The organizing committee of the Organic World Congress achieved one of its milestones by organizing the 20th edition of the Organic World Congress entitled “From its Roots – Organic Inspires Life” in Rennes, France. The congress was held from 8-10 September 2021,comprising keynote speakers, politicians organic farmers, producers, researchers, advocates, and policy experts from around the world. The emblematic Organic World Congress (OWC) was held in conjunction with the General Assembly of IFOAM – Organics International, the umbrella organization of the organic movement.
IFOAM – Organics International envisions the organic movement in different countries. It upholds the principle of organic to support both human life and ecology, improving the conditions of farmers, laborers, and other marginalized groups. The Organic World Congress 2021 is managed by a four-person steering committee; the congress is further supported by national, regional and local French institutions and research and education centres that promote organic agriculture in France and Europe.
Objectives Organic World Congress (OWC)
Organic World Congress(OWC) dealt with six essential themes.
- The Leadership Forum
OWC aim to discuss and shape the future of the organic movement withIFOAM – Organics International board members, and stakeholder from various professions and political backgrounds. This suggests creating a leadership forum that will bring together thinkers, practitioners, and policymakers to discuss new ideas and concepts that will help propel agriculture and organic to the next level of sustainability. The forum will openly debate over the latest insights, controversies, and global developments.
- Farmers and Advisors
The congress purposes to assist organic stakeholders to work toward sustainable agriculture. Its hares knowledge, initiatives and discusses what it means to become an organic farmer, learn how other organic farmers work, explore what challenges organic farmers are currently facing or might face in the future. The forum suggests that farming advisors promote positive experiences and employ innovation to stimulate farmer conversion to organic. This will increase nutritional revenues from fields and organic systems.
- Science Forum
The science forum includes four principles of IFOAM – Organics International: ecology, health, fairness, and care. In the science forum, more than 280 papers were selected from 320+ submissions. This forum invites researchers to share their work on different themes such as Ecological approaches to systems and health. Product and process quality in organic agriculture: methods and challenges. Transitioning towards organic and sustainable food systems. Innovation in organic farming, political and economicframeworks. The researchers also focused on organic principles and how new technology and innovation has helped to develop organic farming and agriculture in different countries of the world.
- Supply and Value Chain
IFOAM members through this platform provided an opportunity to supply and value chainactors, from producers to consumers to share, stimulate and lead transformational practices to develop organic food and nonfood supply chains. The innovative suggestions willmotivate farmers and citizens towards organic food.
- Culture and Education Forum
This Forum will use dialogue to convey a common understanding of the fundamentals of the organic sector. It invites citizens,trainers and educators of goodwill to share their contributions regarding sustainable organic farming and the philosophical and spiritual foundations of organic movements.
- Stakeholder Forum
This forum aims at promoting a multi-actor approach for organic food systems. The full diversity of actors will be encouraged to exchange and contribute to increasing the understanding of the various perspectives present within organic food systems.
The special edition of this congress includes electing the new IFOAM World Board for 2021 to 2024.The congress received applications from all over the world, the General Assembly selected 10 new members to join the IFOAM – Organics International World Board for 2021–2024. The majority of the member countries electedKaren Mapusua from Oceania (Fiji Island). Presently, Mr Karen Mapusua is the new President of the World Board while Choitresh Ganguly (Bablu) and Julia Lernoud are the Vice Presidents.
The Purpose of Creating the IFOAM – Organics International World Board
The IFOAM – Organics International World Board is constitutionally elected by its membership. This team is responsible for overseeing and supporting the IFOAM – Organics International work, growing the global organic marketplace, communicating the benefits of organic, training organic leaders, and facilitating capacity-building for organic farmers. The previous World Board led by Peggy Miars (the President) managed and supported the promotion of the organic movement as a whole on a global scale.The ten-member team took innovative measures topromote the global organic marketplace, communicate the benefits of organic to farmers and consumers, trained organic leaders and worked towards facilitating and capacity-building of organic farmers.
During the 2021 General Assembly that took place digitally, the former World Board was appreciated for the work and achievements that they rendered. They graciously handed their responsibilities over to the new World Board who will serve their term from 2021 to 2024.
The Role of the World Board
- Supporting the Organizational Strategy and Organic 3.0
World Board members will execute the organizational strategy approved in 2017, they also intend to promote the concept of Organic 3.0 as per our landmark document. The members are asked to promptly fulfil their responsibilities as they are liable to assemble and organize themselves to attend World Board meetings. They are required to dedicate 20 – 30 working days per year (ca. 40 – 60 working days in the case of Executive Board membership. This also includes travel time, to the World Board’s work. Members need to prepare in advance for decision-making and policy development at board meetings and take responsibility for informing themselves about the major issues before board meetings. They are also asked to maintain regular and timely communication through emails and e-votes.
Another important role assigned to the world board members is to develop financial resources for the organization. This includes tracking their initiatives and supporting other fund development activities of the organization.
- Supporting the organization’s advancement
The world board members should execute their role to provide strategic input to the development of the organization. This implies the members to give practical and helpful suggestions and guidance to the executive director and management team regarding position development and strategic positioning of the organization and strengthening leadership in board committees.
Members representing IFOAM – Organics International at international events around the world should prepare public speeches and other contributions to conference and seminar programs. World Board members are also encouraged to write articles and other relevant publications for the organization.
Shaping the future of organic!
Organic World Congress (OWC) has positioned itself as an agent of change. It offers a truly global, diverse space that inspires positive change through knowledge exchange, learning, and the formulation of organic, sustainable solutions to create a better world. The OWC2021 has come up with positive and solution-oriented measures that seek to offer alternatives to global challenges and maximize positive impacts on people and the globe. The Organic World Congress offers farmers to use innovation on their farms and harness the benefits from regenerative (sustainable) ways of farming.The World Congress (OWC) inspires healthy food systems and a culture of sustainability and is forward-looking to achieve innovation in organic farming. Hence, the congress offers momentum and inspiration to all who take part in the organic movement and is playing a leading part in the global organic sector.