The national delegates met in Luxembourg on March 8th and 9th, 2019 for their annual statutory general assembly.
Before the meeting chairman Wilhelm Wohatschek and general secretary Malou Weirich had a meeting with Romain Schneider, minister for Agriculture. During this meeting they could present the Office’s new strategies to the Minister.
He assured them that he will both morally and financially support the publishing of the brochure “The soil is living” in several languages.
The executive board and the national delegates thank the minister very heartily for his recognition and support.
In addition to the statutory missions, the conclusions from the study session in Kortrijk were drawn. The cornerstones for a greater internal and external efficiency of our work were further discussed.
The Office homepage should present examples of good practice and be developed to become a platform to present knowledge and expertise. To this effect it was decided to acquire an expertise in the domains as for example: climate, water, public space, thanks to a cooperation between two or more federations.
The Dutch federation presented its activities, successes, problems as well as its innovative strategy for the future in a very interesting lecture. In the future they will, in addition to their current missions, focus especially on amateur gardeners who are not members of the federation.
All the other federations informed on their activities. This exchange brought interesting insights and gave – according to what was needed – stimulations for national activities.
The next issues of the Hyphen will deal for example with the topics: Environment justice, diversity of allotments, pilot projects of the federations.
The Office and the affiliated federations will also take part in the week without pesticides in 2019 and publish a memorandum on the Office homepage, the national homepages as well as in the national allotment magazines.
The delegates will meet again during their study session in Graz (Austria) on coming 21st August.
The next statutory general assembly will take place in Luxembourg on March 6th and 7th, 2020.
Dear allotment gardeners
“It is amazing what you can do, if you just have the courage to try”.
You may be wondering why I am writing this sentence at the beginning of this article at the start of this new year.
The national federations and the Office, i.e. the whole allotment movement, are facing great challenges, both internally and externally, in order to properly shape the future. The considerations have already started to respond to our new environment. Courage and farsightedness are necessary.
Internally, we must increasingly become a service organisation for our members. Our magazines should be modernised, wherever necessary. Not only information from our associations, but also examples of good practice from home and abroad, as well as subjects as for example ecological gardening, permaculture, climate change, water protection etc. should be dealt with. A reactive homepage, a good facebook site and the use of other social media will further carry our suggestions inward and outward. An optimal networking with other allotment organisations and the conclusion of strategic partnerships will support our efforts and help us to make us more visible.
Additionally, we have to train our associations and members and give them the necessary assistance in their garden and in the associative life: specialist gardening advice, seminars concerning the application for financial support, club management, accounting, conflict solutions etc. These are just a few examples of our commitment towards the individual allotment gardeners and associations.
Also externally, in a new environment, we have to position ourselves differently.
Today, the new forms of urban gardening are enormously praised by people and politicians and the allotments, part of this urban gardening, are often forgotten. Our many years of experience and our continuous contribution in the social and environmental areas are not sufficiently perceived. Other “green organisations” often try vocally and without any consideration to push us aside.
Furthermore, there is on one hand a lack of land to create more plots in urban areas, while on the other hand we find vacancies in rural areas.
In order to counteract this tendency we have to be better perceived. People, other organisations and authorities need to understand what we stand for, today and tomorrow. We have to underline our advantages, our services to society, our experience and know-how. We have to work out a vision for our movement, a vision that will enable us to make the movement, wherever necessary, more efficient, to promote and protect it. A pioneering spirit is needed.
The members have to understand what we do; they have to be taken on board. This vision, this common goal, must then unite the members and motivate them to work together with their boards for the development and the taking into consideration of our concerns.
We need progress: we have to innovate and to find solutions to the new challenges.
On the one hand, we have to reduce the plot size to shorten the waiting lists, to take into account the problem of lack of time of the working people and their lack of horticultural knowledge. On the other hand, we have to carry out projects on empty plots, involve partners and work out with the authorities, wherever necessary, an allotment development scheme and find solutions acceptable for all …….
In these reflexions and actions we can/must consider the statement of Bill BRADLEY: “Ambition is the way to success, perseverance is the necessary instrument”.
I wish you good health for 2019 as well as courage, ambition, pioneering spirit, optimism and perseverance, in order to consolidate and develop our movement.
Secretary General of the International Office du Coin de Terre et des Jardins Familiaux
Recommendation of the Conference of INGOs* of the Council of Europe
for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) to be held in Katowice, Poland, from 3 to 14 December 2018
Alarmed by the violence, the diversity and impact of climatic disturbances, which are becoming more intense and more widespread;
Alarmed by the conclusions of the last report of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Climate Change, adopted on 8 October 2018 by the delegations of State Parties in Incheon (South Korea), which makes the future of the planet more dependent than ever on decisions related to human activity, and by the absolute silence of political leaders regarding this report;
Concerned by the inability of the signatory States to the Paris Agreement (2015) to implement their commitment to maintain or reduce their own GHG emissions in order to achieve the overall target of +2°, which is reduced again today;
Being aware of the difficulties of the drafting and future implementation of the Rule Book of the above Agreement by numerous signatory states with their very diverse levels of political, economic and social development as well as a very uneven level of awareness and regulation of human rights;
Considering the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948, whose 70th anniversary will coincide with COP24;
Considering the specific reference to human rights in the Stockholm (1972) and Rio (1992 and 2012) Earth Summits ;
Considering that the United Nations Framework Agreement on Climate Change adopted in Rio in 1992 stipulates that "The Parties should protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities";
Recalling that the Millennium Development Goals state that those concerning health and environmental protection can be achieved while guaranteeing human rights; that the development goals 13-16 are focussed on environment and climate questions and that the COP23 decision 3 recommends an equal representation of women and men on all levels of decision making and of the fight against climate change ;
Considering the principles and values promoted by the Council of Europe, through its founding text, the European Convention on Human Rights (1950), but also through the European Social Charter (1996), the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (1979) and the European Landscape Convention (2000);
Considering the Recommendation CM/Rec(2002)1 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Spatial Development of the European Continent;
Recalling the Recommendation 1885(2009) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the drafting of an additional protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the right to a healthy environment;
Appreciating that public access to information and justice and public participation in decision-making, recognised in principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on the Environment and Development as essential human rights, have been formalised in the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention, 1998);
Considering the Guidelines CM(2017)83 on civil participation in political decision-making of 27 September 2017 and Recommendation CM/Rec(2018)4 of 21 March 2018 adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on citizens' participation in public life at local level;
Supporting the statement of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment of 8 October 2018 at the date of the publication of the latest IPCC report that: "Climate change is considered to be one of the greatest threats to human rights... It has and will have devastating effects on a wide range of human rights, including the right to life, health, food, housing and water, as well as the right to a healthy environment.";
Considering the above-mentioned report, which recalls the absolute urgency of respecting the Paris Agreements to keep the increase in global temperature below 1.5°;
The NGOs with participatory status with the Council of Europe:
- affirm the utmost importance of placing climate change at the top of the agenda in order to ensure the future of humanity and the planet;
- are convinced that the necessary and urgent solutions can only be found by involving the whole of civil society at all levels of mobilisation and decision-making;
- demand that international negotiations go beyond the strict context of greenhouse gas reductions and include the protection of the fundamental rights of all human beings, taking into account the impact of all phenomena related to climate change on the enjoyment of these rights;
- demand that respect for the right to life, dignity and mobility include the establishment of international rules that require States and regional institutions such as the EU, regional and local authorities to take immediate consideration of:
o the threat to habitats, water and food resources from extreme weather events and slow degradation of soils and subsoils;
o regular assessment of natural and industrial risks aggravated by climate change;
o prevention of political and social conflicts related to the resulting sharing of resources;
o admission of populations driven out of their territory by rising water levels, the scarcity of vital goods or the deprivation of essential services;
o compensation of populations deprived of their property, aid or assistance to these populations;
o consideration for the poorest and most vulnerable populations, being potentially the most exposed;
- recommend that States and regional institutions put in place effective and fair regulatory measures accompanied by financial incentives to achieve the goals set out in the above-mentioned texts.
*(INGO ... Conference gathering 307 international NGOs having participatory status with the Council of 'Europe)