outstanding Practices in Agroecology 2019

Helmy Abouleish, CEO of Sekem Group; and Chair of the Board of Trustees, Heliopolis University, Egypt: Sekem, Egypt – an Outstanding Practice in Agroecology 2019

Tony Rinaudo, Natural Resources Advisor, World Vision Australia, Australia: Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration, Niger/worldwide – an Outstanding Practice in Agroecology 2019

Dr. Auma Obama, Councillor, World Future Council; and Director of the Sauti Kuu Foundation, Kenya: Sauti Kuu Foundation: A Sustainable Agroeconomic Model in Practice

Shrikrishna Upadhyay, Initiator, Support Activities for Poor Producers of Nepal (SAPPROS)

Prof. Dr. Hassan Abou Bakr, Professor of Biological Control, Faculty of Organic Agriculture at Heliopolis University: 100% Organic Agriculture in Egypt

Interactive Dialogue
Concluding Remarks by the Moderator

15:40 Closing with drinks & dates

Regeneration International, Filipino League of Organic Municipalities Cities and Provinces Sign ‘Regeneration Philippines’ Pact

BISLIG, PHILIPPINES – If anyone knows first-hand what the global climate crisis is all about, it’s the people who live in the Philippines. In 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan, the second-strongest tropical cyclone to hit the Eastern Hemisphere, slammed the island nation with winds of 195 miles/hour, leaving 6,300 dead. 

It was a devastating event. But the nation of islands is fighting back.

Inspired by the country’s high level of local autonomy, 200 municipalities in the Philippines are taking the extraordinary step of signing an agreement among themselves, and with Regeneration International (RI), to create new policies that both recognize soil health as a powerful tool in addressing the climate crisis and reward farmers for drawing down greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering them in their soil.

When fully implemented in 2022, the agreement will cover 1.2 million hectares of land—almost 3 million acres. As a representative of RI, I’ve had the good fortune to be involved in this unprecedented endeavour almost from its beginning.

The plans for this project culminated June 14, at the 11th General Assembly of the Filipino League of Organic Municipalities Cities and Provinces (LOAMCP), where I gave a presentation on agricultural climate mitigation and signed a Memorandum of Understanding between LOAMCP and RI, dubbed the “Regeneration Philippines (RP)” Memorandum.

This story really began back in 2017, in my London office when I received a call from a business contact in the Philippines who was working with LOAMCP (at the time it was LOAMC). He said, “Oliver, I think I have something newsworthy for you.” Then he passed me on to a contact who asked whether I could help generate press on an event that was happening during the 2017 AGRILINK trade fair, one of Asia’s biggest agricultural trade fairs.

Assuming he was going to pitch me on the latest industrial chicken feeding unit, I said, “Okay, great, who do you represent and what’s the event?”

“My name is Patrick Belisario of the Organic Producer and Trade Association of the Philippines,” he said.  “We work with a group of 200 mayors who are going to sign an agreement to implement new laws in their constituencies that would ban the use of toxic agrichemicals and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).”

I paused a second and said, “Really? How would that work?”

He then explained that local governments in the Philippines could write their own laws without going through the central government (a bit like in the U.S., but very different from other Asian countries).

As it happened, it turned out to be both an interesting, and an exclusive, news tip.

Three months later I flew to the event to produce video coverage of the signing ceremony, which took place at the home of one of the most influential senators in the Philippines, Senator Cynthia Villar.

It was there that I met with the Hon. Rommel C. Arnado, mayor of the city of Kauswagan Lanao Del Norte on the Island of Mindanao and president of the League of Organic Municipalities and Cities (which has since expanded to Provinces). During an interview with Mayor Arnado I quickly learned that these policymakers were deadly serious. The use of toxic agrichemicals and GMOs is not allowed, he told me, and we have sanctions in place that could lead to imprisonment for those who break the laws.

Mayor Arnado’s community had suffered decades of heavily armed conflict, and through tough politics of care for his people, he put in place an award-winning conflict resolution and insertion program, “From Arms To Farms,” that brought Christian and Islamic rebel fighters to surrender  a part of their arsenal in exchange for education around organic food and farming, made available to all.

Mayor Arnado has since become a world leader for the organic movement, one who doesn’t mince his words and who puts radical action in place for the highest benefit of his citizens’ health and wealth.

Our coverage of the event was a success—we produced a three-minute video that reached more than 1 million people worldwide.

In 2019, I headed back to the Philippines to visit the Arms To Farms program and produce coverage for ‘Trails of Regeneration,’ an ongoing RI series produced in collaboration with Kiss the Ground.

During my trip I met up with LAOMCP Executive Director, agronomist and farmer Victoriano Tagupa, whom I had met in 2018 through the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)[LR2]  Asia at a summit of the Asian Local Governments for Organic Agriculture.

Victoriano—nicknamed Vic 1.0, as there are two other Vics in his family—is a true soil advocate. On his farm on the Filipino island of Mindanao, Tagupa combines biodynamics and natural agriculture within a fully integrated system using indigenous seeds, cover crops and holistic livestock management. In an interview, Tagupa said LOAMCP had a plan to convert 1.2 Million hectares of land to completely organic production by 2022. Tagupa discussed the significance this would have in mitigating and adapting to climate change, and about the possible needs and opportunities to implement new policies to train and reward farmers.

One month later Tagupa and I met again, but this time it was in Japan with Andre Leu, RI’s international director, for “Agriculture is the Solution to Climate Change,” an event organised by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the 4 per 1000 Initiative. Before the event, Tagupa, Leu and I worked together on a joint presentation promoting rice intensification systems.

At that event we quickly identified how LOAMCP could be instrumental in contributing to new policies on agricultural climate mitigation and could help inspire the international community through the 4 per 1000 Initiative.

Things progressed further when LOAMCP invited RI to give a presentation at the next LOAMCP General Assembly, and Tagupa and I suggested we sign an MoU that would contain all the elements we had been discussing. So, I got onto my laptop and drafted the “Regeneration Philippines” Memorandum, which was then sent to the RI board of directors, where it received swift approval.

I then flew to Bislig City for the LOAMCP General Assembly and met with LOAMCP’s officers before the day of the event to present to them the freshly minted “Regeneration Philippines” Memorandum. The memorandum content was adopted by the entire assembly. Many LOAMCP members were very supportive of LOAMCP moving beyond protecting the public from dangerous agrochemicals and into directly confronting the dangers of climate change. 

At the General Assembly I was able to point out the pressing issues we face with the climate crisis, its threat to human civilization and the need to act fast. I then showcased how by using regenerative agriculture to switch back on the soil microbiome, we can turn conventional farms into carbon sinks. I also spoke of the great hope that farmers represent in mitigating climate change through soil health. I also presented the 4 per 1000 Initiative—its purpose, its background and RI’s involvement—followed by the 4p1000 video “Farmers for Climate,” and an account of our[LR1]  recent LOAMCP RI trip to Japan with 4p1000.

I discussed the great potential LOAMCP could have in helping shape new policies on agricultural climate mitigation by using the 4p1000 framework, and then the LOAMCP officers and I presented the MoU. I it read aloud and asked the audience whether anyone had any objections, comments or suggestions. Hearing no objections from the audience, we launched the signing ceremony with LOAMCP President, Mayor Rommel Arnado.

LOAMCP has become a powerful organization in the Philippines, and this year it has expanded from the island nation’s cities and municipalities to its provinces. LOAMCP is an important organization that brings lawmakers together to protect human health and the environment from corporate greed in the agricultural sector.

There is an organic agriculture law in the Philippines that requires 5 percent of all the country’s farmland to be organic, and many in LOAMCP are fighting to push that figure to 100 percent. In a very encouraging move, the Department of the Interior for Local Governments (DILG) has officially asked every municipality in the Philippines become a LOAMCP member.

This development is particularly interesting, as it came just a few weeks after the Filipino government announced $614 million USD in subsidies for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides originating from Qatar—and Mayor Librado Navarro of Bislig City opened his address to the LOAMP 11th General Assembly by stating that under his mandate, Bislig will never accept these subsidies. Navarro’s comments were welcomed with an uproar of cheers and applause from the General Assembly.

In more good news, RI and LOAMCP are now collaborating to create “Regeneration Philippines,” a branch within LOAMCP designed to help steer LOAMCP’s efforts toward concepts of, and implementation of, regenerative agricultural development. LOAMCP’s next general meeting will be in November 2019 in Cebu, Philippines. RI plans at that meeting to officially launch Regeneration Philippines and set up a Regeneration Philippines office alongside those of LOAMCP and IFOAM Asia.

With the climate crisis bearing down on the Philippines, the country is taking bold steps to confront the crisis. The future looks good for these efforts to forge a national consensus around regenerative agriculture as a key factor in climate mitigation.

08302019-1549. Societal Convergence in Climate Action and Sustainable Agriculture Development.

08302019-1549. Societal Convergence in Climate Action and Sustainable Agriculture Development.

The Greenpeace Southeast Asia, IFOAM Asia and LOAMCP-PH (League of Organic Agriculture Municipalities, Cities and Provinces of the Philippines) are in chorus to initially consolidate the on the ground impacts initiatives in SDGs 13 (Climate Action), 1 (No Poverty), 2(Zero Hunger) and 3 (Good Health and Well-being) of the 17 interdependent SDGs 2030 of the United Nations.

The initial meeting was successfully conducted to call for the National Civil Society Organizations ( CSOs) Summit in Climate Action and Sustainable Agriculture on November 27, 2019 prior to the LOAMCP-PH General Assembly on November 28, 2019, at the PICC.

PH CSOs with impacts initiatives in family farms and/or communities are encouraged to CONNECT to this national event to functionally CONNECT to the on the GROUND BEST IMPACTS INITIATIVES and ADAPTIVE REPLICATIONS of RA 10068, RA 9003, RA 8749, RA 9275 RA 8435 and RA 7160 among others and the UN SDGs 2030.