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April 4-29, 2009: UNEP/UNITAR: Agriculture and the Green Economy: Successful Organic Production and Export

This e-larning course is offered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

Virtual course, based in Geneva, Switzerland


Agriculture is one of the most important sectors in any country as it influences a wide range of issues critical to sustainable development. In its study, the UNEP-led Green Economy Initiative (GEI) of the United Nations has found that transforming the conventional agriculture sector to organic and other green systems of production offers numerous opportunities and benefits. Competitive economic returns, the supply of essential and life-supporting ecosystem services, decent jobs and livelihood, a smaller ecological footprint, increased resilience to climate change, and enhanced food security have all been shown to result from conversion to green agricultural systems. 

Developing countries are especially poised to take advantage of the benefits of sustainable agriculture. Organic and other green agricultural practices, which are low in inputs, are widely practiced in developing countries, although most remain uncertified.  At the same time, there is a robust and growing international market that offers price premiums for organic and other green agricultural raw and processed products.  This market provides an excellent opportunity to improve income and living conditions in developing countries; and this is an opportune time for the GEI to lay down the necessary tools in starting an organic business.

Learning objectives

At the end of the course, the participants should be able to:

  • Define the key aspects, challenges, and opportunities present for organic and green agricultural production, processing, marketing, and trade;
  • Identify the significance and contribution of green and organic agriculture to a nation’s economy;
  • Describe with accuracy the major certification requirements and how to meet them – with a particular focus on EU regulations;
  • Determine major markets for green and organic agriculture and how to access them – with particular focus on the EU market;
  • Construct a show window from the moment an uncultivated piece of land is brought under organic production or a conventional farm is converted to organic, until products reach export markets; and
  • Recommend policy and investment options for boosting agriculture’s role in the green economy.

Content and Structure

The course consists of the following modules:

  • Module 1: Agriculture and the Green Economy
  • Module 2: Green Agricultural Production
  • Module 3: Markets and Trade in Green Agricultural Products

 Further information

UNITAR.org: UNEP/UNITAR: Agriculture and the Green Economy: Successful Organic Production and Export

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