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European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming

The first European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming was published 10th of June 2004, the second action plan on March 25, 2014. A milestone list with links to relevant documents is available below.

July 2008: European Commission launches new promotional campaign for organic food and farming

The European Commission launched the European Union's new Organic Farming Campaign on July 26, 2008 at the Foire de Libramont agricultural fair in Belgium. Under the campaign slogan: “Organic farming. Good for nature, good for you”, the promotional campaign aims to inform consumers about the meaning and benefits of organic farming and food production.

The campaign is one of the key action of the European Action Plan on Organic Food and Farming and will focus on increasing consumer awareness and recognition of organic products, and especially on young people and children to carry the organic idea into the future.

Links

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July 2, 2008: Guidelines for Successful Organic Action Plan Development and Evaluation Presented

A new practical manual and evaluation toolbox for the development, implementation and evaluation of organic food and farming action plans designed to support the European and national action plans for organic food and farming were presented to the meeting of the Standing Committee on Organic Farming in Brussels on 2nd July 2008 and discussed with the EU member state delegates and the European Commission’s Organic Farming Unit.

The manual and toolbox are the main outputs of the EU-funded ORGAP project, which was set up to help evaluate the EU action plan for organic food and farming. The manual was produced as a practical guide to inspire the people, organisations and institutions involved, or with an interest. in the organic food and farming sector, to engage in the initiation, implementation, revision and renewal of regional, national, and European Organic Action Plans.

Otto Schmid from the Swiss Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, who co-ordinated the project, said: “The project partnership has worked for three years, to understand the success factors involved in action plans, building on experiences gained in previous research, and from engagement with stakeholders involved in national action plans. The manual with its “Golden Rules” for the successful development, monitoring and evaluation of action plans represents a valuable resource for all those engaged in this type of work. We acknowledge very much the financial support of the European Commission under the 6th Research Framework Programme for this project.”

The Organic Action Plan Evaluation Toolbox (ORGAPET), which accompanies the manual and is also available on-line, provides and in-depth guide to the steps that need to be taken, and the issues that need to be addressed, in evaluation organic action plans. The toolbox proposes a range of indicators that can be used to cover the many different objectives of action plans, and considers how stakeholder involvement can be encouraged and evaluated.

Nic Lampkin from Aberystwyth University, who led the work on the development of the toolbox, said: “Policy evaluation is now well-established as a tool to ensure more effective policies and actions by governments. We have been able to link specific perspectives on organic food and farming and organic action plans to the policy evaluation frameworks used by the Commission and by EU member states, to create what we hope will prove a useful tool to aid development of better policies for organic food and farming in Europe.”

Source: fibl.org: Press release of July 9, 2008 of the Research nstitute of Organic Agriculture: Guidelines for successful organic action plan development and evaluation welcomed in Brussels

Further information

Contact

  • Otto Schmid, project coordinator, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Frick, Switzerland, Tel. +41 (0)62 865-7272

Download the manual

The ORGAP project

The European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming was launched by the European Commission in 2004. Many European countries have developed national or regional Organic Action Plans to promote and support organic agriculture. Details can be found on the ORGAP website www.orgap.org.

The EU-funded ORGAP project, “European Action Plan of Organic Food and Farming - Development of criteria and procedures for the evaluation of the EU Action Plan for Organic Agriculture” (www.orgap.org) was started in 2005 and completed this year. The background research leading to the development of the manual and toolbox included reviews of the content and evaluations of national actions plans, workshops with stakeholders to identify relevant issues and indicators for evaluation, and the testing of the toolbox in the context of the EU organic action plan.

Project partners

  • Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Switzerland
  • Aberystwyth University, Institute of Rural Sciences, Wales
  • University of Hohenheim, Department of Farm Economics, Germa
  • University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Department of Political Science and Public Management, Denmark
  • Polytechnic University of Marche (DIIGA), Italy
  • IFOAM EU-Group, Brussels, Belgium
  • Institute for Sustainable Development, Slovenia
  • Research Institute of Agricultural Economics (VÚZE), Czech Republic
  • Agricultural and Rural Development Department, Agricultural Economics Research Institute (LEI), The Netherlands
  • Sociedad Española de Agricultura Ecológica (SEAE), Spain

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May 2005: European Research Project Evaluation of the European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming ORGAP launched

The European funded research project Evaluation of the European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming (ORGAP) gives scientific support for the implementation of the European Action Plan, and it will assess its long-term and short-term effects. The project started in May 2005 and will run until December 2008.

The project aims are:

  • Develop a toolbox to evaluate and monitor the implementation of the European Action Plan in the following areas: information, training and education, research, production, processing, market development, certification, public expenditures.
  • Test the toolbox on a selected existing national action plans.
  • Identify conflict areas between targets of European and national action plans.
  • Analyse the implementation processes and procedures.
  • Make policy recommendation to the European Commission, national authorities as well as further actors.

Links

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September 28, 2004: IFOAM EU Group critically welcomes the European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming

In September 2004 the IFOAM European Union Group of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) published its analysis of the European Action Plan for Food and Farming and congratulates the European Commission for the development of the plan presented in June 2004. The plan stresses the important role organic farming has to play in making European agriculture more sustainable, environmentally friendly and responsive to consumer demands.

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June 10, 2004: European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming published

The European Commission's 'European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming' was published June 10, 2004. The Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming sets out 21 initiatives to achieve the objectives of developing the market for organic food and improving standards by increasing efficacy, transparency and consumer confidence.

The plan aims to achieve measures such as improving information about organic farming, streamlining public support via rural development, improving production standards or strengthening research.

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January 22, 2004: European Hearing on Organic Food and Farming - Towards a European Action Plan

On January 22, 2004 the European Commission held a 'European Hearing on Organic Food and Farming – Towards a European Action Plan' in Brussels. The main purpose of this hearing was to listen to the views of the widest possible range of stakeholders, to experts in the agricultural, environmental and consumer field and to hear from pilot initiatives. Following this public hearing, the Commission is preparing an Action Plan in the form of a Communication to the European Council and Parliament, including a list of possible actions to boost organic farming. The Brussels hearing provided the Commission with the most complete and appropriate guidance from stakeholders with a view to drawing up this Action Plan.

Over a 100 stakeholder organisations, Agricultural Ministers from Member States, Acceeding and Candidate Countries and the press participated in this conference.

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February, 2003: Online consultation of the European Commission on the Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming

In February 2003, the working document and a questionnaire with 12 key points were put on the Commission's web site. The public was invited to react to the questions and to give additional comments on the working paper by 16 March 2003. A "Report on the results of the online consultation: Action Plan for organic food and farming" was published.

Further information

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December 12, 2002: Commission paper: Analysis of the possibility of a European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming

In December 2002 the European Commission released a staff working paper with an Analysis of the possibility of a European Action Plan for organic food and farming.

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June 19, 2001: Council of Agricultural Ministers invites the European Commission to consider a European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming

Following two conferences on organic farming, held in Austria 1999 and in Denmark 2001, the Agricultural Council agreed on conclusions on organic farming. The Commission was invited to consider a European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming. In recognising that organic farming was one way of achieving sustainable development, the conclusions also invite the Euroepan Commission, the Member States and stakeholders to share ideas on what further action could be taken at European Union level and mentioned the possibility of a European action plan.

Here an extract from the press release on the meeting.

The Council

  1. Recognises organic farming as one way to achieve a sustainable development.
  2. NOTES the importance of Council Regulation 2092/91 of 24 June 1991 on organic production of agricultural products and indications referring thereto on agricultural products and foodstuffs.
  3. NOTES that the Member States, within the framework of their Rural Development Programs, in accordance with the Council Regulation 1257/1999 of 17 May 1999, have the possibility to promote organic farming.
  4. RECOGNISES the importance of the ongoing work regarding inter alia labelling of organic fodder, control of the organic production and implementing the rules on organic livestock.
  5. NOTES that the consumer interest in organic products increases in Europe.
  6. INVITES the Member States, the Commission and stakeholders to share ideas on what further action at European Union level could facilitate production, processing, trade and consumption of organic products in Europe and in the light of these ideas
  7. INVITES the Commission to analyse the possibility of a European Union action plan to promote organic food and farming and present appropriate proposals."

Source: Press release of the Agricultural Council meeting Luxembourg, June 2001, including the conclusions on organic farming and the European Action Plan

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May 10/11, 2001: Conference Organic Food and Farming and the Copenhagen Declaration

At the conference "Organic Food and Farming -towards partnership and action", held May 2001 near Copenhagen, Agriculture ministers from 12 European countries called for a European action plan for the development of organic farming and food. This conference was a major step towards the European action plan. The Copenhagen Declaration was signed by agricultural ministers and by IFOAM, by representatives of European farmers' association Copa, by the European association of consumer cooperatives Euro Coop, and the European Environmental Bureau. The conference had been organized by the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and been initiated by Ritt Bjerregaard, the Danish agricultural Minister at the time.

According to the Copenhagen Declaration in the next two years the European Action Plan should:

1. Analyse the barriers to and potential for further growth within production, processing, trade and consumption of organic products in Europe.

2. Present a consensus-oriented and market-based strategy, which involves all stakeholders within Europe as a whole, including the European Commission, national governments, consumers, farmers, producers, retailers, NGO's, researchers and other important stakeholders.

3. Cover all aspects concerning the development of organic food and farming in Europe, including areas such as environmental protection, animal welfare, consumer-behaviour, market-development, food-safety, food-quality, regulation, certification and labelling, research and international trade.

4. Analyse the relationship between, on the one hand the opportunities for the further development of organic food and farming and, on the other hand the Common Agricultural Policy and other international agreements including WTO and Codex Alimentarius.

Many representatives of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) contributed to the conference as speakers or as moderators.

Gunnar Rundgren, president of IFOAM, said in his speech: "We are welcoming the initiative to create an EU wide Action Plan for organic agriculture. We also welcome that there is, at this stage, a commitment to the inclusion of all stakeholders in the process."

Further information

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May 27/28, 1999: EU Conference "Organic Farming in the European Union - Perspectives for the 21st Century

The conference "Organic Farming in the European Union - Perspectives for the 21st Century", organised by the Austrian Ministry of Agriculture that took place near Vienna, 27/28 May 1999. It united government and EU officials, researchers and representatives of the organic sector to discuss the future prospects of European Organic Agriculture, thus being an important milestone towards the European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming. Unfortunately the conference homepage is not online any more.

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