Box 1

Digitalization of food systems: ‘Big Data’ won’t feed us

During its fifty-first session, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), issued recommendations for the collection of data for food security. Since 2021, the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples Mechanism (CSIPM) insisted that data recollection won’t solve the historic and structural problems at the core of hunger and malnutrition. Aspects like the governance of digitalization, conflicts of interest (since the main promoters of ‘data re-collection’ are the world’s techno-titans), the importance of other knowledge systems, the environmental impacts of digital tools, and the need to assess the digitalization of food systems, were brought to the negotiations by the CSIPM. Below are the words of Patti Naylor, member of the National Family Farm Coalition and co-coordinator of CSIPM Data Working Group during the plenary on October 24[1]:

These policy recommendations fall short in many areas. Dangers to future food security and the environment were not addressed, neither were surveillance and privacy violations or monopolistic control of digital processes that enable the corporate control of the global food system. The document insists in “data” as the tool for achieving food security while huge amounts of data are already being collected and not driving the policies needed. The extraction of data joins the exploitation of human labor and the extraction of natural resources. As the seriousness of risks become more evident, these discussions around data and digital technologies must continue.

Box 2

Financing for development: a systemic perspective[2]

Struggles for food sovereignty are completely tied to the rules that govern the global economy. Be it how financial speculation and instability affect food, fuel, and fertilizer prices; how unsustainable indebtedness and unfair trade deals, rooted in colonial dynamics, have kept so many countries dependent on food imports and commodity exporting; or how the deregulation of global finance has been pushing farmers and rural communities out of their lands as these are bought by financial actors seeking profitable investments.

This is where the UN Financing for Development (FfD) process comes in as a space to advance on the systemic changes we urgently need to see. The FfD process is unique, as it is the only democratic space in which global economic governance is addressed, while the issues of climate change, inequalities and human rights remain at its core.

The FfD has its historical roots in the active discontent of Global South countries surrounding the structural flaws in the design of the international financial architecture and the inequalities that define it.

Momentum is building on international cooperation to face multiple crises. In recent months, the UN FfD process has regained steam due to two major steps forward: The approval by consensus of a resolution tabled by the Africa Group for an intergovernmental process on tax cooperation at the United Nations, and the momentum building towards the fourth Financing for Development Conference, which is expected to take place in 2025.

The issues of tax dodging and illicit financial flows, which have been raised by developing countries since the inception of the FfD process, cost governments around the world hundreds of billions of dollars in lost tax income every year. Decades of economic deregulation, corporate tax cuts and tax holidays to attract foreign investors have enabled a global land rush and the concentration of corporate power in food systems. These are resources that could be invested in public purchasing from agroecological producers, or in climate resilient and decentralized rural infrastructure to support local food systems, for instance.

The fourth International Conference on Financing for Development in 2025 would be a key moment for global mobilization and public pressure on debt justice. Supporting demands for debt cancellation and the reform of the global debt architecture would also be relevant to food sovereignty movements, as many countries trapped in debt have been forced to shape their economies around destructive large-scale industrial agribusiness exports, in order to earn the dollars needed for debt repayment.

In line with the new Nyéléni process and upcoming Global Nyéléni Forum, strategies for creating just and ecological food systems can only be strengthened by alliances with civil society organizations and social movements demanding a systemic transformation of the international financial architecture.

Box 3

Nyéléni process: towards a Global Food Sovereignty Forum 2025

Voices from our allies

Dražen Šimleša, RIPESS Int.

The Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS Int.) doesn’t envisage a real and alive social solidarity economy (SSE) without food sovereignty and vice versa—our constituencies are inseparable and mutually supportive. We are standing on the position that today polycrises are rooted in the rules and design of today’s economic system. That is why we support transformative potentials in the global struggle for a better world. The area in which this growth obsessed, destructive economy and political system is the most visible is our food sector. We can see it from the position of small farmers and women in rural areas over the situation involving soil and biodiversity, to public health and monopolisation of the food sector. That is why work on food sovereignty and agroecology is important for a social solidarity economy. We see our movements as streams of the same river, as parts of the same ecosystem.

Within SSE constituency we are already working on many crossing points and overlapping areas. Our members are active in the promotion and implementation of territorial food systems, collective farms/farm shops (small local cooperatives), collective/shared food production and processing, territorial public procurement, preservation of the Commons (land, water, seeds, etc.), producer/consumer solidarity with shared risks and benefits, and general improvement of health. In those areas, among others, we can see the connection between SSE and FS.

Our input can be seen through highlighting the above mentioned close related programs, projects and activities.

We will continue to work on solidarity within our societies and the needed transformation of the neoliberal capitalist economy that is endangering the planet, small food producers, women, minorities, and all other groups that are not running the profit-above-all agenda. RIPESS Int. can also provide support for building capacities and knowledge with education activities and trainings on SSE and FS.


[2] For more info on this check the article by Flora Sonkin and Iolanda Fresnillo.