The issues were many: and all were registering positive steps forward. This, in short, the outcome of the last meeting of the Leading Organic Alliance (LOA), in which the main players in the European organic met again to discuss on the development and harmonization of their voluntary certification schemes. This seventh meeting was organized in Maremma October 28 to 30, in collaboration with ICEA and Naturland, in the rural setting of the farm La Selva of Karl Egger , organic certified for over 30 years; that is one of the founder of Naturland and is certified by ICEA for Reg 834 and Naturland and BioSuisse standards. The national organizations present at the meeting - ICEA (Italy) , Naturland (Germany), Soil Association (UK), KRAV (Sweden), Debio (Norway), Ecovalia (Spain), EKO (Netherlands), Bioforum (Belgium), BioSuisse (Switzerland) and DIO (Greece) - reported on the main developments in their countries with a general growth of the organic market, even where the economic crisis is heavier, as in Greece, Spain and Italy.
Many results have emerged from the meeting, to be mentioned in particular:
- Substantial progress in the general path (and bilateral) for recognition of equivalence of different voluntary standards in this sense has been highly appreciated the work of ICEA coordinated by Annamaria Baraldi and presented by Federico Peduzzi, with an innovative approach that includes and evaluates the best sustainability practices in organic management;
- Discussion on the experiences of positioning on GMO micro-organisms (Soil Association) and the approach to common criteria for risk analysis and assessment of pesticide residues in organic products (Biocap NL), preparing the group to develop common positions and shared practices;
- Presentation of the first results of the working group on Packaging coordinated by Paolo Foglia (ICEA) with approval of specific guidelines and action program on the issue;
- Approval of the participation of LOA among the promoters of the Action Network "Family Farming Socially and Ecologically Responsible" with IFOAM, Fairtrade International and Helvetas (coordinated by ICEA);
- Approval of the plan proposed by KRAV for collective participation in BioFach 2015, and 2016;
- Discussion onthe review of the EU Organic Regulations;
- Sharing and discussion on priority issues in the field of IFOAM (World, EU, Mediterranean) and the most important upcoming international events.
In addition to a brief meeting at the next BioFach in Nuremberg (12-14 February 2014), the spring meeting of the LOA will take place in Norway organized by Debio, while the autumn one in Belgium will be hosted by BioForum.
Info ICEA: Antonio Compagnoni, International@icea.info