The IAASTD was launched as an intergovernmental process, with a multi-stakeholder Bureau, under the co-sponsorship of the FAO, GEF, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, the World Bank and the WHO. This three-year effort assesses agricultural knowledge in relation to meeting the development and sustainability goals of:
- Reducing hunger and poverty
- Improving nutrition, health and rural livelihoods
- Facilitating social and environmental sustainability
“How can we reduce hunger and poverty, improve rural livelihoods, and facilitate equitable, environmentally, socially and economically sustainable development through the generation, access to, and use of agricultural knowledge, science and technology?”
As you can imagine, there are vested interests from the agricultural input industry lobbying hard for ‘new green revolutions’ and pleading for more research on chemical fertilizers and GMO’s.
We thus urge you to send the letter below to the IAASTD bureau before the October 22nd deadline. Why not use the opportunity of World Food Day (October 16th) to get your message across?
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line: ‘Time for Change’)
The World Bank
1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433 USA
Mail Stop MC5-515
Thanks for supporting Organic Agriculture! We’re happy we can count on you!
IFOAM Strategic Relations Manager
(Please copy and paste this text into an email)
I welcome the initiative for the global Agriculture Assessment and the possibility to comment on the current draft of the report. The time has come to recognize the false promises of industrial farming, genetic engineering and other technological fixes that benefit the few but harm the many.
Today’s energy- and chemical-intensive agriculture is more like mining than farming, trying to extract as much economic value as possible from each piece of land, irrespective of the socio-economic, environmental and generational impacts. Industrial farming is one of the biggest contributors to global warming, through its emission of greenhouse gases and destruction of natural carbon stocks.
Even where industrial farming provides gains in production, it is not sustainable in the long term and damages the dwindling agricultural area upon which our future food supply depends; and it fails to meet the needs of local communities for livelihoods, food security and a healthy, diverse diet.
The future of farming lies in a biodiversity- and labor-intensive agriculture that works with nature and the people, not against them; an agriculture that can adapt to a changing climate and at the same time reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Millions of farmers and gardeners on all continents are already proving that organic agriculture can increase food security, replenish natural resources and provide a better livelihood for farmers and local communities.
This is despite the fact that investment into organic and sustainable farming methods is still dramatically neglected. Globally, large investments in agricultural research and development – both, public and private – have been geared nearly exclusively to the needs of industrialized agriculture and chemical corporations.
To fully exploit the potential of a healthy organic agriculture, a sea-change in research priorities is needed: from now on, the majority of all expenditures – nationally as well as internationally – on agricultural research and knowledge dissemination must be invested into farming systems that are biodiversity intensive, do not pollute the biosphere nor deplete natural resources, and which enable communities to feed themselves and others with a nutritious diet and to secure their livelihoods through productive work.
I call on all UN bodies involved in the global Agriculture Assessment and on all governments of the world to:
- Increase public investment in agricultural R & D and to prioritize organic, agroecological, biodiversity intensive forms of agriculture;
- Avoid the top-down approach of the destructive ”green revolution” and build upon the essential value of local knowledge and focusing on small farmers’ expertise;
- Dismiss genetically engineered crops, because they have been shown to be no solution to hunger and poverty. Genetically engineered crops are exacerbating the mistakes of the past thirty years of industrial agriculture;
- Specifically ban the release of genetically-engineered organisms in their centers of diversity;
- Ensure the ‘polluter pays’ principle for agriculture: environmental and social costs of farming systems must be internalized, and all destructive subsidies in agriculture must be eliminated; and
- Firmly reject patents on plants, animals and other organisms as well as on sequences of their DNA and to prevent bio-piracy and expropriation of local and indigenous knowledge under the pretext of “intellectual property rights.”
IFOAM Special Announcement, Responsible: Angela B. Caudle, Contact: Neil Sorensen
Head Office Contact