During the first decade of the 2000s, in view of the failure of neo-liberal policies and the deteriorating living conditions of both rural and urban societies, a growing number of political decision makers and social movements became interested in food sovereignty.
In 2006, a group composed of Friends of the Earth International, Via Campesina, the World March of Women, ROPPA, WFF (World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers) and WFFP came together to organise Nyéléni 2007, the World Forum for Food Sovereignty.
600 delegates from the five continents, representing all sectors of society with an interest in agricultural and food issues, met in Mali in February 2007.
This gathering was an opportunity to reaffirm the right to food sovereignty and to clarify its economic, social, ecological and political implications. It also created an international process with the aim of recognising the right to food sovereignty.
The organisers made a deliberate decision to hold this meeting in Africa, where agriculture plays a central role, and where numerous rural and urban families suffer from hunger, despite the abundance of natural resources.
Mali was a natural choice – a democratic country where civil society organisations enjoyed freedom of action and expression. Furthermore, Mali was one of the first countries in the world to make food sovereignty a policy priority with its agricultural framework law.