The fight for food sovereignty is taking place around the world, every day. It is a ‘David and Goliath’ struggle of small-scale farmers, peasants, and activists against the super-sized agricultural industry. Yet some gains are being made, and the concept of food sovereignty and the rights of small food producers are receiving more recognition at the international level, even as farmers, peasants and activists continue to make changes on the ground.
Here are some key international policy developments towards food sovereignty, and links to news sources following the movement and campaigns.
Nyeleni The international Nyéléni newsletter aims to be the voice of the international movement for Food Sovereignty
Via Campesina global alliance of peasants and farmers, leaders in the move for food sovereignty with regular campaigns and actions
Grain international research and networking to promote biodiversity and community control of food systems.
Farm Land Grab daily news site reporting on the global struggle between farmers and governments for agricultural land
Mother Jones non-profit newspaper with up-to-date environmental and political news
Gaia Foundation ongoing campaigns and partnerships building biodiversity around the world
Permaculture news UK developments in the world of permaculture
At the UN…
On the 11th of May 2012 the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) met to adopt their Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security. The guidelines advise best practice for governments regarding the rights of indigenous people to the resources they have traditionally used to feed themselves. Clearly, the measures need to be much stronger than ‘voluntary guidelines’, and campaign groups are continuing to push for international legislation in this area.
However in a panel discussion held by the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, speakers from indigenous rights groups welcomed the guidelines as a tool in the struggle for food sovereignty. Olivier de Schutter, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, was “relatively optimistic”. The FAO guidelines are not the answer to the world’s food problems, but they are a sign that the concept is reaching agendas. Full report of the panel discussion.
In 2011 the UN Human Rights Council heard a report from Olivier de Schutter denouncing big-business agriculture and arguing for the support of agroecology, sustainable farming which “could feed an estimated world population of nine billion people by 2050 and go a long way to save the climate, if implemented now”. Full report on agroecology.
At the EU…
Every seven years the Common Agricultural Policy in the EU is reformed. The CAP governs how Europe manages its agriculture, land resources and international and internal food trade and a pro-food sovereignty CAP would make a big difference to the food industry around the world. The 2014-2020 policy is being debated in Brussels now. Campaigners, notably the Good Food March, have been demonstrating and lobbying for a change in policy that will build just and sustainable food and agriculture systems in Europe. The new CAP agreement is finalised in March.