Resilience through Better Institutions (RBI)
Implementation time frame: July 2018 – June 2021
Countries where the project is being implemented: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)
This is the third IFOAM project in DPR Korea. The IFOAM intervention in DPR Kores began in 2012 with the BOKK I project and was followed with the BOKK II project that will run until 2019.
Non-sustainable agricultural practices have led to soil degradation and fertility losses, with a continuous trend of decreased food production capacity in DPRK, aggravated by vulnerability to recurrent extreme weather events, in particular floods and droughts. The 2017 Global Report on Food Crises estimates that 4,4 Mio or 17% of the entire population in DPRK is in IPC/CH Phase 3 or higher (Population in Crisis, Emergency and Famine) while the food insecure population estimated is at 10 Mio or 39%. Vulnerability to shocks is high and therefore there is an urgent need to enhance resilience and reduce the risk of food crisis. Building resilience involves making investments that strengthen the absorptive, adaptive and transformative capacities of vulnerable populations to cope with and recover from specific shocks and stressors. Organic Agriculture (OA) has considerable potential to contribute to enhanced resilience to food shocks. The multi-faceted environmental and social benefits of organic systems are long-term and robust.
Main objectives of the project
Result 1. A national organic knowledge platform is established, promoting organic agricultural practices to improve the resilience of the population in DPRK.
The establishment and consolidation of a platform providing leadership and catalysing action in promoting and coordinating implementation of OA interventions in the country will directly build on the achievements of previously and ongoing EC-funded actions. It will expand the reach and opportunities for disseminating OA knowledge and awareness to a broader group of stakeholders, in particular through in-country replication of conducted trainings and continuous content upgrading for the organic knowledge platform. Follow-up and regular monitoring and review of commonly agreed objectives, targets, priorities, as well as knowledge and capacities gaps, with broad participation of stakeholders, will be central to the functioning of the platform. The online presence will be strengthened through the expansion of the current Intranet knowledge database managed by PIINTEC, creating a single access point for national and international information related to OA and food security, integrating and systematizing existing information and making it more easily available to DPRK stakeholders. The consolidated platform will provide the opportunity for in-person collaboration among DPRK organisations to happen through structured processes
Result 2. PIINTEC is capacitated to efficiently coordinate the platform.
PIINTEC has become central in the development of OA in DPRK, through its role as resource organisation and host for the Capacity Building and Networking Center for Organic Agriculture (CBNC), located in PIINTEC’s office. IFOAM has supported capacity development for PIINTEC staff members and provided equipment for the actual running of the CNBC, as well as information and knowledge materials to be accessed via the CBNC (online and offline). Institutional strengthening is still necessary so that this coordinator role for a national organic knowledge platform is efficiently fulfilled, and the platform itself can perform as intended. Further capacity building in project cycle management, evaluation and monitoring are part of identified needs only partly covered by previous actions, as is support for efficient networking within and outside the country. The proposed action aims to further strengthen PIINTEC’s role in facilitating OA development, as it successively takes on more responsibilities: in providing services and access to continuously improved technical knowledge to DPRK partners; in coordinating OA and food security activities within DPRK also with foreign counterparts; and in advocating for the uptake of OA with government officials.
Result 3. Technical and institutional capacities at Ssangun Model Farm are further strengthened.
Having a well established and productive organic model farm, with the potential to capitalise on relevant, locally adapted organic practices and lessons learned, is essential for building resilience in the approach hereby proposed. Ssangun Farm, an 800-hectare cooperative farm operated by OADA, was chosen as model farm for an EC-funded action currently implemented by IFOAM. The cooperation with Ssangun Farm and OADA started in the framework of the concluded BOKK project. Ssangun Farm has been experimenting with organic practices since 2003 and established an organic fertilizer plant and some functional cropping systems. The farm managers indicated their interest to fully convert the farm to organic, which is a long-term process requiring regular assessment and provision of technical skills, practical knowledge and support to implement key organic techniques. The action will build on achievements of previous actions, in order to further build the skills and knowledge of the farm staff in a step-by-step approach, in particular for proper monitoring of trials and regular review of implementation of the farm management plan. PIINTEC works in close collaboration with OADA and Ssangun Farm, and can proactively perform as a local coach in the process of strengthening the model farm as an integrated diversified organic farming system, creating opportunities for hands on training at the model farm for stakeholders from other parts of the country, and supporting OADA in sharing lessons learned and best practices from there through the organic knowledge platform.
Result 4. DPRK officials (e.g. MOLEP, etc.) gained important knowledge on public policy support for OA development.
Investment in OA is a way to achieve a variety of political objectives, in particular transitioning to a food system that is less dependent on agrochemical imports, and is more resilient. Policy makers willing to make such investments need support to decide on what types of policy support to adopt, depending on their rationale and aims for intervention, and to design policies that are adapted to their specific context. While showcasing the benefits of OA practices to government officials and policy makers can contribute to creating change in the agricultural sector, in particular in the context of DPRK, promoting the development of public supporting measures has the potential for stronger impact on the uptake of OA. The proposed action will promote awareness among government officials about the reasons that justify public support to OA and in terms of the different options of policy measures available, building technical capacity by providing examples and guidelines on possible implementation and creating opportunities for exchange with foreign counterparts.
Partners: Pyongyang International Information Center for New Technology and Economy (PIINTEC)
Main local stakeholders: Organic Agriculture DEvelopment Agency (OADA), Agricultural Academy of Sciences (AAS), Pyongyang Vegetable Research Center (PVRI)
Donor organization: European Union
Contact person: Alejandro Espinoza – a.espinoza [at] ifoam.bio