IFOAM – Organics International announced that a new World Board for 2017-2020 was elected at the General Assembly in India. Peggy Miars (USA) will lead the organisation as IFOAM's new president, supported by Jennifer Chang (South Korea) and Frank Eyhorn (Switzerland) as new vice-presidents on IFOAM's executive board.

Ms. Miars replaces Australia organic farmer Andre Leu, who had held the role of president of IFOAM for six years. Elected by the General Assembly in India, the new World Board members are (in alphabetical order): 

David Amudavi, Kenya; Jennifer Chang, South Korea; Frank Eyhorn, Switzerland; Choitresh Kumar Ganguly, India; Hans Herren, Switzerland; Julia Lernoud, Argentina; Karen Mapusua, Fiji; Peggy Miars, USA; Gerold Rahmann, Germany; and Edith Van Walsum, Netherlands.

The announcement was made at the 19th IFOAM World Congress, at the same venue as the ninth edition of BIOFACH INDIA together with INDIA ORGANIC, 9th-11th November 2017 at India Exposition Mart, Greater Noida, U.P. (Delhi- NCR), India.

IFOAM said in late October that half a year later, there will be also a change of executive director with succession planning ongoing.

"IFOAM – Organics International is well prepared for succession in the World Board, the governing body of the organization. A Nominations Committee has ensured that 17 well-qualified candidates from around the world are available for election for the 10 World Board positions. Three of the current World Board Members will run for another term," IFOAM said.

"In 2018, Markus Arbenz, executive director, will move on to new challenges for family reasons. After nine years of managing the organization, he will hand over the executive directorship."

The World Board said it would like to thank Markus for the years of dedicated and effective work that he has contributed to IFOAM – Organics International. Markus has been responsible for expanding the reach and activities together with his team.

"He has increased the number of staff, as well as the operational budget. He achieved this in face of economic constraints and limited funding, which forced many organizations to reduce their budgets and cut back on staff," IFOAM said.

Markus will continue with full commitment, support the new World Board and manage operations, until a successor is in place and inducted. This is expected to be towards mid-2018.

The vacancy for the position of executive director of IFOAM – Organics International is listed on IFOAM's website. The closing date for applications is the end of December 2017.

The General Assembly also voted for the Organic World Congress (OWC) and General Assembly 2020 to be held in Rennes, France.

The winners of the 2017 Organic Farming Innovation Awards (OFIA) were announced during the Organic World Congress.

The Grand Prize (10,000 US$) was awarded to Mr. Mike Hands, founder and director of the Inga Foundation. The Inga Foundation helps to promote Alley Cropping as sustainable way to maintain soil fertility and reduce the slash-and-burn of forests in the tropics.

The Science Prize (5000 USD$) was awarded to Dr. Hiroshi Uchino from the Tohoku Agricultural Research Center, for his research into the use of cover crops for weed suppression in organic farming.