Institut equalita e.V.

Conference of Countrywomen in Latvia

Conference from 20 – 27 March 2004 in Latvia:
The common agricultural policy and enlargement of the European Union -
The countrywomen´s movement and sustainable agriculture in Latvia

Latvia has entered the European Union on 1 May 2004. Thus, considerable structural changes are to be expected for agriculture and the rural areas. In view of great structural changes, countrywomen´s organizations and organic farming can play an essential role in the preservation of the economic and social basic of living in the rural areas.

In March 2004, the equalita Institute held a conference in Latvia, dealing with the meaning and perspectives of the countrywomen´s movement and the sustainable agriculture in Latvia in view of Latvia´s forthcoming membership in the European Union. The conference was supposed to facilitate an exchange of information and experience between representatives of Latvian and German countrywomen (e.g., the Latvian women´s organization LIEPA) the protestant relief organization for women, Westphalia (Evangelische Frauenhilfe Westfalen).

The conference had been prepared on a national basis within the frame of two meetings in Latvia and one in Germany. At the centre of the conference was a three day seminar which was held in the German House in  Liepaja on the Baltic Coast of Latvia. In the seminar, information on the EU and the future membership of Latvia, the development and perspectives of organic farming in both countries   and the EU, as well as on the emergence, situation and significance of countrywomen´s organizations was conveyed; moreover, we exchanged experience and discussed possibilities of  future co-operation.

Around the seminar, practice excursions to ecological farms, dairies, sales points for organic products and countrywomen´s groups were organized; Latvian as well as German participants took part in the excursions. Afterwards, representatives of agriculture and agricultural policy, political decision-makers, journalists and the general public were informed on contents and results of the conference.

A comprehensive information campaign (written press, TV, radio) informed the public beforehand and afterwards about contents and issues of the conference. The conference was subsidized by the European Union.