Statement of Candidacy
My interest in organic agriculture arose out of two passions. First, food; food that no only tastes good, real and flavorful but also that nourishes is an important factor in my becoming engaged in the organic movement. This interest has only expanded over the years as I watch so many of my peers succumb to diet-related diseases far too young. Second, concern for our shared environment; what is happening to it, and how are our food systems are contributing to the growing array of environmental problems? This concern too has only grown as I watch the impact of climate change on my Pacific islands home.
That said, I believe that farmers need to be at the heart of everything IFOAM – Organics International does. It is my firm belief that the organic movement, through IFOAM – Organics International, needs to:
– Play a pivotal role in a necessary and fundamental transformation of agriculture from a problem to a solution. To where organic, regenerative agriculture becomes a solution to our most pressing needs of food and nutritional security in the face of a changing climate, easing the burden of disease, biodiversity loss and fresh water insecurity.
– See Organic 3.0 progress in aligning the organic movement, based on the four core principles, to be a contributor to holistic social, economic and environmental sustainability. For the Pacific region, and I believe many areas of the globe, the link between agriculture and our indigenous cultures is a necessary part of these holistic solutions.
– Play a stronger role through the IFOAM - Organics International Self- Organized Structures, including regional bodies, to advocate against GMO and pesticide use and to educate and influence policy and decision makers.
– Continue supporting development of systems such as PGS, working for equivalence in organic standards, and ensuring that social justice is not forgotten. Ensuring that accessible, relevant organic certification is a key to livelihoods for many of our farmers.
IFOAM has to maintain a balance between providing services to members and service to the planet. We need to ensure that likeminded movements have a better understanding of organic principles and unite, through strategic alliances, in not only the organic sector, but also with other groups and organizations that share similar visions. This will ultimately also benefit IFOAM – Organics International members.
If elected to the World Board, I will bring experience of a diverse and rich region of the world to IFOAM - Organics International, my extensive networking and advocacy skills, experience in board work and passion for the organic movement. I will offer my time, commitment and skills to the World Board team and staff and fully serve IFOAM - Organics International members to the best of my ability. I thank you for taking the time to read my statement.
Background of Candidate/ Resume
Organic agriculture has an important role to play in addressing so many of our current issues – climate, food and nutritional insecurity, loss of biodiversity, protecting water sources, creating livelihoods, and even protection of human and cultural rights. I value the role IFOAM - Organics International has been playing to engage the organic movement in these important issues, and through candidature for the World Board I hope to be able to play a strong role in supporting organic farmers as the leaders in the dramatic change that is required for our planet’s future.
Board Member, Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand 2012- 2017 (tenure completes 2018)
Coordinator Pacific Organic & Ethical Trade Community 2012 - 2016
Volunteer Secretary Regional Organic Task Force 2008 – 2012
Women in Business Development, Samoa Organic Programme 2006-2012
– Involved in development of the Pacific Organic Standard – the first organic standard that contains requirements around climate change mitigation and adaptation.
– Supported development of Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCom), a network across 15 Pacific Island countries and territories with over 40 member organizations reaching thousands of organic growers.
– Initiated an Organic Tourism and Hospitality Standard helping to facilitate farm to table linkages for small holders;
– Developed regional PGS system where all approved PGS carry a regional organic mark, facilitating trade and creating local market recognition of organic products and;
– Initiated an online Policy Toolkit to assist governments and stakeholders develop supportive policy environments.
Advocacy has been a strong focus and I have led initiatives to have organic agriculture recognized as more than a production system but a valuable tool in the Pacific regions development aspirations. Outcomes include:
– Organic agriculture is included in the outcomes document of the UN Small Islands Developing States meeting held in 2014.
– Council of Regional Governments and Administrations (CRGA), the Ministry’s of Foreign Affairs of the 24 member state Pacific have directed the Pacific Community to establish its first organic agriculture program.
The advocacy role has also lead to many invitations to speak internationally on organic agriculture for small holders in less developed countries. Presentations include to the;
– Governing Council of the International Trade Centre in 2011;
– staff of IFAD HQ (2014);
– Small Island States Ambassadors based in Europe (2014);
– Least Developed Countries Ministerial Meeting in Benin (2014), and
– Women’s World Economic Forum in Mauritius (2016).