The Breeding Diversity Conference Program is Out!

After an intense process of revising and evaluating all paper submissions and workshop proposals, the Program Committee of the Breeding Diversity conference is proud to announce the preliminary program. Due to the fact that some contributions still require a full commitment of the presenter and are therefore not yet published, it is recommended to regularly check the web site for amendments to the program.

Did you already register? If not, register today and get the reduced early registration fee until June 25, 2009!

Make Contributions to Tell IFOAM’s Story

IFOAM will use the 2008 Annual Report as a foundation for new messaging about how IFOAM’s work addresses the IFOAM Principles of Organic Agriculture and has real impacts in the world, particularly on issues of sustainability.?? We are seeking communications and design experts to help us.? Please pass the invitation to tender/request for proposal, to the qualified experts in your network.

The Annual Report will feature stories about how membership in IFOAM has helped organizations and people to have an impact on sustainability in their regions.? We are looking for five or six such stories that can be linked to IFOAM’s work in 2008.?? Some key topics for which we are seeking stories are Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS), empowering the organic sector in a region, advocating? for sustainable development policies,? and training and other assistance to organic producers.? If you have a story to tell about yourself, or can suggest stories about others, please contact Diane Bowen, d.bowen@ifoam.org.?

IFOAM Head Office Starts Transitioning to the New Executive Director

The wait for our new Executive Director is drawing to a close. Markus Arbenz, will join the IFOAM Head Office team in early August.? In June,? our current Interim Executive Director, Diane Bowen, will start to manage a new project funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), which will extend IFOAM's work in cooperation with UNCTAD and FAO on harmonization and equivalence.? To fill the short gap, the World Board has arranged for Katherine DiMatteo, World Board President,? to fill? the Executive Director position during June and July. The terms of this assignment will be estabished in a contract with Wolf, DiMatteo and Associates, based in the United States. The financial arrangements for these ED services will be consistent with the salaries of the two previous incumbents, Diane Bowen and Angela Caudle.? Katherine will be based in the Head Office in Bonn during this assignment.

Welcome to New Staff in the Head Office!

Starting on May 5th 2009, Claudia Meinicke replaced Haiyan Wang as Office Coordinator of IFOAM. While studying for a BA in Environmental Studies in Florida, she gained experience in the retail sector and developed valuable administrative and communication skills. After graduating in 2008, she relocated in Germany, her home country, and will be of great help in IFOAM’s Head Office.

Email: c.meinicke@ifoam.org

On June 8th 2009, IFOAM will be glad to welcome Robert Jordan as Advocacy Manager. Robert studied horticulture in the UK and gained extensive experience in organic farming in both developing and developed countries (Argentina, the UK, Germany, and New Zealand). In 1999, he moved to Australia where he fully involved himself in the promotion of Organic Agriculture. As a consultant for the Cooperative Research Centre for Food & Pack, and Birubi Innovation PL, he was twice appointed by the government of New South Wales to manage a bid for the establishment of a National Organic Research Institute in Australia. With this background, he brings a lot of experience to the position of Advocacy Manager.
Email: r.jordan@ifoam.org

On August 15th 2009, Denise Godinho from Portugal will join the team as the new Membership Manager of IFOAM. Denise studied in various countries (UK, Martinique/France), before graduating with an MBA in 2003 in Porto. After several experiences in the business sector, Denise has been working for 5 years as the PR and Communications Officer at the International Tobacco Growers’ Association (ITGA) in Castelo Branco, Portugal. She had successfully designed and developed the communication strategy and had the opportunity to familiarize herself with global agricultural issues. She speaks 4 languages fluently and will be a key asset for the development of IFOAM’s membership.
Email: d.godinho@ifoam.org

The next issue of IFOAM in Action will provide more details about the profiles of IFOAM new Staff Members.

Call for Nominations for Members of the New IFOAM Participatory Guarantee Systems Committee
Since 2002, IFOAM’s work to support the development of Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) worldwide, has been advised by an international group of PGS experts, originally formed as a working group and which became an official IFOAM Task Force in 2006. In response to a motion by the IFOAM General Assembly 2008 to give PGS a place in IFOAM’s permanent internal structures, the IFOAM World Board approved last April the creation of a permanent IFOAM PGS committee and approved its new Terms of Reference. Although the implementation of PGS-related activities in IFOAM is currently on the back-burner due to lack of funding, a comprehensive 3-year PGS plan has been developed and will be implemented once funding is secured. The PGS committee will play a key role in advising the IFOAM World Board on PGS issues and will work closely with the IFOAM Head Office to implement the comprehensive PGS program.

IFOAM is now calling for volunteers to sit on this new PGS committee. Candidates should send their nomination package to j.katto@ifoam.org before the 30th of June 2009. The TORs of the PGS committee and the full call for nomination, including detailed application requirements and procedure, can be found on http://www.ifoam.org/about_ifoam/standards/pgs.html

IFOAM Successfully Influences the Outcome of the Recent Meeting of the COAG (Committee on Agriculture), the Most Important Committee of the FAO

During the April 2009 meeting of the FAO's (UN Food and Agriculture Organization's) Committee on Agriculture, IFOAM helped organize a successful side event on "Organic Agriculture, Climate Change and the Environment," with more than 120 participants, including delegates from at least 45 countries. The intent of the side event was to demonstrate to the country delegations the important role that Organic Agriculture could play in responding to social and environmental challenges that food systems are facing and coping with growing food demands in times of climate change. In this advocacy activity IFOAM got strong support from the Danish Ministry of Agriculture, both through direct funding and through the involvement of the Danish International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems (ICROFS) in the organization of the event.

?The success of the side event was reflected in the final report of the FAO Committee on Agriculture, which mentioned Organic Agriculture as a tool for achieving sustainable agriculture. In addition, individual members of the Committee on Agriculture stressed the need to strengthen interdisciplinary work within FAO on issues such as water, biodiversity, climate and Organic Agriculture.
?The side event was chaired by Soren Skafte, Denmark representative, and welcoming remarks were delivered by Cristina Grandi, IFOAM Liaison Office to FAO, and Alexander Mueller, FAO Assistant Director General.? Urs Niggli, IFOAM World Board member and the Director of the Swiss Research Institute for Organic Agriculture, presented the latest scientific evidence on the potential of Organic Agriculture for climate adaptation and mitigation.? Niels Halberg, ICROFS Director, showed the multi-dimensional challenges of future food and farming systems. Tewolde Berhan, from the Ethiopian Environmental Protection Agency, described how community-led watershed management has reversed severe degradation in Tigray. Vitoon Panyakul, the Director of GreenNet, Thailand, illustrated that Organic Agriculture in Southeast Asia, practiced on 2.88 million ha by 234,147 certified producers, mainly in marginal areas, has improved land productivity while reducing cash costs. At the end of the event a delicious buffet with organic, local food was served.

IFOAM? to Convene its Members at BioFach, China in Shangha

The BioFach China is going to be held from May 27 to 29, 2009 in the International Exhibition Center of Shanghai, China. As quite a number of IFOAM members will join the fair and the forum, an IFOAM Member Meeting is scheduled in the afternoon (13:00 to 14:30) of May 28 (Friday). For more information, please contact Zhou Zejiang at z.zhou@ifoam.org.

IFOAM’s vice president Andre Leu will represent? IFOAM at this BioFach and IFOAM will also have a booth at the Fair. A top feature at the booth will be a Chinese translation of selected sections of the latest edition of “The World of Organic Agriculture", which presents important statistics on organic agriculture and markets worldwide.

IFOAM EU Group elects new President and Executive Board

The IFOAM EU Group has elected a new President and Deputy President, formed an Executive Board, and decided on a new governing structure and procedures. The structural changes ensure more efficient internal decision making needed for the timely adoption of positions on increasing number of policy issues - in which the Group provides sectoral knowledge based advocacy, of relevance to the organic operators in Europe.

Having been the main non-governmental actor throughout the long process of the revision of the Organic Regulation, which led to the adoption of Council Regulation 834/2007, IFOAM EU Group continues on its mission by providing a coordinated voice for the organic movement in Europe and supporting the development and implementation of a viable organic policy in the EU and the wider world.

Upon taking up his position, the newly-elected President of the Group Christopher Stopes (UK) acknowledged the great leadership provided by former President Francis Blake and commented "Francis has taken the IFOAM EU Group from its inception in 1990 to the vibrant, professional and effective organisation it is today - we all owe Francis Blake a great debt of gratitude for his service. The Group now represents a unique and increasingly important force that continues to successfully promote the cause of organic food and farming."

Christopher Stopes has contributed to the development of the organic sector for more than 25 years, providing strategic policy and technical advice to governments, organic businesses and NGOs. Currently he works as a consultant in organic food and farming and is Director of EcoS Consultancy Ltd.

As a new Deputy President of IFOAM EU was elected Thomas Dosch, a farmer and agricultural economist as well as the President of Bioland Germany. Dosch pledges to work for a more coherent policy framework in the EU as one of the most important current tasks is to guarantee the ability of the organic sector to contribute to solving major challenges like climate change, loss of biodiversity, provision of healthy food and sustainable rural development. “Upcoming reforms of the CAP and suitable regulations to secure non-contaminated GMO-free food and feed will be vital for the organic business”, said Thomas Dosch.

The recent decisions of IFOAM EU Group include the constitution of a new Executive Board as a more operative decision-making body, whose eight members represent the full scale of regional and sectoral knowledge needed for an European umbrella organisation representing a large array of interests – from the organic farmers to businesses, certifiers, traders, consumers and more.

Three of the elected Vice Presidents of the Executive Board will be responsible for the main activity areas of the Group – Thomas Fertl (BioAustria) for Policy, Sabine Eigenschink (Austria Bio Garantie) – Regulation, Otto Schmid (FiBl, Switzerland) – Research. Two other Vice Presidents bring further sectoral expertise - Karolina Dyrtrova (Bioinstitut, Czech Republic) and Bavo van Idsert (Stichting? Promotiebureau Biologische Speciaalzaak, the Netherlands). Treasurer of the Group and a member of the Executive Board is Gerald Altena (Debio, Norway).