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philippines: linking food sovereignty and the right to self-determination

Friends of the Earth Philippines/LRC-KsK’s new food sovereignty campaign focuses on indigenous peoples’ and other rural communities’ loss of access to and control over their land and resources from a food sovereignty perspective. It seeks to link the food sovereignty discourse to existing peoples’ struggles for the right to self-determination and against resource extraction and energy projects.

philippines-linking-food-sovereigntyThe long-term goal is to protect croplands, forests and water systems, agricultural biodiversity, indigenous food production systems and culture, and livelihoods in indigenous, upland and other rural communities, all of which are constantly under threat from these extraction and energy projects.


what happened

The first stage of the project involved an intensive discussion and learning period within Friends of the Earth Philippines, as staff considered the concept of food sovereignty and its relationship with the struggles of indigenous peoples and other rural communities against resource extractive and energy projects. A food sovereignty campaign plan and linked community campaign work plans were then drawn up. 


In addition, a food sovereignty profiling tool has been developed for participatory community research on communities’ capacity to produce food and control their food production systems, as well as the threats posed by resource extractive and energy projects.


Discussions with communities also highlighted the connection between resource extractive and energy projects and threats to croplands, forests and water systems, agricultural biodiversity, indigenous food production systems and culture, and livelihoods. In Anislagan, for example, the community is defending its watershed, irrigated agricultural land and community livelihoods from a mining project which is in an exploratory phase. The women of Anislagan have been at the forefront of barricades keeping the mining company at bay, under the banner “Food Sovereignty First” and “Save Anislagan watershed.” 


Friends of the Earth Philippines also facilitated the participation of communities, including from Anislagan, and support groups to the Biodiversity Summit in the Caraga region, which has the most mining applications in the country.


what changed

Communities are becoming more familiar with the concept of food sovereignty, and how it links to their existing struggles. Friends of the Earth Philippines also enhanced its staff’s capacity to understand and integrate food sovereignty into its work with communities and its campaign advocacy activities. 


The research undertaken so far also led to links being made with other NGOs’ related campaigns, such as the work of the EED Philippines Task Force for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights (EED-TFIP) on Indigenous Knowledge for Food Security and their “Indigenous Peoples’ Food Security Agenda.” 


what next

As exemplified during the Caraga Biodiversity Summit, tackling resource extractives from a biodiversity perspective could bring diverse groups working on human rights, development, alternative law groups, people’s organizations, church groups and community representatives together to underscore the food sovereignty of communities and the region in contrast to corporate-led development projects.


Follow up plans will include completing the food profiling research, raising the understanding and skills of communities in advocating for food sovereignty, facilitating community food sovereignty agenda setting, holding a national food sovereignty conference, and lobbying national and local governments. 


The information to be gathered in the food profiling research will be used as a basis for resource valuation, socio-economic profiling, and community development planning.


with thanks to our funders: the dutch ministry of foreign affairs (dgis)

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