Opening Speech of Joseph Wilhelm 
Nairobi, November 15th 2011

Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen, 
Dear friends of IFOAM, 

A very warm welcome to all of you. I’m just thankful and happy to be here at this unique event. My special thanks go to the organizers IFOAM and KOAN and our host UNEP and last but not least to Bernward Geier from Colabora and everybody else who helped to make this conference happen. Promoting organic farming in Africa is helping to secure the future of our planet. 

About the OWA idea 
For some of you or even the most of you the OWA will be something new. Therefore I would like to tell you more about the background and how this vision on an award became reality. First of all the OWA stands for the three pillars of sustainability: ecology, economy and social responsibility. 

As an organic farmer I founded Rapunzel in 1974 as one of the first organic companies in Germany. Today we are a manufacturer of 400 organic products and we are managing more than 10 organic farming projects in many different countries of the world. More than 5000 families are able to make their living through this cooperation in a human friendly way. 

Over 15 years ago we founded the HAND IN HAND-Program as a very effective private fair-trade-model. After more than 30 years of experience in working with so called “third-world-countries” we have had the insight that more input is needed to make the necessary change in the world happen. 

Three pillars of sustainability: ecology, economy and social responsibility

The Situation 
The difference between poor and rich in the world is still increasing. The world’s population is still growing. Traditional development-aid-models are mostly not really sustainable. Therefore the resistance against the recent model of globalization is growing everywhere in the world – especially when globalization is driven by the big multinational companies. Although the old European nations and other industrial countries were benefiting from the globalization since the beginning, more and more critical consumers also understand globalization as a negative development. 
But our modern life is hardly to imagine without globalization – we can’t turn the clock backwards. All this will lead to dangerous frictions in the nearby future. 

Globalization is not in general something negative – it is just the unbalanced misuse of it. Globalization should become a hand-in-hand and win-win situation for all nations on earth. 

The Solution 
Therefore our vision is a “one-world”-model where all nations and human beings will share in a fair way the resources of our earth to give us a future on this still fantastic planet. 
National borders and intolerance against cultures and religions have let to wars throughout history. Building new walls around the rich countries is not a solution. 

But there are human beings and institutions that are working towards a positive and more equal globalization. A globalization, which is helping the people and not just making the multinationals more rich! 

Therefore we want to award such “one world”-pioneers with the OWA. Pioneers who are in accord with the three pillars of sustainability: ecology, economy and social responsibility. We want to encourage more and more people in the world to fight in a peaceful way for a positive and sustainable globalization. 

Together with our friends of IFOAM, the jury members from different continents and our jury chairman Bernward Geier we have built a solid fundament for the OWA. 

Today’s ceremony 
Today we are here to award – unfortunately post mortem – Wangarij Maathai with the OWA personality award. My respectful thanks go to Wanjira Maathai, her daughter, to make this ceremony possible. 

Last but not least I like to remind that the nomination for the third OWA in 2012 is still open. If you want to propose a candidate you can find more about the OWA in the brochures on the OWA desk outside this conference room or on the www.one-world-award.de. 

Thank you for your attention!

Eröffnungsrede als PDF (39 KB)
Opening Speech as PDF (37 KB)