Organic Cities Network Europe and IFOAM

The conference that launched the network of European cities committed to organic farming, the Organic Cities Network Europe, was held in January 2018 in Paris. Many cities have signed up to this important initiative: Nuremberg and Lauf (Germany), Milan (Italy), Vienna and Seeham (Austria), Paris and Correns (France), Porec (Croatia), Växjö (Sweden) and others.

The Organic Cities Network Europe and IFOAM EU signed a Memorandum of Understanding to give a strong foundation to their collaboration to work together towards a fair, environmentally conscious, healthy and caring food and farming system. The Organic Cities Network Europe and IFOAM EU will cooperate on the future of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), regional and local food supply chains, Green Public Procurement (GPP) policies, research and innovation, the true cost of food, increasing the transparency of supply chains, and access to land for new organic farmers.

To make the European organic movement’s shared ‘Organic Vision for Europe to 2030’ a reality, IFOAM EU published a roadmap to sustainable food and farming systems in Europe  – including a publication and website with inspiring initiatives. The roadmap is accompanied by a website – – featuring initiatives leading the way. Continua a leggere “Organic Cities Network Europe and IFOAM”



A conference organized by the Environment DG of the European Commission was held on 5 April 2019 at the EESC (European Economic and Social Committee): Brownfield redevelopment in the EU.

Brownfields are sites that have been affected by the former uses of the site and the surrounding land; are derelict or underused; have real or perceived contamination problems; are mainly in developed urban areas; require intervention to bring them back to beneficial use. In other words, urban or urbanized abandoned areas with pollution problems according to the rules on land reclamation and remediation.

With this conference, the European Commission aimed to promote brownfield redevelopment as a solution to limit urban sprawl, land take and soil sealing. During the day, inspiring policies, challenges and good practices for brownfield redevelopment were presented by European, regional and local stakeholders and the potential offered by EU funds was explored. Continua a leggere “Brownfield”

Reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

“Take a good look at yourself” is an expression that sums up the need to decide who we are and what we want. So let’s gird our loins and take a look at the study Europe’s approach to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals: good practices and the way forward. In over 160 pages the study analyses the attainment of the 17 SDGs in each EU member state.

The study was carried out at the request of the European Parliament and is the “mirror” in which we need to scrutinize ourselves. The EU’s image emerges from the comparison of the data from all 28 States and gives us an idea of the state of activities and development policies at EU level.

The snapshot that emerges is, fortunately, if not reassuing then at least not damning for the EU. We are still the area of the world with the most advanced legislation and the highest level of attention to the safeguarding of the environment and of people’s health. Furthermore, every EU member state is progressively carrying out changes that take the SDGs into account. Continua a leggere “Reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”

ECA Report on Desertification

ECA is the acronym of European Court of Auditors which is the institution that acts as the independent guardian of the financial interests of the citizens of the European Union (EU). Its mission is to contribute to improving EU financial management, promote accountability and transparency. The starting point for its audit work is the EU’s budget and policies, primarily in areas relating to growth and jobs, added value, public finances, the environment and climate action. The ECA audits the budget in terms of both revenue and spending. The aim is improving public accountability in the EU and providing reports for EU policymakers and citizens.

One of these reports is of great interest because it deals directly with the soil. The title is ‘Combating desertification in the EU: a growing threat in need of more action‘. Continua a leggere “ECA Report on Desertification”

We must ally with our soils!

The speech made by Greta Thunberg at Katowice is still ringing in our ears. We are not just responsible for but guilty of our own inability to halt the planet’s decline. It is incumbent upon every one of us to get involved, and we must act now.

This is why we seek out and create opportunities for dialogue with all potential soil users. It is no longer a matter of “persuading” them of its necessity for human life, but rather of finding a way of saving it for the sake of ourselves and future generations who are now pointing to us as being the people responsible for the failure to act in the face of disaster.

We therefore welcome the concrete attempt to bring around the table the various interest groups who use the soil. On 23 January a Round Table took place at the European Parliament with the title: “We must ally with our soils!” This meeting between representatives of the building trade, farmers, planners, administrators, trade unionists, researchers, representatives of civil society and EU institutions was not an easy one. Not all those who were invited turned up. Unfortunately there is still some fear and reluctance about sitting round the same table and accepting the presence of a wide range of different participants.

There is a need to break the ice, dispel fear, facilitate mutual understanding … and to realize that it is not a matter of protecting one’s own interests but of survival itself. The outcome of the Round Table, in brief, was to identify possible convergences, bring about a willingness to discuss and map out an achievable common path. All though this might seem like a list of good intentions, it is the outcome of an open and at times difficult discussion, which nevertheless ended in agreement.

The participants agreed on the following 4 topics:

  1. Public awareness, communication, education on soil use and its importance for life and human rights
  2. Political will: protect the soil, enhance agriculture and food, the need for a common legal framework

iii.   Face up to private property

  1. Appreciation of the economic interests directly or indirectly linked to soils

Now that this first step has been taken, it is the job of all those who attended to continue on the path of cultivating and nurturing an achievable common process that can lead to the creation of European legislation that will be widely acceptable.

The Round Table Report is attached below as a web file, the full printable version is available here .

The soil: how much do we value this critical resource?

How much do we value the soil?” is the question posed by a recent publication from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre. It is neither a guide nor a manual for the economic valuation of a material good. It is a publication designed to remind people of the importance of the soil for the survival of humanity through the research carried out by the JRC.

Continua a leggere “The soil: how much do we value this critical resource?”

Suolo: quanto valutiamo questa critica risorsa?

Quanto valutiamo il suolo?” è la domanda della recente pubblicazione del Centro Comune di Ricerca della Commissione Europea. Non è una guida né un manuale per la valutazione economica di un bene materiale. È una pubblicazione destinata a ricordare l’importanza del suolo per la sopravvivenza della vita umana attraverso le azioni di ricerca del CCR.

Potrebbe essere considerato un documento autocelebrativo, invece è una rapida analisi delle carenze che si riferiscono alla salvaguardia del suolo – critica risorsa – per la nostra e le future generazioni. Risulta evidente che il maggiore ostacolo deriva dalla mancata attenzione dei servizi e della resilienza forniti dal suolo da parte del mondo politico e dalla scarsa consapevolezza in società sempre più urbanizzate. Continua a leggere “Suolo: quanto valutiamo questa critica risorsa?”

Declaration Pesticide Free Towns

The SIP Forum signed the declaration from Mayors and MEPs which was officially presented to the Round Table on Pesticide Free Towns held at the European Parliament on 27 September 2018. The swift adoption at European level of a law (already passed in France) prohibiting the use and sale of chemical pesticides in urban areas would both protect the health of people living in those areas and encourage the survival  of the microrganisms, fauna and flora that live in the soil and are at severe risk from pesticides.

The SIP Forum regards support for this declaration to be a first step towards educating mayors and their administrations. Without waiting for specific laws or regulations, municipalities can take steps to implement the content of the declaration, which springs from simple good sense. Many mayors from various EU countries, and Italy in particular, have already introduced municipal regulations leading to the elimination and non-use of pesticides in the areas they govern. The first step is to start by informing and educating Continua a leggere “Declaration Pesticide Free Towns”