Newsletter n.40

Our newsletter is celebrating its 2nd anniversary.
A big thank you to our readers and friends, particularly those who have written and posted comments and critiques!


1.EXPERIENCES: … what if citizens decided how to use their own taxes?


3.NEWS ON SOIL AND EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS: Pesticide Action Network (PAN) – Europe



… what if citizens decided how to use their own taxes?

A political party has not suggested it. This experience took place in various European cities, and throughout the world, not least Ichinomiya in Japan. The latter originates in the Percentage Law, which was enacted in Hungary in 1996. With this law, local governments call on communities to donate 1 or 2% of their income tax to non-governmental organizations and other similar groups in the community or district.

This citizen participation system of managing the public budget has been adopted in more than 3,000 cities around the world, including New York, Boston, and Paris. There are various types of participatory budgeting. In Paris for example, 5% of the budget is allocated  to construction and repairing of public buildings pointed out by citizens. Residents can propose projects to be carried out with the city’s budget provided. The selection of the projects to be funded is decided by public vote among residents. In this way: citizen’s wishes for how to use public budgets are reflected more directly; participation is increased; and at the same time people are made more responsible towards public goods and needs. In the end, the will to act directly on community-related problems can be found in many other sectors, such as community cleaning, safety patrols, and promoting sport, health and well-being. Continue reading “… what if citizens decided how to use their own taxes?”

Meeting the Farmers’ Category – Group III of the EESC

One of the main objectives of the SIP Forum is to collect recommendations from various stakeholders, in order to adopt a new strategy to protect EU soil. We are currently following two pathways: a) reinforcing communication and contacts throughout Europe with associations and civil society organizations which are not dealing with soil as a priority; b) establishing a dialogue with other stakeholders who are interested in soil (builders, farmers, planners, administrators …).

With regard to the second objective, the Forum has been invited to present its work on 26 September 2017 at the Farmers Category from Group III of the EESC. This is the second meeting taking place there – the previous one, with the Consumers and Environment Category took place on 21 June. Continue reading “Meeting the Farmers’ Category – Group III of the EESC”

People4Soil: No quorum

The people4soil press release issued on 20 September states that the quorum was not reached. 212.000 signatures were gathered, and only two Member States (Italy and Ireland) reached the expected minimum. A request on making a European directive on soil a priority was still, however, sent to the vice president of the Commission.

As we said in the previous newsletter our work really only begins now. We can and we must extend the communication campaign with associations and non-soil-related groups, we must foster dialogue with those who use soil without taking care of it.

Pesticide Action Network (PAN) – Europe

In the European Union there are many organisations fighting for a better society, a future in which our children and grandchildren will not be able to blame us for passivity and incompetence. They are vital for the European Institutions themselves and to make democracy persist. At times, a local perspective on certain issues can make us forget the many organisations which deal with the same issues in other European countries.

Here we will introduce you to Pesticide Action Network (PAN), an organisation which strives to minimise the negative effects of hazardous pesticides and to replace their use with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives. The network was founded in 1982 and has over the years included up to over 600 non-governmental organisations, institutions and individuals in over 60 countries worldwide, which are co-ordinated by 5 autonomous regional centres, one of which in Europe (since 1987). The European centre has its headquarters in Brussels: in this way they are able to more closely follow policy developments at the EU institutions regarding agriculture, environment and health, and their involvement with the use of synthetic pesticides or other toxic chemicals. PAN represents consumer interests and aims at influencing these policies, by making claims in favour of the well-being of citizens, consumers and farmers. PAN – Europe network includes 38 associations, two of which are Italian : PAN- Italia and the Accademia delle Erbe Spontanee, in English ‘Wild Herbs Academy’ which both have headquarters in Ancona. Continue reading “Pesticide Action Network (PAN) – Europe”

Soil Association – Scotland

Ideas we may find original have often already been thought of. This is the case of Soil Association in Scotland. Looking at the name you may assume this is the “usual” group consisting of soil scientists or researchers, it is actually a group which lobbies for healthy food coming from sustainable use of soil and agriculture. Born in 1946, it is made to counter the changes taking place in the rural and agricultural world, currently under pressure from intensive agricultural and food production.

The Soil Association entirely patrols its trading subsidiary, the Soil Association Certification Limited, the largest organic certification body in the UK. This is managed in the manner of a non-profit organization, which aside from partly supporting the Soil Association strategy, generates funds which are then re-used within the Association’s wider scope. Within the framework is also the Soil Association Land Trust, a charity established especially to acquire and maintain farmland sustainably and to connect the public with land stewardship. Continue reading “Soil Association – Scotland”

4 per 1000 initiative: Poster Session

On 29th and 30th June of this year the second meeting for Members of the 4 per 1000 Consortium took place in Montpellier, and it aimed at reviewing all progresses made by the initiative, and recommendations from the Technical and Scientific Committee

In this occasion, an interesting Poster session presented projects related to the initiative, more specifically on food security, and on how to adapt to climate change.

The secretariat will present these posters at the SIP Forum’s meeting, which will take place in Bonn on 16 November.

The IRTA poster illustrates ways of retrieving data on emissions in agricultural systems in Mediterranean countries. This data makes it easier to evaluate the equilibrium of the organic matter in the soil, and suggest specific cultural practices for each case.

Bollettino n.40

Il Bollettino festeggia i suoi due anni di vita.

Ringraziamo lettori e amici e soprattutto coloro che ci hanno contattato, scritto, criticato !

1.ESPERIENZE: … e se i cittadini decidessero come usare le proprie tasse?


3.NOTIZIE SU SUOLO E ISTITUZIONI EUROPEE: Pesticide Action Network – Europe