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  3rd European Organic Congress


7th June 2010 in MADRID


Presentations of speakers and related documents can be found under the heading Programme & Documents.


Photos of the 3rd European Organic Congress can be found there as well, or by following this link.


Green New Deal for Sustainable Food Chains

The strategic role of the organic food sector to promote efficient use of natural resources and sustainable jobs in rural areas





Version: April 6th, 2010


Biodiversity loss and climate change are among urgent environmental challenges requiring immediate attention across multiple policy fields. Agriculture needs to play its part in the mitigation of climate change and halt of biodiversity loss. At the same time, the food sector must guarantee food security and provide jobs in rural regions. The Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth [1] aims to meet the sustainability as well as the socioeconomic challenge, whereas a scheme for the food sector has to be developed. Organic food and farming can provide a model for a comprehensive approach to meet future challenges in the food sector[2].

The “Global Green New Deal”, an initiative of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) launched in 2008, aims to re-orient the global economy towards investments in clean technologies, 'natural' infrastructure and combating climate change [3]. The UNEP Green Economy Initiative emphasised the role of organic agriculture. The organic sector is highly innovative, generating new solutions for the sustainable use of resources such as water, energy and soil, showing great potential for climate change mitigation and adaptation while contributing to the development of living and breathing rural economies.

Now is the ideal opportunity for redirecting EU food and farming policies and securing commitment to an urgently needed smart and inclusive Green New Deal. The EU long term biodiversity 2050 vision and the 2020 target for the protection of biodiversity must be implemented with ambition, particularly in the wake of failure to meet the 2010 Biodiversity target and with 2010 being the UN’s Year of Biodiversity. Farming methods to maintain a diversity of wild species on farmland as well as agro-biodiversity play a key role both in halting the loss of biodiversity and securing future food resources. Also climate change requires serious commitments and implementation steps following the UN climate conference in Copenhagen. The food sector causes part of the climate problem, but bears a high potential for solutions – therefore, incentives must be set to develop and implement best practices for the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. Moreover, EU budget negotiations for 2014-2020 are starting now and will set the framework for future EU policy adjustments.

The European Organic Congress [4] in Madrid will demonstrate the capacity of the organic sector both to contribute to EU sustainable development strategies and to reinvigorate the European food sector, enhancing competitiveness and creating jobs. It will also discuss the policy changes necessary to achieve sustainability in the food sector, starting with the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP): The CAP provides central tools to shape farming to meet future challenges.



[1] Europe 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth; Communication of the European Commission, March 2010;
[2] Organic - Part of the Solution!,  High sequestration – low emission: food secure farming, an IFOAM guide to climate change and food security.
[3] UNEP Launches Green Economy Initiative to Get the Global Markets Back to Work, London/Nairobi, 22 October 2008;
[4] This congress follows the First and Second European Organic Congresses, see website