Head Office Contact Information
Charles-de-Gaulle-Str. 5
53113 Bonn, Germany
Tel: +49-228-92650-10
Fax: +49-228-92650-99
Email: headoffice@ifoam.org

Organic Agriculture and Climate Change

Climate change is a critical issue for agriculture and world food security and the international organic movement has an important role to play in helping farmers both to adapt to increasingly erratic and extreme weather and to reduce emissions and capture carbon. Organic agriculture’s avoidance of chemical nitrogen fertilizers and effectiveness in sequestering high levels of carbon in the soil is a major advantage over conventional agriculture. Based on nearly 30 years of soil carbon data, as outlined in their recent research report, the Rodale Institute estimates that organic farms could sequester 39% of global annual carbon emissions if the world’s cropland utilized organic agricultural practices including nitrogen-fixing cover crops and intensive compost inputs as promoted in their climate change campaign video. Rodale is one of a number of affiliates that has been very active in advocating for the climate benefits of organic agriculture. More information is available in this impressive interview with CEO Timothy LaSalle, as well as from LaSalle's contribution in the upcoming issue of Ecology and Farming, which is focused on organic farming research.

The mitigation potential of organic agriculture has also been investigated in a recent F AO (Food & Agriculture Organizations of the UN) publication led by FiBL (The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture). The report, available here (ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/ai781e/ai781e00.pdf), estimates that global greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent of up to 85% of total current agricultural emissions, could be mitigated if agriculture was converted to organic production. This figure is achieved without intensive compost application.

IFOAM’s advocacy department is working with Rodale, FiBL and other affiliates to develop common messages and publications for the IFOAM climate change advocacy campaign. IFOAM will be actively lobbying for Organic Agriculture at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen from the December 7-18, 2009. In addition, for pushing for international recognition of organic agriculture, IFOAM intends to provide free policy advice to delegates at the conference in an effort to increase the integration of organic agricultural practices into national policies.

IFOAM would like to involve more affiliates in the climate change campaign!? While IFOAM will not be able to provide any financial support, we would be very grateful if you could inform us as soon as possible if you are interested in participating in any of the following campaign components:

• Joining the IFOAM lobbying and policy advice team at the conference in Copenhagen. Please let us know by November 6, 2009.

• Identifying contact details of delegates such as Ministers of Agriculture, Environment and their advisors from your country or region that the IFOAM team can approach at Copenhagen.

• Setting up policy advice meetings with delegates from your country or region for the IFOAM team in Copenhagen. IFOAM will provide support material in the coming w eeks.

• Receiving simple climate change communication material for use on your websites etc as well as regular updates from the Conference itself.

Please contact IFOAM’s Advocacy Manager directly via r.jordan@ifoam.org.

IFOAM launches The Global PGS Newsletter

The first issue of The Global PGS Newsletter went out to a list of around 200 subscribers on the October 15, 2009. The newsletter is an electronic free monthly publication of IFOAM that gives news and updates about developments of Participatory Guarantee Systems around the world.

The first issue is available for download on the IFOAM website or by clicking here.
Subscription to the newsletter can be requested by writing to pgs@ifoam.org.

IFOAM Trade Symposium 2010

"Finding the Competitive Advantage - A Challenge in these Uncertain Times"is the title of IFOAM’s third Trade Symposium, to be held on the afternoon of Febuary 16, 2010, prior to the opening of the BioFach, in the Shanghai Room of the Nuremberg Congress Centre in Nuremberg, Germany.

It will feature experts in market research and retailers who will explore the impacts of the financial crisis on organic markets and highlight the attitudes of today’s consumers.

For more information and for our preferential online registration price, please consult our webpage.

FAO Looks at Organic Agriculture's Role in Food Security
During the recent Food and Agriculture Organization (F AO) High-Level Expert Forum on “How to Feed the World in 2050” in Rome from October 11-13, 2009, Organic Agriculture featured in lively debates and exchanges on food security.

IFOAM Executive Director Markus Arbenz was invited to participate on a panel entitled, "The technology challenge: Increasing productivity and protecting the environment." While, before the panel, Organic Agriculture was not even mentioned, the discussion turned into an appraisal of organic - with a significant amount of audience and panelist support. Panelist Elisabeth Gauffin, IFAP (International Federation of Agriculture Producers) Vice President, surprised the audience by stating that she is an organic farmer and lending support to arguments introduced by Markus Arbenz.

Organic Agriculture was also brought to the table when, in his welcome address, Director General of FAO Jacques Diouf recognised key benefits of Organic Agriculture for rural development, stating that Organic Agricult ure "contributes to hunger and poverty reduction and should be promoted."

The complete program of the Forum, a list of participants, photographs, and video clips, including a footage of the technology challenge panel, are available on the FAO website, www.fao.org.

Advertise in IFOAM’s e-Directory 2010!
IFOAM’s most popular publication, the IFOAM e-DIRECTORY 2010, is offering exclusive advertisement opportunities to IFOAM affiliates. The e-Directory is seen by over 15,000 readers in the organic sector and offers an excellent opportunity for targeted marketing.

The deadline for advertisement requests is November 7, 2009. Hurry to ensure the placement of your organization’s advertisement!

For more information, please contact Martin Pairet, m.pairet@ifoam.org