IPC World General Meeting Report
MIJARC was represented by Mr.Krishnakar Kummari the world president and Racheal Kalaba from Africa, this was a conference held every 4 years to review the works of IPC and the working groups, IPC Is found in Africa, North and South America, Asia, Europe, andAustralia. Different indigenous groups and organizations supporting food sovereignty are part of the IPC. The 5-day event brought about different participants and interactions and review for the next 4 years, as MIJARC we participated in all the working groups and further supporting the statement attached below.
For our readers, find the background of who and what is IPC and how it is relevant for us as a movement and why we take part.
WHAT IS IPC
Origins – 1996
The origins of the IPC are rooted in the mobilization of rural peoples’ organizations around the world, reaching up to the global level, in reaction to the devastating impacts of structuraladjustment and liberalization policies on rural livelihoods and societies. A key stimulus was theadvent of the World Trade Organization in 1995, subjecting agriculture to global trade liberalizationrules for the first time and further opening up markets in the Global South to unfair competitionwith products from abroad with a strong impact on small-scale food producers at global level.
A group of social movements and NGOs from all regions came together to reflect on a commonalternative strategy to build their capacity to influence the global policies that were doing suchdamage. The FAO was felt to be a politically interesting intergovernmental forum for socialmovement advocacy and an alternative to the WTO and the World Bank/IMF. There were severalreasons for this: more democratic governance with universal membership and - formally - a onecounty-one vote decision-making process, specific focus on food and agriculture and a mission toeliminate hunger, a mandate that includes a strong normative role, and relative openness to engagement with civil society and rural people’s organizations.
An occasion to test this idea and to promote global networking was provided by the FAO WorldFood Summit (WFS) held in Rome in November 1996, whose organization was strongly pushed byFAO’s first African Director-General over the objections of powerful governments who werebacking the trade liberalization agenda. The 1990s was the decade of global UN summits, startingwith the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, eachaccompanied by a parallel civil society event. The Rome civil society forum1 held in connection withthe WFS, however, was the only one in which a deliberate political choice was made by the
The NGO Forum on Food Security held in Rome from 11 to 17 November 1996 adopted a resolution entitled ‘Profitfor Few or Food for All?’ Organizing committee to put social movements in the majority among the delegates. They hadthe deciding voice in determining the statement that was be adopted, which highlighted theautonomy and self-organization of civil society as principles. The forum gave the newly established organization La Via Campesina its first global opportunity to present the principle of foodsovereignty. The forum also pushed for the recognition of the “right to food” in a dedicated legalinitiative.
In effect, civil society advocacy’s greatest success in influencing the outcome of theofficial Summit was the identification of freedom from hunger as a fundamental human right. Overthe objections of the US delegation, the WFS Action Plan requested the UN Commissioner forHuman Rights to coordinate a process of developing guidelines for the ‘full and progressiverealization of this right as a means of achieving food security for all
Relations with FAO and IPC - 2003-2007
Shortly after the WFS/fyl, the FAO Director-General made it known that he wished to sign a formal agreement with the IPC. Following intensive preparations on both sides, a meeting was held inNovember 2002.
The formal agreement, signed in early 2003 contained the important statement that ‘FAO accepts the principles of civil society autonomy and self-organization on which the IPCbases its work and will apply them in all of its relations with NGOs/CSOs.’ The agreement also notedthat ‘both parties concur with the need to distinguish between the interests of socialmovements/non-profit NGOs and those of private sector associations, and to make separateinterface arrangements for these two categories of organizations.’ FAO committed itself toundertaking a certain number of steps to enhance the institutional environment for relations withNGOs/CSOs, and theagreement established a framework for a programme of work in the four IPC
ORGANS AND FUNCTIONING OF THE IPC
The International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty is the world’s largest alliance of small-scalefood producers, peasant family farmers, artisanal fisher folks, pastoralists, nomads, indigenouspeoples and indigenous organizations, the landless, urban producers, alternative consumermovements, rural workers and grassroots organizations, whose aim is to advance the foodsovereignty agenda at the global and regional level.
The IPC alliance is therefore the space that represents the interests of small-scale food producers,who provide 70% of the food consumed by the world’s population. Food and agricultural policiescannot be negotiated at a global or regional level without us.
The organizations participating in the IPC subscribe to the Food Sovereignty principles as outlined in the 2007 Nyeleni Declaration7, the 6 pillars of the Synthesis Report and the Declaration of the 2015Nyeleni International Forum on Agroecology. IPC participants are defined as small-scale food producers, peasant family farmers, artisanal fisherfolks, pastoralists, nomads, indigenous peoples and indigenous organizations, the landless, urbanproducers, alternative consumer movements, rural workers and grassroots organizations. NGOsparticipate as active support for the above-mentioned social movement.
The IPC event in South Africa was an opportunity to revisit the role of IPC in the continued advocacy for issues relating to food sovereignty, during this time, all organizations and movements present agreed to continue the agenda that was set in 1996.
One of the resolutions was issues of protecting the indigenous seeds and promoting the role of women in decision making process and the role of the rural youth. As quoted in the declaration “We played a key role in the reform of the United Nations (UN) Committee on World Food Security (CFS). We have succeeded in ensuring the endorsement of UN instruments: In 2012, the CFS endorsed the International Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forest, and in 2014 the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) endorsed the International Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication. 2014 was also the year when FAO decided to establish a department to advance the agroecology agenda, and in 2016 the CFS adopted an innovative monitoring mechanism to follow the implementation of all policy decisions taken at the CFS. We, the members of the IPC played a critical role in all these processes and we remain committed to work with FAO and the CFS in good spirit and on a non-negotiable human rights basis, especially for the right to food and nutrition, to ensure continued implementation of these instruments while defending their true meaning .
The rights of women to participate in decision making spaces remain compromised in a world that is still dominated by patriarchal forces. We recognize the central role of women in food sovereignty and agroecology in all our constituencies, and we commit to fight for women’s equal rights with emphasis on the right to participate in decision-making process at all levels. Feminism is at the core of our struggle to end all forms of violence against women and to eliminate patriarchy. In a similar vein, rural youth remain largely politically marginalized in society. We commit to strengthening the autonomy of women and youth and continue our struggle for equity and equal participation”
In summary as this being the year for Gender Equality under our action plan as MIJARC World we would take this opportunity to continue to raise the key issues to our national movements
The IPC Statement from Paarl (Cape Town)
We build a global food system based on our agroecology and food sovereignty!
16 March 2018
International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC)
We, the representatives of peasants and family farmers, landless, rural women and rural youth, fishers and fish workers, agricultural workers, hunters and gatherers, pastoralists and herders, indigenous peoples, and food consumers from all over the world and who are all members of the IPC, met in Paarl, South Africa to take our struggle for food sovereignty and agroecology forward. Our meeting took place during the worst drought in Cape Town ever recorded, only a few weeks ahead of Day Zero, which marks the day when the taps run dry. We stand in solidarity with the masses of poor and marginalized people in Cape Town whose health is at risk as access to clean drinking water is jeopardized – just as in many other territories. The water crisis marks just one of many of the serious threats we are confronted with all over the world because of neoliberal policies, extra activism and other disrespectful relations with nature leading to the protracted climate crisis.
We pay tribute to our comrade and fellow fighter Kuria Gathuru who passed away in September 2017.
We, as small-scale food producers and consumers – including urban poor, marginalized communities, refugees, displaced peoples, and those living in occupied territories - rely on our land and water territories as well as on access to and control over land, water, native seeds and our animal breeds to produce and access healthy, affordable and nutritious food and to maintain our cultures and livelihoods. We also need special focus to protect the open pollination of seeds and for bees and other insects and protection for our bee keepers. The multiple crisis we are facing today - including degradation and loss of our lands, pollution of oceans, dwindling access to water, and the advancement of reactionary governments, corporate capture of institutions and governance structures, capitalist patriarchy, extractive industries, xenophobia and anti-migrant policies, growing economic inequality and climate change – is a threat to our human rights and to the planet.
Over the past few years the food sovereignty movement has made many achievements. We played a key role in the reform of the United Nations (UN) Committee on World Food Security (CFS). We have succeeded in ensuring the endorsement of UN instruments: In 2012, the CFS endorsed the International Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forest, and in 2014 the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) endorsed the International Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication. 2014 was also the year when FAO decided to establish a department to advance the agroecology agenda, and in 2016 the CFS adopted an innovative monitoring mechanism to follow the implementation of all policy decisions taken at the CFS. We, the members of the IPC played a critical role in all these processes and we remain committed to work with FAO and the CFS in good spirit and on a non-negotiable human rights basis, especially for the right to food and nutrition, to ensure continued implementation of these instruments while defending their true meaning .
The rights of women to participate in decision making spaces remain compromised in a world that is still dominated by patriarchal forces. We recognise the central role of women in food sovereignty and agroecology in all our constituencies, and we commit to fight for women’s equal rights with emphasis on the right to participate in decision-making process at all levels. Feminism is at the core of our struggle to end all forms of violence against women and to eliminate patriarchy. In a similar vein, rural youth remain largely politically marginalized in society. We commit to strengthening the autonomy of women and youth and continue our struggle for equity and equal participation.
The rights of Indigenous Peoples are inherent and inalienable. They cannot be taken away by new laws, yet, we witness increased violation of the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous territories are unlawfully seized by transnational corporations – often with the consent and complicity of state authorities - to satisfy their greed for nature for profit. We stay committed to fight for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and continue our struggles in the spaces where we are present, including the United Nations.
Transnational corporations (TNCs), including agribusinesses, finance corporations, extractive and energy companies, continue the plunder of nature and heating our planet. Their capitalist and extractivist business models are transforming nature into economic and financial assets. TNCs are fueled by the WTO and Free Trade Agreements, opening the door for exploitation and destruction of nature in foreign countries, and to land and ocean grabbers. Together with governments pursuing fast economic gains at the expense of the people, the road is paved for dispossession of people from their territories. Witnessing criminalization, imprisonment and even assassination of human rights and environmental defenders, we stand in solidarity with all those who face violence when defending their communities and nature.
Climate change is one of the major challenges of our time and it compels us to action. We experience more frequent droughts but also severe flooding due to heavy rains, and both have tragic effects on our ability to produce food and feed our peoples and maintain our cultural traditions and livelihoods. Diminishing access to water is both the result of climate change and the enormous volumes of this precious resource used by agribusiness and energy corporations. The solutions to mitigate climate change put forward by our governments fail to address the underlying causes and continue to allow the biggest polluters – including agribusinesses, energy and mining companies – to continue heating our planet. The mitigation mechanisms of the the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - including REDD+, Blue Carbon and Climate Smart Agriculture that are also promoted by FAO – are false solutions. Real solutions to stop climate change are rooted in peoples’ access to and control of land and water and promoting agroecology, nature restoration and water retention landscapes. We will continue our struggle to advance our solutions in all the spaces where we are present, including the FAO, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Human Rights Council.
As a last resort, when life offers no alternatives because of dispossession from our territories or climate disasters, we have to resist through migration. However, even under these circumstances, we are being criminalized in the countries where we seek shelter and better lives. Justice is urgently needed, and we condemn the policies and inhumane treatment of immigrants all over the world who endure sexual harassment, slavery and imprisonment.
To ensure that our voices from the grass roots level are heard and our experiences are taken into consideration in decision-making, we will combine our struggles at the global level with increased focus on governance at local, national and regional levels. To take on these challenges, we commit to empowerment and improved communication in and between our movements on our concrete existing solutions. Real alternatives to the current food system already exist both locally and internationally through agroecological production, social solidarity economy that includes territorial markets, direct relationships between producers and consumers, cooperatives and participatory community-led governance mechanisms and policies.
We are acutely aware, that many governments around the world reduce their funding to the UN institutions and that many of these, including the FAO and the CFS, are working under increasing pressure. We are also aware that corporations and philanthropic foundations take advantage of this situation by supporting UN programmes financially and thereby buying political influence. It is therefore no surprise that funding for social movements is dwindling and that our space for participation is shrinking. As a response, we commit to advance our efforts to mobilize resources and push governments to implement public policies that are rooted in human rights, in particular the right to food and nutrition, as well as the extension support for agroecological production.
We commit to building our food sovereignty movement and to empowering our front line communities to be stronger and take their struggles to all spaces where key political decisions are taken. To address the challenges we are confronting, we will continue to work with FAO, the CFS and the Convention on Biological Diversity and to work together in other institutional and strategic spaces, including the Human Rights Council and the Alternative World Water Forum.
Amandla! Awethu! – Power to the people!