IFOAM World Organic Congress

IFOAM World Organic Congress

On the occasion of the 21st Session of the Committe on AgricultureA Side Event on Organic Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment  

 FAO, Rome, 22 April 2009
from 12:00 to 14h:00 hours
Iran Room, FAO Headquarter, Rome

The event is financed by the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and organized by the Danish International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems (ICROFS) in collaboration with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) and FAO.  

Denmark has been named “Organic Country of the Year 2009” and will be hosting COP15 in Copenhagen in December 2009. The side event is organized in recognition of the important value Organic Agriculture may play in answering to the social and environmental challenges that our food systems are facing and the need to cope with growing food demands in times of climate change. The interdependencies and relationship between agriculture, environment and climate change will have to be taken into consideration for the choices we make to secure a sustainable production of food and fibre.  

Organic agriculture and agro-ecological methods improves and depends on biodiversity, soil fertility and other ecological support functions. Research results indicates that agro-ecological methods, as used in Organic Agriculture, potentially have positive effects related to climate adaptation as well as climate mitigation which can be of high value for future sustainable development in particular smallholder farmers possibilities to improve their agricultural production while adapting to climate change.  

Organic agriculture is knowledge intensive and should be adapted to local conditions and the farmers’ situation. Thus, there is need for further development in line with the principles of organic agriculture and there is a need for improved knowledge transfer systems which acknowledges traditional as well as scientific knowledge. We, the organizers, would, therefore, appreciate this opportunity to discuss with representatives from FAO member countries the possible contributions of organic agriculture to answer to the challenges for the agricultural sector in different countries.  

The side event will present a range of important issues from a general perspective by representatives from FAO, IFOAM and ICROFS as well as from an African and Asian perspective by representatives from Ethiopia and Thailand. Further details are provided in the programme.


On the occasion of the 16th IFOAM World Organic Congress
FAO Workshop on Organic Agriculture and Climate Change, Modena, 18 June 2008

Climate change and the quest for sustainable energy are challenging agroecosystems’ productivity and food supply systems. The environmental claim of organic agriculture puts it at the forefront of concrete alternative pathways in this “Carbon adaptation era”. However, there is need to better understand the contribution of organic agriculture to climate change mitigation and adaptation and identify relevant Carbon-related assesment methods and standards.

This Workshop harnesses knowledge and experience of the organic community in three areas: climate change adaptation and mitigation; energy use and bioenergy; and Carbon in organic certification. The Workshop will be opened by Alexander Mueller, Assistant Director-General, Natural Resources Management and the Environment, FAO, who will inform on the outcomes of the High-Level Conference on Food Security and the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy held in Rome, 3-5 June 2008.

Claude Aubert will present the outcome of the International Scientific Dialogue on Organic Agriculture Climate Change, held in Lempdes, France, 17-18 April 2008, covering the impact of food production and consumption on global warming as well as the potential of organic food systems in decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change. Paul Happerly will report on the Rodale Institute 28 years-long observations of soil carbon sequestration and nitrogen levels of organic maize and soybean cropping systems. Urs Niggli will share FiBL’ experience and research questions on possible scenarios of adaptation potential of organic agriculture to climate change. Vandana Shiva will launch the Future for Food Commission Manifesto on the vulnerability of the industrial globalised agriculture to climate change and the false promises of the agrofuel surge, calling for diversified organic systems in order secure both environmental sustainability and food security.

Gudula Azeez will discuss the energy efficiency of UK agricultural sector, based on the Soil Association analysis of the results of Life Cycle Analyses of organic and non-organic products. Jean-Michel Florin will present a biodynamic mouvement’ practical tool to evaluate farm carbon balance, including biomass production above and below ground (roots, grains, stems) and farm imported carbon (feed, straw, manure) for a better appreciation of the performance of crop rotations, permanent pastures, animal feed and green manuring. Adrian Muller will explore the sustainability of biomass production for energy use and the compatibility of large-scale bioenergy supply with the organic principles of closed nutrient cycles and energy sufficiency. Bruno Borsari will argue that marginal lands can be fruitfully put to use through bioenergy crops.

J. Paull will link carbon footprint offset programmes to increasing pesticide footprint in silviculture, arguing for the adoption of organic forestry standards and certification. Johan Cejie will further presents KRAV climate certification scheme for greenhouses, horticulture, livestock, fisheries, processing and transportation, including a discussion on the different benefits of approaches (such as LCA and Production and Processing Methods) and avenues for international standardization. Volkert Engelsman will present Soil & More low emission composting technology and the process for its approval as a greenhouse gas emisssion reduction project that qualifies for generating carbon credits in several countries.

Following discussion on the above-mentioned topics, Nadia Scialabba will summarize best practices undertaken thus far by the organic community, including opportunities for expansion and improvement of organic practices useful in the transition from a fossil-fuel based agriculture to a climate-responsive agriculture.