Welcome note from IFOAM EU Director, Eduardo Cuoco

Dear readers,

At last year's European Organic Congress we launched the roadmap to making our 2030 Vision a reality. This journey has set off and will continue to boost initiatives of stakeholders and policymakers towards making our vision for organic in 2030 a reality – hand in hand with achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This year we continued on the path to making our vision a reality at the 12th European Organic Congress in Vienna, organised by IFOAM EU and BioAustria. The Congress focussed on how to make the food and farming sector more resilient in the face of environmental and socioeconomic pressure.

The theme of this year’s Congress was “Organic on every table: Added value for farmers, consumers and society’’, and addressed both present issues and future concerns on the conversion towards organic farming.
To this aim, the 12th European Organic Congress brought together an array of high-level national and European decision-makers, academia, and key stakeholders within food and farming, committed to making genuine and reliable contributions to organic. Our programme included more than thirty speakers and moderators, divided into four plenary sessions and two parallel sessions.

A focal point of the discussions was the European Commission’s revision of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Tassos Haniotis, Director of the European Commission assured that the new CAP architecture is inclusive of organic principles, but respondents pointed out that there’s a need of a better structure for budget allocations. IFOAM EU President Jan Plagge stressed the importance of allocating money to support environmental efforts, while IFOAM EU’s farmer representative Laurent Moinet pointed at the risks and opportunities of the new CAP proposal.
During the plenary session on “Fair Play, Fair Pay”, the current European Commission proposal to limit Unfair Trading Practices in agriculture was on the table. Participants emphasised the need to continuously explore new economic approaches and innovative business models that would ensure transparency, fairness towards the farmers, and respect for the environment. Read the political hot spot of this newsletter for an update about the Commission proposal on Unfair Trading Practices.

On day two of the congress, there was a session on the new Organic Regulation. This session focused on the advantages and the limits of regulations and on the ongoing development of the secondary legislation. The new Organic Regulation will apply from 2021.
IFOAM EU President Jan Plagge closed the two-day conference with a call to keep working on and innovating together within the European institutions and beyond, to uphold the values of organic agriculture and to put organic on every table.
The discussions during the 12th European Organic Congress showcased the commitment of key actors and their willingness to transform food and farming in Europe by supporting the organic movement. IFOAM EU demonstrated, once again, that it is a strong political player with an important role in paving the road towards a more organic Europe, in close collaboration with its members, partners and other like-minded stakeholders.

I’m also happy to announce to you that IFOAM EU is already working on the 13th edition of the European Organic Congress in 2019. Stay tuned on the Congress website, IFOAM EU’s Twitter & Facebook accounts or subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates.

Organic regards,
Eduardo Cuoco

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