a welcome shift in united nations views on food sovereignty
The surprising proposals of the UN Special Rapporteur include the right of peoples to access land and to define their own food policies, as well as the principles that the government should support the least protected (including rural) people and implement production models that do not contribute to climate change.
In a statement released on Tuesday, La Vía Campesina, a network of peasant organizations from around the world, and environmental federation Friends of the Earth International called for a sustainable and egalitarian production and consumption model; the dismantling of corporate power and international financial institutions, and the rejection of false solutions to combat global hunger and poverty. Moreover, they called for a collective defense of the right of peoples to access land, seeds and water, and a push for agrarian reform.
The organizations welcomed the UN Rapporteur's statements that:
“Increasing agricultural production must go hand in hand with increasing the incomes of the poorest, particularly small-scale farmers, and switching to modes of production which do not contribute to climate change.”
In addition, the new model must consider “how to help the world feed itself” rather than “how to feed the world”.
La Vía Campesina and Friends of the Earth International are calling for food sovereignty, the right of peoples to sufficient, nutritious, healthy food that is produced in an ecologically and culturally appropriate way. This implies the right of peasants and small-scale farmers to produce food for themselves and their communities. The organizations believe that small farmers and craft fishermen must have a central role in any strategy aimed at solving hunger and poverty, through agroecological and organic production systems instead of intensive industrial agriculture.
Both the peasant and environmental organizations decry current land takeovers for agrofuel production, animal feed, tree plantations to produce pulp and paper, and wood and mining projects. They are calling for the rights of farmers, indigenous people, fishermen and small farmers to access land. Their statement also highlights the importance of resisting and dismantling the power of transnational corporations, institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization, and the trade agreements promoted by the US and the EU. All of these are main drivers in the industrial production model of agribusiness, which aims for profits above feeding people.
Finally, La Vía Campesina and Friends of the Earth International believe that sustainability is impossible if the right of peoples to recover, defend, reproduce, exchange, improve and grow their own seeds is not recognized. “Seeds must be the heritage of peoples in service of humankind”.
For more information, contact:
La Via Campesina
- In USA: (202) 543-5675 (office)
- Dena Hoff (Member of the International Coordinating Committee of La Vía Campesina): firstname.lastname@example.org
Friends of the Earth International
- In Uruguay: Martin Drago (Friends of the Earth International): (+5982) 9022355/9082730 - email@example.com
- In Nigeria: Nnimmo Bassey (Friends of the Earth International):+234-8037274395 - firstname.lastname@example.org