Awareness-Raising Campaign Launched at Slow Fish: Fighting Poverty Through Biodiversity and Fair Trade

06 May 2007 | English

Yesterday at Slow Fish 2007, in Genoa, a new EU-co-financed project was launched during a Water Workshop seminar, aiming to inform the European public about the importance for development of protecting biodiversity, support for sustainable agriculture and the promotion and certification of fair trade.
“Sustainable agriculture, protection of biodiversity and fair trade, a joint initiative against poverty” will be managed by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, CEFA (European Committee for Training and Agriculture) and Fairtrade Italia.
“In the last century an immense quantity of plant species became extinct, specifically one every six hours,” said journalist Isidoro Trovato during the presentation. “The importance of the initiative is to inform people what formulas like biodiversity and fair trade really mean.”
Piero Sardo, President of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, then explained how biodiversity can help fight poverty. “Only a small economy can resolve the serious problems which industry has created in the world…projects try to trigger cultural contact between the north and the south, but change will only come if people actively participate.”
“We’re trying to make the consumer understand the concept of biodiversity and small-scale agriculture,” said Indira Franco, explaining the work of Fairtrade Italia in certifying farmers’ cooperatives and branding products with a recognizable trademark. Patricia Farolini of CEFA also talked about the importance of education about development, and Carla Cavallini of the European Commission underlined this, saying that the EU spends just 1.1% of its development resources on protecting biodiversity and that communication is a very important aspect to be encouraged.
The audience next heard about the direct experiences of Nedwa Oumoulbedine Mint Moctar Nech, President of Mauritanie2000, who explained the problems relating to fishing in Mauritania, where 90% of the fish is exported, fishermen must sell their catch to survive, and the price of a kilo of fish is so high that locals cannot afford it. However the Slow Food project to help the women produce bottarga has brought excellent results. Likewise the Chilean Juan Torres de Rodt described how Robinson Crusoe Island has been designated a marine reserve.
The conclusion came from Silvio Greco: “Mauritania is a sovreign state which clearly felt it was appropriate to give licences even to foreign fishermen, whose destructive techniques left the sea floor completely sterile. Associations can serve as mediators, trying to involve other association, friends and journalists. Consumers could launch a boycotting campaign against these products and create an awareness-raising campaign.”

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