Newsletter no 43 – Editorial

Food sovereignty in a time of pandemic

Illustration: Farm WorkersVegetable and Fruit Pickers – Essential Worker Portrait #6 by Carolyn Olson,

When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020, few imagined the scale of the devastation that the disease would wreak across the world, or for how long it would last. As COVID-19 swung from country to country on its deadly course, it became clear that governmental actions or inactions, and social-economic-political contexts were as responsible as the virus for triggering impacts.

The COVID-19 pandemic is far from abating: infections continue to spike in numerous countries with the emergence of new, more contagious strains of the SARS-COV-2 virus. The long awaited vaccines have started to be rolled out but may well be out of reach for majority of the world for several months or even years due to “vaccine apartheid.” Despite the limited availability of vaccines due to the time needed for production and testing, many wealthy nations have purchased sufficient vaccine supplies to immunize their own populations at least twice, and are backing monopolistic control over vaccines by pharmaceutical companies through legally enforceable intellectual property rights in the World Trade Organization.

This edition of the Nyéléni newsletter presents excerpts from some of the documentation and research conducted by practitioners and advocates of food sovereignty, particularly, Voices from the ground, From COVID-19 to radical transformation of our food systems, prepared by the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples Mechanism to Committee on World Food Security. Links to the full reports/papers are provided with each excerpt.

Focus on the Global South and Friends of the Earth International