|For many countries of the world, agriculture is the most important economic sector, with its potential to impact many aspects of sustainability: food security, public and human health, poverty, employment, trade, climate change, the use of natural resources (especially land and water), and biodiversity.
However, this sector is facing several challenges that might lead to grave economic, social and environmental consequences:
Organic Agriculture offers an environmentally friendly and sustainable production system, which offers a broad range of economic, social, environmental, and cultural benefits at the national level and through international trade.
UNEP is pushing for organic agriculture to be developed with its international and national partners by organising six national workshops, in Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine.
- The growth rate of agricultural productivity is declining on a global scale. In a range of countries productivity is actually falling;
- The agricultural sector, and agricultural production depends on subsidies, particularly in developed economies. In 2008, agricultural subsidies in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries amounted to US$265 billion.
- The consequences of use of chemicals in agriculture are becoming increasingly evident, and agriculture is now a major cause of biodiversity loss.
- About 13-15 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, mainly due to its heavy reliance on nitrogen fertilizers. Nitrous oxide has global warming potential that is 310 times greater than CO2.
This organic agriculture project aims at launching a sub regional initiative, with the first core action being the development of a Green Economy Scoping Study for the EECCA sub-region. Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine were the three leading pilot countries in which national level projects were launched. These national studies collect and analyse data to provide an overview of the sector and present the potential economic returns, income generation, job creation, and poverty reduction benefits that can be achieved by investing in sustainable forms of agriculture. Each study develops a package of policy reforms, investments, and capacity building measures for fostering a transition to a green economy. The national studie, in turn, feed into the sub-regional synthesis report. The synthesis draws off the strong and convincing evidence offered by the national studies to support a plan for transitioning to a green economy.