Friday, November 13, 2009

A Sustainable & Humane Global Vision for the Future of our Food: PEOPLE'S FOOD SOVEREIGNTY FORUM 2009 (Nov.13-17, Rome)

At 7:00pm on Friday 13th of November, in the ancient heart of the city of Rome, indigenous peoples from all over the world will climb the Campidoglio Hill to receive the blessing of the Mother Earth for their struggle. A multitude of symbols, faiths and ancestor’s traditions will converge to celebrate the people’s vision for the future of our food, and of all life on the planet. This will be the Mistica: the opening ceremony of the civil socity forum People’s Food Sovereignty Now!
In another variation of disaster capitalism, world powers are exploiting the desperation of hungry and starving people to force GMO-agribusiness throughout the world, according to Via Campesina, the International Farmers Movement.

With the aid of the US and complicit (India, for one) governments––Monsanto, Bayer and other corporations have taken control over half of the world's seeds. Not caring that sustainable, organic agriculture and food sovereignty are necessary components to stop climate change, these multinational corporations continue to attempt worldwide domination of agriculture in pursuit of profits.

On Oct. 16, Via Campesina (which advocates agriculture based on human rights and sustainability) organized a Worldwide Day of rejection against Monsanto and GMOs in the name of food sovereignty. They say the Obama administration (which continues to appoint GMO & pesticide-pushing officials with ties to Monsanto and other GMO interests to their team) of (not surprisingly) aiding Monsanto and other GMO industries:
Meanwhile, world leaders are preparing to meet at the FAO World Food Summit in Rome in November, where the powers of global governance and agribusiness will utilize the desperation of starving nations to accelerate the expansion of GMO-based agriculture throughout the world. The Obama administration's proposal to dedicate over a billion dollars of emergency funding to developing countries for agriculture, and the U.S. government's Global Food Security Initiative are thinly veiled efforts to this end.

Peasants, landless workers, migrants, indigenous peoples and consumers, identified transnational corporations, especially Monsanto, which, together with Syngenta, Dupont and Bayer control over half of the world's seeds, and are thus the principal enemies of peasant sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty for all peoples. La Via Campesina is in a daily struggle to protect native seeds, patrimony of humanity, from corporations and patents. Today, October 16, the strength of the movement is pushing the public opinion to reject Monsanto's take-over of the food system.

"It's time for all civil society to recognize the gravity of this situation, global capital should not control our food, nor make decisions behind closed doors. The future of our food, the protection of our resources and especially our seeds, are the right of the people," said Dena Hoff, coordinator of Via Campesina North America.
Following this campaign, La Campesina is holding a civil society forum--People's Food Sovereignty Now!--parallel to the ongoing UN Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) Summit on Food Security.
At the World Food Summit in 1996, when there were an estimated 830 million hungry people, governments pledged to halve the number by 2015. Today, in 2009, more then 1 billion people are undernourished, the highest number in four decades.

The world we live in is facing a structural and multifaceted crisis. Climate, energy, financial and economic crises further aggravate the persistent food crisis, which, more than the other crises, has triggered a wave of protests in across dozens of countries. This clearly shows how equitable access to food is essential to the well-being of people, and to social justice and democracy.

The Forum will continue its work on the human rights-based governance of food systems, initiated by the CSO Forum in Rome in 1996. Several issues will be debated to define a comprehensive plan of action for CSOs, including: the relation between rural and urban populations and sustainable methods to guarantee access to food; climate change and models of production that can cool down the planet and reduce people's vulnerability to climatic variation; and, access to natural resources, land grabbing and ensuring rights to land in a gender equitable way.

The current situation is not the result of any sudden natural disaster, but the fruit of decades of the same wrong policies. The People’s Food Sovereignty Forum is committed to changing the dominant agricultural and food policies by effectively dealing with the root causes of hunger and poverty and presenting the proposals that have emerged from the long resistance of small food producers and the urban poor. There will be no solution to the world’s multiple crises without a central role for civil society and a dialogue with governments.
-- Jean Downey

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