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Delegates at Rio+20 Have Reached an Agreement

Negotiators and delegates at Rio+20 have reached an agreement and released the final document which is to be approved by world leaders starting 20th June 2012. The document calls for “urgent action with regards to sustainable production and consumption.” Nonetheless, no, specific details or time frame has been given for the implementation of this agreement.

With regards to agriculture, the document has recognized the role of traditional sustainable agriculture practices including traditional seed systems for local communities as well as the role of women in the advancement of sustainable agriculture. In this regard, if the agreement is successfully implemented, the world will have made a giant step towards ecological and social intensification on agriculture.

The delegates have also recommended that action be taken, to improve agricultural research, extension, training and education with an aim to improve productivity and sustainability.  Let’s hope that the momentum of the draft of the paper will still be present in some weeks! and that it will reach politicians especially in Europe and the US who have not even signed the IAASTD (International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development).Want to learn more about the agreement? Go to http://www.uncsd2012.org/content/documents/727The%20Future%20We%20Want%2019%20June%201230pm.pdf

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June 20, 2012 at 11:00 pm Leave a comment

How Can we Feed the 9 Billion?

Vandana Shiva at the Event

As you may have heard the world’s population is expected to increase to 9 billion by 2050.  This hás brought about a lot of debate regarding how the world can achieve food security for all its 9 billion citizens by 2050.  On Monday, June 18th 2012, IFOAM held a learning event at the Agriculture and Rural Development Day in Rio de Janeiro Brazil. The event focused mainly on achieving affordable, accessible, inclusive and resilient food and farming systems through Ecological and social intensification.

Among the panelists were Vandana Shiva (NAVDANYA India), Sue Edwards (Institute for Sustainable Development, Ethiopia), Andre Leu, President of IFOAM, Hans Herren of Biovision and Laercio Meirelles (Ecovida Association, Brazil).

In this event, ecological and social intensification of agriculture was presented as the solution to food insecurity now and in the future. Normally, when we think of agricultural intensification, we think of increasing chemical and technological inputs. However we should be looking at ecological intensification or rather biodiversity intensification: This basically refers to the diversification of farm systems with regards to crop varieties, animals, trees etc. Food security cannot be achieved through monoculture and thus farmers must diversify their farms. “Chemical and technological intensification of agriculture will never be sustainable,” says Vandana Shiva.

Currently, companies such as Monsanto are taking the native seed varieties from the farmers, engineering them genetically to achieve uniformity and selling them back to the farmers. This linear flow of agricultural biodiversity must be stopped if we are going to achieve food security. Moreover, diverse farms provide better nutrition than monocultural farms.

In addition to ecological intensification, we need social intensification in agriculture. Women have always been the custodians of seeds and especially herbs and spices in agriculture. In addition it is mainly women who control breeding programmes for livestock. Therefore, in order to conserve agricultural biodiversity, we must acknowledge and promote the role of women in agriculture.

Do your part in nourishing the 9 billion by signing Nourish9Billion’s petition and demanding that the European Union commit to sustainable agriculture.  Leave your comment below or comment on twitter using the hashtag #YORio20.

June 20, 2012 at 12:55 am Leave a comment

Is Organic Farming the Future of Agriculture?

Do you think that organic farming is the future of agriculture? Watch the short video below to find out what Rose Akaki, a Ugandan farmer who we met at Rio+20, thinks about organic agriculture. Don’t forget to leave your comments below.

 

June 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm Leave a comment

What do the Youth Want from Rio+20?

With the United Nations Conference for Sustainable Development just around the corner, different groups are doing their best to make sure their agendas for Rio+20 are heard. While there are some interesting agendas out there, I wish to focus on the youth agenda for Rio+20. In the past, youth were often mistaken for being lazy and uninterested in what is going on around them. However, the reality was that the youth lacked the opportunity to participate since many people did not believe in them.

That was of course until the preparations for the Rio+20 conferences began and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon specifically asked the youth to bring “dynamic new ideas, fresh thinking and energy to the Rio+20 process.” In addition, Mr. Ban on 17th May 2012 asked the youth to “make some noise” so as to speed up negotiations ahead of the conference as he was disappointed that the negotiations were not moving fast enough. Click here to read Ban Ki Moon’s speech in full. A United Nations Major Group of Children and Youth was formed so as to act the official voice of young people in sustainability negotiations.

Taking up Mr. Ban Ki Moon’s invitation to participate in the Rio+20 process, the youth, through the Major Group for Children and Youth have spoken up about what they are hoping to gain from Rio+20. The youth want:

  • Sustainable food systems which produce adequate and healthy food for everyone.
  • Elimination of harmful subsidies in agriculture, energy and fisheries
  • A reduction in unemployment. Governments need to create green jobs which will help to reduce youth unemployment
  • Support for education for sustainable development. This includes integrating Education for Sustainable Development into formal learning and supporting non-formal methods of Education for Sustainable Development.
  • Involved of all relevant stakeholders in environmental conservation
  • Promotion of sustainable use of water resources
  • Promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency
  • Sustainably planned cities
  • Improved national healthcare systems
  • Sustainable tourism which encourages community participation.

Make you voice heard today at Rio+20 by voting for the future you want at http://vote.riodialogues.org/. Also, check out what Ban Ki Moon has said about the future he wants.

Book mark this blog because in the next days, we shall be giving you real time information on what is happening at the Rio+20 conference.

June 14, 2012 at 8:59 pm Leave a comment