This week at Planet Diversity, over 550 participants originating from 90 countries convened parallel to the negotiations of the UN delegates about the Cartagena Protocol that regulations safety and liability aspects of genetically modified organisms (gmo’s) globally. The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, IFOAM, is one of the co-organizers of Planet Diversity.
The representatives of farmers and development organizations, consumers and environment and nature organizations, amongst them many IFOAM members and organic farmers, touched upon a broad field of themes during 30 workshops and 6 plenaries. Free access to seed, strategies for a gmo-free future, perspectives for family farmers and small holders and for global food security. It does not suffice to just talk about the risks and liability of gmo’s, as the formal negotiators are doing. What is at stake is our common future on this Planet of Diversity.
From June 18th – 20th, the discussions will be continued at the 16th IFOAM World Congress, taking place in Modena, Italy. During a press conference today IFOAM World Board members Antonio Compagnoni and Pipo Lernoud, and the minister of agriculture and food of Modena, Graziano Poggioli explained the direct link of Planet Diversity with organic agriculture: organic agriculture helps in assuring food security, is a motor of rural development, contributes to combating desertification and climate change, and at the same time it depends upon and delivers biodiversity: in the soil, in seed and breeds, and through its design of organic agro ecosystems. All these subjects will be discussed in Modena, where more than 1500 persons, scientists, experts and activists, are expected to contribute their experiences to the benefit of our diverse planet to cultivate the future!
Vandana Shiva, ecofeminist and alterglobalist, will contribute to the IFOAM world congress and bring the experiences from Planet Diversity to Modena, just as Tewolde Berhand Gebre Egziabher, General Manager of the Environmental Protection Authority of Ethiopia and occupied in the formal negotiation of the Cartagena Protocol. Carlo Petrini is invited as the close link of Organic Agriculture with Slow Food is obvious and a perfect match for cultivating the future. President Juan Evo Morales Ayma from Bolivia is expected to bring in the wealth of indigenous knowledge, too long undervalued by conventional agriculture, however needed to cope with future challenges.
On the location of this years’ conference the Agriculture and Food Minister of Modena, Graziano Poggioli explained that “The Organic World Congress will be outstanding, since Modena is a land of jewels: architectural ones such as the Romanesque cathedral, the Ghirlandina tower, and Piazza Grande, all of which have been declared UNESCO World Heritage sites. Other expressions of our diversity awaiting the participants are the products of our local agriculture: Parmigiano-Reggiano; Prosciutto from Modena; the Lambrusco wines; Modena’s Traditional Balsamic Vinegar; as well as many other specialty products like blackberries from the Apennine Mountains, pears from the Emilia Region, cherries from Vignola; all world famous products produced with organic farming methods by women and men capable of both solidarity and hospitality.”