Planning for Food Sovereignty 2018
The International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC) as an autonomous and self-organized global platform of more than 800 small-scale food producers and rural workers organizations and grassroots/community-based organizations and social movements advancing the food-sovereignty agenda at the global and regional level. It was established in 2003 in response to the global policy-level reduction of the vital issue of agriculture as a subject of international markets. The IPC facilitates the creation of alliances and synergy among the complementary movements and dialogue with governments and institutions, especially in cooperation with the Rome-based UN agencies dealing with food and nutrition (Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
From 12 to 17 March 2018, IPC held its first General Meeting in Cape Town, South Africa with 69 participants representatives 29 NGOs and social movements from countries across the world. The participants took stock of the IPC reform process that has involved decentralization from the IPC’s Secretariat, in Rome, to the regions, moving away from the focal point system and toward a system based more on dynamic social movements leadership to optimize the political commitment from the grassroots level. This reflection criticized the erosion of the role of the civil society in FAO, and the participants called for advocacy beyond the FAO and the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) to include struggle for the conservation of natural resources for future generations, support for the livelihoods and human rights struggles through a call for a new global system of food governance, not just a new food system.
The first day ended with the IPC Secretariat reviewing the evaluation of the main benefits, challenges and potential of the IPC as a space of alliance, additional to the FAO Strategy for Partnership with Civil Society Organisations and biennial exchange of letters with the FAO )to be renewed in 2019. The Rome-based secretariat asserted that, in the context of the decentralization process, it is crucial to put forward food sovereignty political demands in the form of concrete cases and best local practices.
During the meeting, the IPC working Groups that includes (Agroecology; Land, Water Forests and Territories; Agricultural Biodiversity; Fisheries; and Indigenous Peoples) reviewed their functions, work plans and activities, especially to the emerging issues such as (women, youth, climate change, family farming and the criminalization of social movements). The IPC constituents committed to promote the discussions on livestock in the various Working Groups. The participants decided also to create a group responsible for developing a common fundraising strategy for IPC activities and regional secretariats.
Following the review of Working Group reports, the regional processes presented reports from Europe and Central Asia, West and East Africa, Asia, Latin America, Near East and North Africa (NENA). The emerging challenges to harmonies between and among these structure involved:
Regions not being always able to follow discussions in the international forums;
FAO asking WGs to organize events at regional level;
FAO connecting directly with the regional secretariats, without involving the Working Groups;
Also, the FAO Development Policies, Strategies and Programmes Office representative presented an overview of the FAO functions and the main achievements in the last mandate such as open up to the non-state actors and the shift in the FAO agenda to open up new issues, including nutrition, diets and agroecology. The FAO representative affirmed FAO’s methodology of decentralization/regionalization, giving CSOs greater opportunity to present their knowledge as technical expertise and cooperate with FAO regional offices. In the context of the relation between FAO and IPC the FAO representative noted the improvement of the role of IPC as facilitator of CSO participation in regional FAO processes, and the importance of connect the local, regional and global spheres to connect concrete experiences to global policy dialogue. He emphasized that, despite the shrinking space for global policy dialogue, many opportunities for partnership present themselves for concrete collaboration to change the production models at the grassroots level.
The IPC organizations issued several resolutions, on the vision of food sovereignty through strengthen their alliances and common struggles at all local, regional and global levels to transform society toward a new, equitable, adequate and global food governance system that recognizes the inalienable human right to adequate food and the corresponding right of people to control and shape our food systems.
The IPC committed to continue building its alliances, opening up international and regional spaces for policy discussion and strengthening relationships with other social movements. With regard to political priorities, the IPC pledged to work in partnership with the FAO, including regional FAO offices, and to defend and promote CFS reform and develop collective strategies in various international spaces beyond Rome (such as the SDG processes) through a clear mapping and strategy for all international spaces, which constitutes potential for political initiatives and for building new alliances with other organizations.
The meetings concluded with agreement on the following recommendations:
The IPC Facilitation Committee will be made up of an Operative Group, composed of the representatives of Global Organizations that have been particularly active in the IPC process and a Regional Group composed of one representative from each IPC region (currently Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, the Americas and NENA), taking into account the gender and youth balance;
Three global organizations that have affirmed their availability and commitment to facilitate the work of the IPC are: International Indian Treaty Council, La Via Campesina and World Forum of Fisher Peoples;
The IPC regions are invited to communicate their representatives to the Regional Group (and their mechanism of renewal or rotation);
IPC Secretariat will communicate with the Facilitation Committee on a regular basis, informing the IPC organizations. For daily and urgent matters, the Secretariat will contact the Operative Group first, which will communicate with, consult and/or inform the regional members of the Facilitation Committee as appropriate.
At this first IPC General Meeting, participants also memorialized Patterson Kuria Gathuru, the IPC colleague from HIC representing the Urban Food Insecure constituency. Kuria, who passed away on 15 November 2017, was instrumental in developing training on urban agriculture and setting up the Nairobi and Environs Food Security, Agriculture and Livestock Forum (NEFSALF) small-farmer network and organizing urban-agriculture exchanges linking Nairobi, Cape Town and Toronto.
Rest in peace, Kuria. Your work carries on.
See HLRN tribute to Kuria Gathuru
Graphic on the front page: IPC logo. Photo on this page: Kuria Gathuru representing the urban food insecure constituency on behalf of Habitat International Coalition at FAO Headquarters, Rome.