Pacific Organic & Ethical Trade Community


Posted On: November 12, 2020

Twenty nine IFOAM Organics International members and friends in the Oceania region met on a zoom call on 26 August to discuss ways to enhance communication and collaboration in the organic movement across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. In particular in light of the proposed changes to the IFOAM membership structure and the role of regional bodies in the structure – given that Oceania is one of the few regions that does not have a formal regional structure.

IFOAM Executive Director Louise Luttikholt joined the meeting to share details of the progress made on implementing resolutions of the 2017 General Assembly in New Delhi in 2017 where the members voted to reform the membership structure of the IFOAM Organics International and to develop a membership strategy and to bring greater clarity to the role of the regional bodies and self organised structures such as IFOAM Europe and the farmers group INOFO, the Intercontinental Network of Organic Farmers Organisations.

Louise reported that the World Board initiated this process which resulted in the formation of the IFOAM Action Group to undertake the consultative process led by a small group of executives from the self organised structures.

Based on surveys and consultations, draft motions for the 2021 General Assembly consideration are being finalised to include the following:

  • to include the self organised structures in future strategy development of IFOAM – Organics International, starting 2022, in a participatory manner with a vision that the new strategy also functions as a framework for the whole IFOAM Network.
  • to establish a network committee to integrate inter-regional activities with those of the international office, facilitate exchange of information and improve collaboration and create synergies within the IFOAM Network. The committee will operate on management level. To reflect the difference in mandates between Regional Bodies, sectoral and national platforms
  • to recognise INOFO as an integral part of the IFOAM Network, a cross cut of all Organic Farmers Organisations embedded in Regional Bodies.
  • to encourage national organic movements to organize independently, join IFOAM as members, and relate to their respective Regional Bodies.

With regards to the membership, the draft motion is that membership to IFOAM – Organics International automatically confers membership to the appropriate regional body and, in the case of farmers’ organisations, membership to INOFO. For example: an organic farmers ‘organisation in India that applies to IFOAM would become, after approval, member of IFOAM Organics International, IFOAM Asia and INOFO.

While it was agreed that it was too early to dive straight into forming a regional body, participants in the meeting were all enthusiastic to find a way to improve communication and possible cooperation on shared priorities across the region. A small team of volunteers has taken on the task to develop some ideas on how this might happen.  Anyone interested in joining the coordination team or joining a mailing list for the wider group to receive information please contact Karen Mapusua

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