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What should be the rule?

Theme 3 "What should be the rule?" of the Joint Organic Congress 2006, May 30-31 in Odense, Denmark focused on the regulation of organic production and trade in relation to organic values and areas with conflicting interests. The theme turned out to be of immediate importance due to the discussion on the recent proposal for a council regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products.

Below, we have collected submitted papers and presentations given at the theme sessions and the related plenary sessions.



Plenary sessions

Opening plenum: Organic farming and European rural development

Consumers and society are asking for divers services from agriculture. Healthy and safe food, clean drinking water, protection of nature, care for farm animals, production of renewable energy, and a balanced development of rural areas are the some of the equitable requests.

However, issues such as globalisation, increased trade and demographic changes provide European farmers, food producers and policymakers with new and huge challenges. In this situation organic agriculture might offer possible solutions to a number of key challenges.

Papers

> Welcome address by the Austrian presidency for the EU (PDF)
> Organic Agriculture and Food Security

Presentations

> Organic farming’s role in ?European agricultural and environmental strategies

Research plenum: Research to develop organic food and farming

In order to comply with the challenges and the new demands facing agriculture, food production and rural districts, the European communities have initiated large-scale research programmes. Part of this research is focussing on the development of organic food and farming systems, and the congress embraces the main part of the EU supported research within this area. The plenum will elucidate and discuss research that simultaneous seeks to develop organic food production systems and the public goods that are the benefits of a sustainable agricultural sector.

Papers

> Improving quality and safety and maximizing benefits to consumers and producers
> Research in organic food and farming as a tool for providing public goods
> The positioning of organic products: which way forward?

Presentations

> Improving quality and safety and maximizing benefits to consumers and producers
> Research in organic food and farming as a tool for providing public goods
> Research for Sustainable Food and Farming Systems
> The positioning of organic products: ?which way forward?


Closing plenum: Visions for organic food and farming

Organic food is expected to be healthy, safe and of a high quality. The production should be carried out with consideration for nature, environment and farm animals, fair trade and social justice. In order to fulfil these aims, new principles of Health, Ecology, Fairness and Care have recently been adopted. But what will these new principles mean, and how can they be used in the preparation of the agriculture of the future?


Overviews of European research, policies and regulations

The aim of the introductory topic plenary session was to provide an overview of European research, policy initiatives at national and European level, together with an overview of the proposed Council Regulation of organic food and farming.

> European organic farming policies: an overview


Presentations (PDF)

> Overview of European research in Organic Food & Farming
> European Organic Farming Policies: an overview
> Proposed Council Regulation on organic production



Debating the proposed Council Regulation

Session B3, Tuesday 30th May 2006 at 14.00-15.30

In December 2005 the European Commission proposed a new Council Regulation on organic production (COM (2005) 671 final). The Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union has taken up this proposal in order in order to consider a Council decision before the end of June 2006.

There has been an intense debate on the proposed regulation during several months. One of the core issues in this debate has been the relationship between the public control, national and private certifiers and labels.

Presentations (PDF)

> The organic movement‘s appraisal of the proposed new organic regulation



How local is local – the issue of distant trade

Session C3, Tuesday 30th May 2006 at 16.00-17.30

Values and ethics are key concerns of organic agriculture, as highlighted in the proposal for a revised EEC Regulation and in the IFOAM Principles of Organic Agriculture. An example of an important organic value is local production and consumption. However this value may be difficult to obtain because of specialisation, long food chains and increased globalisation.

The session discussed problematic aspects of localness such as the effect of increased distance and transport for the social integration between producer and consumer as well as the effect on environment.

Papers

> Why regionality is an important value in organic agriculture: the case of the Netherlands
> Localness and the new orthodoxy? Critical reflection on localisation of food systems
> Regional Players in between conventionalisation and regional development
> How to measure and eventually regulate localness?

Presentations (PDF)

> How to measure and eventually regulate localness?
> Localness as the new orthodoxy?
> Why regionality is an important value in organic agriculture
> Regional players in between conventionalisation and regional development



Rules, flexibility and regional variation

Session D3, Wednesday 31st May 2006 at 9.00-10.30

Differences in national and private organic standards compared to the EEC2092/91 have often been a hot subject in relation to discussions of protectionism in relation to free trade of organic products. In Organic Revision a database www.organicrules.org has been developed as a tool for stakeholders and administrators of standards to identify and analyse differences in various standards.

Among others, the theme discussed whether such differences should be seen as a problem or an opportunity for the development of organic farming.

Papers

> Regional variations in standards - chance or a problem?
> Recommendations to the formulation of EU regulation 2092/91 on livestock production

Presentations (PDF)

> Recommendations to the EU regulation 2092/91 on organic livestock production
> Differences and variation - organic standards database
> Regional variations in standards – problem or opportunity?



Intensification and conventionalisation

Session E3, Wednesday 31st May 2006 at 14.00-15.00

Organic agriculture has witnessed a very dynamic development. Its rapid growth has offered new opportunities, but also raised new questions and challenges. Some of the key questions are related to the enlarged marked for organic products, other questions relate to the societal expectations of organic farming, and finally organic agriculture is facing challenges due to globalisation.

Papers

> Principles of Organic Agriculture – worldwide participatory stakeholder process
> Are the motives of recent adopters in line with the conventionalisation hypothesis?
> Organic dairy farming in Norway in relation to the “conventionalisation” debate

Presentations (PDF)

> Are the motives of recent adopters in line with the conventionalisation hypothesis?
> Organic dairy farming in Norway in relation to the ‘”conventionalisation” debate
> Revising the principles of organic agriculture


Poster presentations related to the theme

> The Future Path of Organic Farming - Values, Standards and Controversy
> Which strategy to develop for the authentication of organic food products?
> Product and process protection in the organic farming sector
> Organic Rules Database: to support revision of the EU Regulation on organic agriculture