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Why agroecology should be the buzzword in EU farm policy negotiations

By Nicole Polsterer

The EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) revision may be being negotiated 1000s of miles away from the sun-drenched fields in Brazil, but decisions made in Europe will have a huge effect on how such land is used.

At the end of 2017 I was able to see two very different forms of farming first-hand. One - endless biodiversity free lines of soya was destined to fatten European livestock, the other small-scale Acai berries grown within biodiversity rich forest.

I was thinking of both as I attended the United Green Left and Nordic Green Left conference Building a Manifesto for a Green and Fair CAP.

Representatives from the health, environment, animal welfare, sustainable trade, development, and agroforestry fields were meeting to convince the European Commission to make fundamental changes.

And change is certainly needed - European agriculture is in a dismal state. The average age of a European farmer is 65; 25 per cent have quit farming in the past decade; biodiversity in Europe is declining; water pollution due to run off of fertilizers is a threat to public health; and the EU imports 14 million tonnes of soya form Brazil annually, much of it grown on illegally deforested land. CAP reform could help young farmers and those transitioning to ecological practises; instead they are being driven by industrial interests.

Guest Blog: Visible changes in Poland – but what about where change is less visible?

by Kasia Androsiuk and Nicole Gerard

Polish ecologists are greeting recent improvements in Poland’s political posture toward the European Union and to Białowieża forest with hope – and a measure of scepticism as to how deep Poland’s new willingness to oblige runs.

Response to the Verified Carbon Standard

By Fern

In November 2017, Fern published new research showing why forest carbon offsets should be ineligible for the United Nations (UN) ICAO. The VCS issued a public “rebuttal” to our publication.

Fern wishes to reassert why forest offsets and, more broadly offsetting itself, is not a viable solution to climate change or a way to protect communities’ rights.

Silas: No more business as usual - Belgian Premiere

On 6 February 2018, Fern is organising the screening of Silas at the Cinema Galeries at 19:00. Meet with Silas Siakor, 2006 Goldman Prize Winner.

Virgin Atlantic: A small victory in a bigger battle

By Julia Christian

Controversy has long plagued the Oddar Meanchey carbon offset project in Cambodia.

Solid evidence has been in the public domain for years that forests supposed to be protected by the project—which has been backed by the United Nations’ REDD+ scheme-- have in fact been systematically cleared by the Cambodian military.

How local rights can halt global wrongs: the legal path to sustainable farming in Brazil

by Nicole Polsterer

Agricultural expansion is devastating the world’s forests.

In Brazil the levelling of forests to grow soy to feed an insatiable export market has also led to human rights violations, including forced evictions, land grabs and violence.

While climate change wreaks havoc, airlines hide plans to double emissions behind a widely discredited scheme.

By Julia Christian

In Bonn last month delegates from around the world discussed how to implement the Paris Climate Change Agreement  – which aims to tackle the greatest threat currently facing the planet.

At exactly the same time almost 6,000 kilometres away in Montreal, representatives from the global aviation industry were hell-bent on undermining the Agreement’s aims.

The absurd scenario simultaneously playing out in different meeting rooms on different continents can be traced back to the 1997 climate talks in Kyoto.

Sacrificing South America’s forests on the altar of EU market access

The first trade talks between the European Union and the Mercosur bloc of nations - Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay – began almost 20 years ago. Since then they have stuttered through 28 rounds of negotiations, but this year it looks as if an agreement will finally be reached. A critical issue remains unresolved, however: the amount of beef the South American nations can export to the EU...

Guest Blog: Are European taxpayers funding land grabs and forest destruction?

By Mark Curtis

The central aim of European Development Financial Institutions (DFIs) is to foster growth and reduce poverty. Yet in Africa, evidence is mounting that they have funded ‘forestry’ projects which have caused deforestation, possible land grabs, and undermined communities’ livelihoods.

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