Top UN officials, serving and former ministers and other stakeholders say 100 per cent organic agriculture is key to combating land degradation globally.
The experts spoke on Saturday at the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) currently underway in New Delhi, India.
They spoke during a session on Agroecology and Organic Agriculture.
The session highlighted how agroecology and organic agriculture in India and the Himalayas enhanced fertile landscapes, protected biodiversity and improved living conditions of the local people.
According to the experts, 100% exemplary organic agriculture is critical to achieving land degradation neutrality.
Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, UNCCD, called for political support towards organic farming and agroecology across societies.
“The transition to sustainable food and agriculture systems is critical for a sustainable future. Both Sikkim and Bhutan states in India show with their 100% organic goals that such a transition is possible.
“UNCCD is proud to showcase its leadership and political will towards achieving land degradation neutrality,” said the UN official.
Also speaking, Alexandra Wandel, Executive Director, World Future Council (WFC), said Sikkim and Bhutan were among Himalayan states leading in organic farming and agroecology as an effective pathway for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and delivery on the entire 2030 Agenda.
“By scaling up organic agriculture and agroecology, it is possible to tackle malnutrition, social injustice, climate change and loss of biodiversity.
“Through effective, holistic policy making, we can transform our food systems so that they respect people and the planet. Sikkim proves that it is feasible – and how.
“They show that achieving land degradation neutrality is no longer a pipe dream but can become reality,” says the WFC Director.
Other prominent speakers at the event included Dr Ashok Khosla, former President of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Bhutan’s Agriculture and Forestry Minister, Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor, former Chief Minister of Sikkim (India), Pawan Chamling and IFOAM – Organics International’s World Board member, Bablu Ganguly.
The event showcased innovative policies that supported transformation of food systems in India and the Himalayas which helped achieve land degradation neutrality target and improved living conditions of people affected by desertification.
The Indian state of Sikkim was chosen for the Future Policy Gold Award 2018 because it was the first state in the world to become fully organic.