Message from the President

Dear reader,

As IFOAM EU President it is my pleasure to welcome you to this annual report. This first report in our new digital format will inform you about IFOAM EU’s actions to make Europe more organic in 2018. I am convinced that IFOAM EU has done a remarkable job in transforming European food and farming over the last years.

2018 has been a year of climatic and political significance. The global awareness of the urgency of the climate crisis has never been clearer. Citizens started calling for action and continued to do so in 2019. This strengthened our resolve to put organic agriculture on the table as part of the solution. Regarding our Vision 2030 I am convinced, that more organic agriculture will benefit the climate and our natural resources. Shares of organic farming in Austria and Sweden with more than 25% and 20% are encouraging. But to reach a significant impact of 50% by 2030, we still have a challenging path in front of us. That is why the organic movement’s call for a fair, healthy and sustainable food and farming system have never been timelier.

One of our biggest successes in 2018 was the decision of the European Court of Justice on new gene editing techniques. According to the Court, new gene editing techniques are techniques of genetic engineering and should thus be regulated as such. This decision was warmly welcomed by IFOAM EU that actively advocated for this. This decision is a recognition of the work that we and many like-minded organisations did on the topic. It serves as the basis for our continued fight for transparency on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

As an organic farmer I am proud of our work on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the implementation of the organic regulation. This was the most public at our successful 12th European Organic Congress. I would like to highlight our position paper “Towards a new post-2020 CAP that supports farmers and delivers public goods to Europeans” in which we called for a new CAP that rewards farmers based on their contribution to public goods. We want a more sustainable future for agriculture in the EU and a CAP that supports all farmers that improve our environment through their work.

We also successfully showed the innovative nature of organic in 2018 towards policy makers and researchers. We have ensured that the research needs of the organic sector are addressed by Horizon 2020 projects. An example of such a Horizon 2020 project is the RELACS project that started in May 2018. We are responsible for the communication and dissemination of this four-year project researching the development of alternative tools and technologies for inputs considered contentious in organic farming systems.

Moreover, we have been keeping a close eye on the Directive on Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs) in the supply chain and welcomed the agreement on this directive and the strong political commitment to improve the position of weaker actors against UTPs. We also commissioned a study on taxation as a tool towards true cost accounting. We are sure that its findings provide a framework for accounting for the true costs and benefits of food production.

Of course, we did much more than the above, which you can read in this report. On behalf of IFOAM EU I would like to express our gratefulness for the support from our members, sponsors and the European Commission over the last years. Our work would not be possible without them and the dedicated office team working to making Europe more organic every day.

Our successes from 2018 motivate us to keep working to a transformation of the European food and farming system. Organic is part of the solution for a fairer and sustainable Europe that serves the current and future generations and protects our ecosystems, climate and biodiversity.

Organic regards,
Jan Plagge

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