Greening economies in the Eastern neighbourhoods: Organic Agriculture (EaP Green)
UN Environment assists governments to reshape policies for a greener future. As part of this mandate, UN Environment forms part of the Greening Economies in the Eastern Neighbourhood (EaP GREEN) programme. The programme is financed by the European Commission and implemented jointly among UN Environment, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
Under this initiative, UN Environment aims to create momentum for a transition towards a green economy in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) by building local capacity for expanding the trade opportunities offered by organic agriculture.
Green agriculture helps to address both environmental degradation and poverty. The Eastern European, Caucasus and Central Asian (EECCA) region is ideal for the promotion of organic agriculture due to historically low levels of pesticide and fertilizer usage, a large share of small farms, high availability of agricultural labour and close proximity to the rapidly growing EU organic market.
Agriculture makes a substantial contribution to the GDP of many countries in this region and a shift to widespread organic production offers a range of opportunities, linked to a promising export market for organic products, such as:
- developing new businesses in farming and processing;
- creating new rewarding jobs;
- building and preserving natural capital;
- improving ecosystem services;
- as well as reducing pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and other socio-environmental externalities.
These benefits were underlined by UN Environment’s scoping studies on green economy and organic agriculture in Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine, that were carried out in 2011. These studies revealed concrete commercial benefits of expanding organic production in the region, including that:
- Higher prices of organic produce might improve the standard of living of rural communities;
- Organic production allows farmers to access stable markets in the integrated modern value chains;
- Organic production can revitalize the food and farm sector because it requires new inputs (e.g. biological pest control agents), equipment, knowledge, and services – all of which create new businesses and job opportunities.
Promoting Organic Agriculture under the Greening Economies in the Eastern Neighbourhood (EaP GREEN) programme
The organic agriculture component of EaP-GREEN which is led by UN Environment focuses on expanding domestic organic agri-food supply chains and fostering foreign organic trade exchanges. Currently, the project focuses on awareness raising and capacity building in Armenia, Moldova, and Ukraine.
The project outcomes, as well as the lessons learned during its implementation, should offer ideas and opportunities for scaling up a green economy transition across the Eastern European, Caucasus and Central Asian (EECCA) region. In particular, Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Georgia could benefit from greener agricultural practices and will be involved in future discussions surrounding this project.
Video: “Follow your instinct! Eat Organic"
The video was produced as part of the EaP-GREEN project to support awareness raising of the benefits of organic products in Moldavia.
Eating organic is a better way of looking after the environment than consuming conventional products. Organic produce, which is free of synthetic or chemical fertilizers and almost free of antibiotics, helps foster natural biodiversity.
Resources for Exporters
EaP-GREEN Country Notes