Pre-Conference | 6 September 2021

30 Years of PGS Development: A Root and Branch Appraisal

IFOAM - Organics International, Nature & Progrès and CIRAD are excited to announce this long-awaited international meeting on Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS), which will be held on the 6th of September 2021, in Rennes.

In 2004, IFOAM - Organics International organized, in cooperation with MAELA (Latin American Agroecology Movement), the first international workshop on alternative certification in Torres (Brazil), which brought together initiatives from various continents to discuss the common ground between the various approaches and needs behind alternative certification systems. An important outcome was the birth of 'Participatory Guarantee Systems' as a concept and the creation of an international Task Force on PGS. This Task Force became the permanent IFOAM PGS Committee.

15 years later, this pre-conference will create the opportunity for PGS practitioners and advocates from all over the world to gather once again and take stock of the current PGS development, set new strategies and targets, and define common goals to improve PGS worldwide. The conference will last one day and will be built around plenary sessions, thematic sessions and workshops, using participatory methodologies.

The main language of the conference will be English, however, we are trying to ensure simultaneous translation into French and Spanish during the pre-conference. We will keep you updated on this possibility.

The programme committee of the PGS pre-conference, composed by the IFOAM PGS committee, representatives of research institutions and the organizers, met on April 1, 2020 to assess a total of 51 contributions received, from all five continents. If you have submitted a contribution you will be contacted soon, in any case before the second week of June 2020.

Main Topics:
  • Diversity:
    • PGS implementation and adaptation in cultural contexts
    • How social and cultural norms impact PGS
    • Marketing approaches
    • PGS benefits
  • Sustainability:
    • Participation, motivation, and strategies for ensuring economic viability of PGS initiatives
    • Government recognition and donor support
    • Benefits and challenges for upscaling PGS
    • Creation of international PGS networks
    • Scope of quality guarantee
  • Innovation:
    • Best practices for technology, knowledge building, and continuous improvement
    • How PGS initiatives are using digital tools to support social innovation
    • PGS strategies for building and managing knowledge and how other areas of concern (i.e. food safety, seed production) are addressed
  • Gather PGS practitioners and advocates from around the world to take stock on current PGS developments
  • Set new PGS strategies and targets
  • Define common goals for improving PGS worldwide
  • Offer a global platform for networking and exchange on PGS
Expected Outcomes:
  • A vision for the future development of PGS
  • A global declaration, supported by PGS stakeholders from all over the world, to be adopted during the main conference
  • Renewed dynamism, new contacts, and new ideas among participants
  • Potential new work streams and strategic foresight
  • Event recording – to be made available for open access on the internet and published event proceedings
  • Plenary sessions and thematic break out groups
  • Opening plenary session with key note speakers. Focus on: “30 years of PGS”, celebrating what we accomplished and reflecting upon challenges.
  • Poster sessions
  • Strategic workshop (day before pre-conference) with a small group of PGS experts and practitioners

Participants will be invited to contribute to the program and suggest different formats and participatory group sessions.

Key Info

6 September 2021

Registration Fee: €100

Federica Varini
IFOAM - Organics International

French and Spanish (to be determined)

Target Audiences:
PGS practitioners and advocates
Researchers supporting PGS
Donor organizations supporting PGS