Welcome note November 2022

Dear reader, 

I am happy to welcome you to this year’s last edition of our newsletter. I am proud to say we can look back on a productive autumn, slowly turning into winter. Just like the seasons, one day our work goes smoothly like a cold but sunny day, and other day it is stormy like a grey autumn day with heavy rainfall and gusts of wind.  

However, we are keeping on the good work in what feels like a sometimes hostile environment. We have organised policy events and wrote letters with civil society on topics like sustainability labelling, new GMOs, pesticide reduction and fertiliser use – areas in which we are facing strong forces ranging from big agroindustry’s influence to conservative policymakers protecting vested interests and to individuals who see technology as the solution, rather than the need to change a broken system and think about holistic solutions – put forward by the EU Green Deal and it’s Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies

Last week’s GMO-free Europe Event was a perfect example of this. If you regularly read our newsletter, you’ll know the Commission announced a new legislative proposal for so-called ‘new genomic techniques’ in the second quarter of 2023. This may exempt certain GMOs obtained from CRISPR-Cas and other so-called ‘Novel Genomic Techniques’ from the present level of risk assessment, traceability, and labelling. The consequences of certain scenarios currently under consideration would be immense on environmental and consumer protection and on the GMO-free production chain – including organic production – in Europe.  

We raised awareness about this at the GMO-free Europe Event, co-organised with Save our Seeds and hosted by the Greens/EFA Members of the European Parliament. Representatives from GMO-free Regions, scientists, farmers, producers, retailers, and consumers as well as NGOs, civil servants, and politicians agreed: the Commission’s legislative proposal must contain strong provisions for co-existence of GM and non-GM agricultural production in Europe, ensuring labelling and traceability. Read more about this event in our dedicated article. 

Proponents of old and new GMOs argue that using them will reduce Europe’s pesticide use, one of the goals in the EU Green Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy. However, as European organic movement, we see this as flawed logic. New and old GMOs do not reduce pesticide use and the European Commission should achieve its Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies’ goals by upscaling proven agronomic solutions to reduce our dependency on synthetic inputs. Organic farming and other agroecological methods will help reach these goals and at the same time improve agriculture’s climate resilience and our environment and animal welfare. 

Next week, on 29 November, we are co-organising a policy workshop on Closing nutrient’s cycles: reshaping EU agri-food system for greater autonomy and sustainability? – together with Agroecology Europe, the European Environmental Bureau and the Clean Air and Climate Secretariat. This workshop is organised in the context of the development of the Integrated Nutrients Management Action Plan (INMAP) developed by the Commission (DG ENVI) and now expected for early 2023. The organic movement wants this INMAP to properly support organic farming as we already implement practices to cope with nitrogen losses and close the nutrient cycle. This workshop will gather scientific, farmers, NGOs, journalists, MEPs and Commission’s representatives. Join us online on 29 Nov from 13:30-15:30. 

We will also organise the new edition of IFOAM Organics Europe Meets Business. Our annual event will finally take place physically in Brussels. It will offer a great opportunity for businesses active in / interesting in organic to network with important stakeholders of the organic and food sectors to discuss the most important and recent developments for the organic sector. Registration is still open, so join us for this great event on 30 Nov from 9:30-17:00. 

Hoping to see you at one of our events, and maybe at BIOFACH. 

Stay warm, stay organic! 


PS: Next year you may expect to receive a special edition of our newsletter ahead of BIOFACH. Want to make sure you receive it? Subscribe to our newsletter 

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