This is the Synthesis Report of Nyéléni 2007, Forum for Food Sovereignty, that took place in Sélingué, Mali from 23rd – 27th February 2007.
At Nyéléni 2007, we debated food sovereignty issues in order to: A) deepen collective understanding; B) strengthen dialogue among and between sectors and interest groups; and C) formulate joint strategies and an action agenda. Our debates gave food providers as well as environmentalists, consumers and urban movements the strength and power to fight for food sovereignty in Mali, the rest of Africa and worldwide.
This report is a brief synthesis of our deliberations, conclusions and agreed actions. It provides a summary of the six pillars of food sovereignty, a resume of our discussions in the thematic working groups, a summary of the joint actions that we propose to take and some examples of the actions proposed by Regions and Sectors.
Download the Synthesis report (PDF File) .
Download the Nyéléni 2007 full report (PDF file).
NYÉLÉNI was the inspiration for the name of our Forum for Food Sovereignty in Sélingué, Mali. Nyéléni was a legendary Malian peasant woman who farmed and fed her peoples well – she embodied food sovereignty through hard work, innovation and caring for her people. We, peasant farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, migrant workers, women and young people, who gathered at Nyéléni 2007 are food providers who are ready, able and willing to feed all the world’s peoples. Our heritage as providers of food is critical to the future of humanity. This is especially so in the case of women and indigenous peoples who are historical creators of knowledge about food, agriculture and traditional aquaculture. But this heritage and our capacity to produce healthy, good and abundant food are being threatened and undermined by neo-liberalism and global capitalism.
We debated food sovereignty issues in order to: A) deepen collective understanding; B) strengthen dialogue among and between sectors and interest groups; and C) formulate joint strategies and an action agenda. Our debates gave food providers as well as environmentalists, consumers and urban movements the strength and power to fight for food sovereignty in Mali, the rest of Africa and worldwide.
Through our alliances, we can join together to preserve, recover and build on our knowledge in order to strengthen the essential capacity that leads to sustaining localised food systems. In realizing food sovereignty, we will also ensure the survival of our cultures, our peoples and of the Earth.
FOOD SOVEREIGNTY puts those who produce, distribute and need wholesome, local food at the heart of food, agricultural, livestock and fisheries systems and policies, rather than the demands of markets and corporations that reduce food to internationally tradeable commodities and components. It offers a strategy to resist and dismantle this inequitable and unsustainable system that perversely results in both chronic undernutrition and rapidly rising obesity.
Food sovereignty includes the right to food – the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through socially just and ecologically sensitive methods. It entails peoples’ right to participate in decision making and define their own food, agriculture, livestock and fisheries systems. It defends the interests and inclusion of the next generation and supports new social relations free from oppression and inequality between men and women, peoples, racial groups and social classes. It promotes a genuine agrarian reform and defends access to, and the sharing of, productive territories free from the threat of privatisation and expulsion.
Food sovereignty defends the interests and the right to food and to produce food of peoples and communities, including those under occupation, in conflict zones, facing and/or recovering from disasters, as well as those who are socially and economically marginalised, such as dalits, indigenous peoples and migrant workers. Food sovereignty provides a policy framework for food, farming, pastoral, fisheries and other food production, harvesting and gathering systems determined by local communities.
A) AT NYÉLÉNI 2007,
we deepened our collective understanding of Food Sovereignty which:
1. Focuses on Food for People: Food sovereignty puts the right to sufficient, healthy and culturally appropriate food for all individuals, peoples and communities, including those who are hungry, under occupation, in conflict zones and marginalised, at the centre of food, agriculture, livestock and fisheries policies; and rejects the proposition that food is just another commodity or component for international agri-business.
2. Values Food Providers: Food sovereignty values and supports the contributions, and respects the rights, of women and men, peasants and small scale family farmers, pastoralists, artisanal fisherfolk, forest dwellers, indigenous peoples and agricultural and fisheries workers, including migrants, who cultivate, grow, harvest and process food; and rejects those policies, actions and programmes that undervalue them, threaten their livelihoods and eliminate them.
3. Localises Food Systems: Food sovereignty brings food providers and consumers closer together; puts providers and consumers at the centre of decision-making on food issues; protects food providers from the dumping of food and food aid in local markets; protects consumers from poor quality and unhealthy food, inappropriate food aid and food tainted with genetically modified organisms; and resists governance structures, agreements and practices that depend on and promote unsustainable and inequitable international trade and give power to remote and unaccountable corporations.
4. Puts Control Locally: Food sovereignty places control over territory, land, grazing, water, seeds, livestock and fish populations on local food providers and respects their rights. They can use and share them in socially and environmentally sustainable ways which conserve diversity; it recognizes that local territories often cross geopolitical borders and ensures the right of local communities to inhabit and use their territories; it promotes positive interaction between food providers in different regions and territories and from different sectors that helps resolve internal conflicts or conflicts with local and national authorities; and rejects the privatisation of natural resources through laws, commercial contracts and intellectual property rights regimes.
5. Builds Knowledge and Skills: Food sovereignty builds on the skills and local knowledge of food providers and their local organisations that conserve, develop and manage localised food production and harvesting systems, developing appropriate research systems to support this and passing on this wisdom to future generations; and rejects technologies that undermine, threaten or contaminate these, e.g. genetic engineering.
6. Works with Nature: Food sovereignty uses the contributions of nature in diverse, low external input agroecological production and harvesting methods that maximise the contribution of ecosystems and improve resilience and adaptation, especially in the face of climate change; it seeks to heal the planet so that the planet may heal us; and, rejects methods that harm beneficial ecosystem functions, that depend on energy intensive monocultures and livestock factories, destructive fishing practices and other industrialised production methods, which damage the environment and contribute to global warming.
B) THEMATIC DISCUSSIONS ON FOOD SOVEREIGNTY
AT NYÉLÉNI 2007, we strengthened dialogue among and between sectors and interest groups. This was through the main work of the forum which was spent discussing seven themes related to food sovereignty: local markets and international trade; local knowledge and technology; access and control of natural resources; sharing territories; conflicts, occupation, and disasters; social conditions and forced migration; and production models. There is background information for these discussions and on each of these themes in the paper “Towards a Food Sovereignty Action Agenda” presented in the Nyéléni programme book and on the Nyéléni 2007 website
TOWARDS A FOOD SOVEREIGNTY ACTION AGENDA
What follows is a brief synthesis of the discussions in each thematic working group. The report concludes with a Food Sovereignty Action Agenda that was discussed by the sectors, interest groups and regions. The Action Agenda summarises the joint actions to be taken by the organisations of farmers and peasants, pastoralists, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, migrant workers, consumer and urban movements, women, environmentalists and young people represented at Nyéléni 2007. Examples of specific actions agreed by Regions and Sectors are also included.
More extensive and illustrative outcomes of the discussions will be captured in a longer follow up report.
1. LOCAL MARKETS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE
Food is for people’s health and nutrition – it should not be simply a tradeable commodity. In order to ensure the right to food for all and the right of peasant farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolk and others to produce healthy food sustainably, we must build new mechanisms for fairness in trading, with fair prices, that are in the hands of producers and consumers, that are transparent at all steps in the food chain, and where priority is given to local production for local markets. We must fight for radical change in agricultural, fisheries and food policies so that they are based on food sovereignty and not on free trade as promoted by its neo-liberal proponents – governments, multinational corporations and international institutions, such as the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation.
We will continue to reject all bilateral and multilateral agreements that do not respond to the needs of local producers and consumers. Food Sovereignty is not against international, regional or national trade but places priority on local production for local markets in order to guarantee food sovereignty. It values the production of culturally appropriate foods without forcing people to consume things they do not want, such as genetically modified organisms.
The local markets emphasis also supports the use of land for food production rather than for the production of agrofuels and other monocultures; coastal marine resources for local fishing rather than destructive fisheries; pastoral grazing territories for sustainable livestock keeping; and so on. We will continue to fight against free trade and other market mechanisms that promote over-production and the dumping of “cheap food” and unnecessary imported food aid, which benefit large corporate producers and harm food sovereignty. Instead, we will encourage laws and policies that promote local autonomy in food production and consumption so that indigenous peoples, peasant farmers, fishers, pastoralists, forest dwellers and other local food providers are able to produce for themselves, their local communities and wider society.
2. LOCAL KNOWLEDGE AND TECHNOLOGY
The majority of the world’s food is still being produced or harvested at relatively small scales by local communities, based on local knowledge, using locally based technologies and locally available resources. Our knowledge and wisdom is what the world needs for food sovereignty. We are the women and men, peasant farmers, pastoralists, artisanal fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, forest dwellers and others who for millennia have created, maintained and developed the basis not only for our survival but also the survival of society. This includes the knowledge and skills to produce food, clothing, medicines, seeds, livestock etc, to sustain biodiversity and to respect the environment and ecosystems.
Our knowledge is alive, shows itself in many ways and is essential for food sovereignty. It is local, collective, and diverse and is ever changing and dynamic – not static – and gathers strength through exchange and solidarity. Fighting for food sovereignty means recognizing women’s contributions and experiences and making indigenous knowledge and production systems a central element in strengthening local food systems under the control of local communities. The impacts of the technologies for intensive monocultures including those for agrofuel production, industrial aquaculture and destructive fisheries, that are imposed through the green (crops), blue (aquaculture) and white (milk) revolutions, now being reimposed on Africa, are having devastating impacts on our local knowledge systems, technologies and environment. It actively leads to the consolidation of the market power of transnational corporations throughout the entire food chain from production to distribution.
This corporate control and domination, supported by local elites, leads to the concentration of land, erosion of soils, poisoning of waters from nitrates and pesticides, damage to productive ecosystems, culminating in the disappearance of farmers, pastoralists and fisherfolk. With this distortion of power come new genetically modified organisms, nanotechnologies and seed sterilisation technologies, protected by patents and other intellectual property rights. Also, the privatisation of agricultural research moves knowledge, seed varieties and livestock breeds from the public domain into corporate hands; thus, damaging transformative local knowledge development. In the name of hunger, bird‘flu, climate change and the thirst for fuel by the wealthy, unsuitable and unsustainable technologies are being imposed in our territories, are poisoning our water bodies and, with the impacts of industrial extractive fisheries and aquaculture, are killing our seas.
3. ACCESS AND CONTROL OVER RESOURCES
The access, control and stewardship of the natural resources that peasant farming, pastoral, artisanal fishing, forest dwelling and indigenous communities rely on for food and livelihoods – for example, land, forests, water, seeds, livestock, fish and other aquatic species – are essential for food sovereignty. For generations, local communities have conserved the richness and diversity of these resources by controlling access to them for the practice of agroecologically sustainable and biodiverse agriculture, livestock production, pastoralism and artisanal fishing, saving and protecting their lands, territories, forests and water bodies from over-use, depletion and contamination. We must ensure women’s access to land, abolishing discriminatory laws of inheritance and repartition in the event of divorce; transforming customs that deny women’s right to the land; and equality between women and men in processes of agrarian reform.
A genuine agrarian reform is needed that allows us continued rights of access to and control over our territories, including for Indigenous Peoples and pastoralists, that can then be used exclusively for ecologically and socially sustainable production. We require similar rights to water bodies and coastal commons for artisanal fisheries, preventing the imposition of industrial aquaculture or destructive fishing practices, as well as guaranteeing riparian and beach access to these resources. We must develop a common plan of action around the fight against water privatisation, commodification of water and exploitation of ground water by transnational corporations. Access to and control over our seed varieties, livestock breeds and fish species that are the basis of food sovereignty should not be compromised by intellectual property rights nor should they be contaminated by genetically modified organisms.
We must guard against humanitarian and development assistance that reduce access and our control over natural resources, as happened, for example, after the December 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. We must force governments either to apply existing international laws and agreements, or design national laws, that guarantee the rights of access to the resources to which people are entitled and prevent the privatization of common resources and the actions of transnational corporations, which limit our access to the natural resources we need to realize food sovereignty.
4. SHARING TERRITORIES
We must first define territories beyond geopolitical boundaries so as to include the territories of indigenous peoples, nomadic and pastoralist communities and beach-based fisherfolk. We should also view nature as material and spiritual beings, not as ‘resources’ that exist to be exploited. We understand the holistic nature of territories as including land, water, seeds, livestock breeds and aquatic organisms. Local communities and peoples that share territories should have equitable, but controlled, access. One of the biggest obstacles to equitable access to territories is the privatization of land, water and material beings. We need to fight against all forms of expulsion of peoples from their territories and against mechanisms that favour remote, corporate or centralised control of territories.
We need to ensure the peaceful coexistence of diverse communities in territories by strengthening our organizations and multi-sectoral alliances so as to democratically negotiate and share territories. A strong, aware and organized civil society will be able to assert the rights of peasants/farmers, artisanal fisherfolk, pastoralists and indigenous communities. We must also assert the rights of young people and women to access territories. We can solve conflicts over shared territories between different sectors by improving our traditional management of territories, particularly since one major source of conflict is the overexploitation of nature and unsustainable management of territories by one sector to the detriment of another, by one generation to the detriment of future generations. We need to fight for genuine comprehensive agrarian reform based on the diverse needs of peoples and for governments to protect the rights of those who inhabit territories.
Anchored in our traditional knowledge, we need to create our own research activities to collect and imagine alternative solutions to the obstacles to sharing territories by diverse communities. One such solution is the creation of an alternative economic system of exchanges among local producers that resists global market domination.
5. CONFLICTS, OCCUPATIONS AND NATURAL DISASTERS:
Food sovereignty is threatened by conflicts, occupations and disasters, as well as by efforts to ameliorate the situation such as through inappropriate food aid and development / reconstruction projects, which themselves can generate more conflicts. Environmental degradation as a result of warfare and disasters also compromises food sovereignty, as it affects local production. At the same time, we see that where food sovereignty is present, communities and their production systems are better able to survive and recover including sourcing local foods to avert famine. Examples were given about the loss of food sovereignty due to occupation in Palestine and Lebanon; as a result of conflicts over natural resources in Cameroon and Colombia; and due to the precarious living conditions because of human-made and natural disasters in Sri Lanka and the Philippines. These and many other stories articulated the importance of food sovereignty in areas deeply affected by conflicts, occupations, and disasters.
We often speak of access to markets for local producers and peoples who want to consume local products. But for communities living with conflicts, occupation and the aftermath of disasters, access to markets is a basic physical issue when there is, for example, a wall between the producer and the market, or where the transport infrastructure disappears in a flood. Also, after conflict or a disaster, people are often displaced from their lands and territories, which are then appropriated for other purposes, such as tourism or occupation by others.
Food sovereignty is challenged by repression and state terrorism, particularly as conflicts affect communities’ control over territories. This limits their access to land, water, food and excludes their participation in decision-making. For peoples living under occupation, self-determination and local autonomy becomes crucial in order to achieve food sovereignty. Self-determination can also prepare against the impacts of natural and human-made disasters by ensuring ecological community-based management, reliant on traditional knowledge and lifestyles that increase the resilience of ecosystems to catastrophic events. In order to achieve food sovereignty, we must ensure that those who are victims/survivors of disaster/conflict can determine and lead the relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts.
We assert that food sovereignty is essential for community resilience and response to all disasters. In this context, we discussed: how to secure the benefits from legal frameworks that should maintain biodiversity and provide compensation when the livelihoods of communities are intentionally destroyed; as well as an international convention on food sovereignty, especially for communities living with conflict, occupation or disaster.
6. SOCIAL CONDITIONS AND FORCED MIGRATION
We need to integrate the struggle for food sovereignty in the fight for migrants’ rights. The causes of forced migration, often to work in agriculture and fisheries, include international financial and development policies, warfare, and destruction of habitats and cultures due to social and environmental injustices, among other factors. The characteristics of forced migrations include racism and sexual exploitation, human trafficking, the use of migrants for cheap or slave labour, and the treatment of migrants as “second class citizens”.
We see an increased awareness of the contributions of migrant workers as evidenced by the mobilizations in the United States and France in 2006, and by the weight placed on remittances by migrants to their families in their countries of origin. However, there are no policies in place to support the right of displaced peoples to return to their home communities, particularly those who have been displaced by occupation, disaster, or conflict. In order to confront the problems generated by forced migrations, the following proposals are made as strategies to contain forced migration:
1) The defence of territories, cultures, food sovereignty and self-reliance and the defence of rural, farmer, agrarian and urban organizations that are essential to ensuring dignity in the countryside and the city;
2) Articulating the value of peasant production and the creation of sustainable economic relationships that are outside of capitalist market rules.
We need to strengthen and promote independent migrants’ organizations and movements, from local to international. This includes strengthening alliances between organizations and social movements in countries of origin and the places where migrants live and work. We need to increase awareness about forced migration and the conditions that migrants face, especially in the food, fishing and agricultural sectors, and we need to stand in solidarity with migrant organisations as crucial allies in the fight for food sovereignty.
7. PRODUCTION MODELS
Food sovereignty and environmental stability are underpinned by agroecological production of food and the use of ecologically sensitive artisanal fisheries practices. But this form of production can only continue if society values and supports it and buys local foods whilst at the same time removing privileges and subsidies from industrial production systems that benefit transnational corporations. Industrial production models are capturing and destroying local markets, the livelihoods of small scale food providers and the diverse ecosystems upon which sustainable, low energy production depends. This industrial model pushes monocultures as well as the use of food crops and land for agrofuel production rather than to feed people. It also causes downstream pollution which, together with industrial fisheries and aquaculture, is killing our seas. The corporate-led production model is also environmentally damaging, destroying nature’s capacity to adapt and flourish and greatly contributes to climate change.
The models of production and the way in which food is sold and distributed are more important than the scale of production (small scale in one country can be seen as large scale in others) or where production takes place: food sovereignty is as applicable in Northern industrialised countries as in the global South.
Strengthening the links between producers and consumers and persuading them to switch to a ‘solidarity economy’ that supports local farmers, livestock keepers, artisanal fisherfolk and their systems of agroecological production and harvesting, as well as persuading authorities at all levels to buy locally produced foods for schools, hospitals and other public institutions, are key strategies. A challenge for the current generation is not only to change policy and societal support in favour of ecologically sustainable production but also to keep alive the values and the resources needed for this production system so that they can be taken up and used by the next.
C) FOOD SOVEREIGNTY ACTION AGENDA
WHAT WILL WE DO?
AT NYÉLÉNI 2007 we formulated the following joint strategies and action agenda to realise food sovereignty through actions to PROMOTE our agenda, to RESIST policies and practices that undermine it and to STRENGTHEN OUR MOVEMENT.
We will PROMOTE strategies, policies and lifestyles that strengthen community control, ecological sustainability, local knowledge and autonomy, and traditional wisdoms to assert food sovereignty in all of its dimensions as well as our associated Rights. We will identify and strengthen existing autonomous practices that provide food sovereignty as well as push our governments to respect and protect our rights to food sovereignty.
We will assert the right of food providers and consumers to have autonomous control over local markets as a crucial space for food sovereignty. We will strengthen local formal and informal markets and direct links between consumers and food providers by promoting community supported agriculture and fisheries that builds the necessary trust. We will promote food cooperatives, local processing, consumer forums and solidarity economies that favour local markets and fair prices for small scale producers. We will support fairness in trading and “fair trade” where it contributes to food sovereignty. We will create opportunities for an alternative market through initiatives such as community funds and product exchanges, such as bartering, seed fairs etc., which will reinforce links and solidarity among small scale food providers. We will propose to governments, policies that protect local production and markets.
We will assert that local knowledge and cultural values are paths to realising food sovereignty and will identify local, collective, and diverse experiences and practices, as examples, recognising that they are ever changing and dynamic – not static – and gather strength through exchange and solidarity. We will respect, recognise and strengthen local wisdom through preserving seeds, local seed networks, natural and traditional farming and alternative markets. Most importantly, we will conserve local knowledge by encouraging its use and supporting peoples who keep this knowledge alive through daily life, particularly women and indigenous communities. We will fight against all forms of intellectual property over life and knowledge, including the privatization and patenting of traditional wisdoms associated with food production. We will encourage the teaching of local knowledge in schools. We will organise research activities in order to compile and develop alternative solutions to problems faced by the different communities in their territories, emphasising and promoting traditional knowledge and wisdom. We will support research that is done by the people themselves and their local organisations, that strengthens food sovereignty and helps preserve productive land, water, seeds and livestock.
AGROECOLOGICAL PRODUCTION AND HARVESTING
We will promote socially and environmentally sensitive production systems that can be controlled by local food providers. These include: Agroecological production of food by peasant and family farmers; Pastoralism by traditional migratory and cross-border pastoralists that conserves grazing territories and utilises them for meat, milk, other foods, as well as fibre, fuel and other goods; Artisanal fisheries by fisherfolk that limit catching of fish and other aquatic organisms in order to conserve fish populations, fishing grounds, coral reefs, mangrove swamps and other areas and fish habitats essential for the regeneration of fish populations; Production from forests by forest dwellers who recognize and live by the diversity of forest products.
USE OF INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS AND PROGRAMMES
We will assert food sovereignty and associated rights by utilising international legal instruments such as the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and protocols, decisions, guidelines and programmes developed through, e.g., the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Fund for Agricultural Development; such as: the Voluntary Guidelines on the progressive realization of the right to adequate food; instruments that can limit imports of genetically modified organisms and granting of intellectual property rights on living organisms; and policies and programmes that promote small scale production. We will pressure governments to implement international agreements that enforce policies in support of food sovereignty and, in the framework of these agreements, to enact legislation that eliminates policies and practices that undermine food sovereignty. Through these instruments and related international negotiating forums we will promote the rights of farmers, livestock keepers, nomads, pastoralists, artisanal fisherfolk, indigenous peoples and others.
AGRARIAN REFORM AND COMMUNITY CONTROL OF TERRITORIES
We will fight for a comprehensive genuine agrarian reform that upholds the rights of women, indigenous peoples, peasants, fisherfolk, workers, pastoralists, migrants and future generations and enables the coexistence of different communities in their territories. Customary rights to territory must be recognized but must be adapted if they discriminate against women or marginalised communities. Agrarian reform must ensure priority in the use of land, water, seeds and livestock breeds, etc. for food production and other local needs rather than production for export. We will promote community-based management of territories that recognises the needs of diverse users and that protects territories from environmental threats, such as the destruction of mangroves and the fragility of coastal and marine ecosystems. We will protect our territories by promoting traditional low-impact production mechanisms and fighting against industrial aquaculture and agribusiness. We will promote the just sharing and management of water territories by, among other strategies, presenting a united alternative to the 2009 Istanbul Summit on Water.
We will RESIST the corporate-led global capitalist model and its institutions and policies that prevent communities from asserting and achieving food sovereignty. This includes challenging government policies that facilitate corporate control of our food production and distribution, as well as taking direct action against corporate practices.
We will combine fights against trade liberalisation with struggles to promote local production and markets and thus build food sovereignty. We will continue to target the World Trade Organisation, regional and bilateral trade agreements, dumping, the politicisation and manipulation of food aid and win back the right of every country to protect its domestic production and markets. We will fight for alternative policies in large food and agro-exporting countries that include supply management and price supports to prevent dumping, including an alternative Farm Bill in the United States of America and an alternative Common Agricultural Policy in Europe that promote family farm agriculture rather than agribusiness. We will also take actions against the massive imports of “cheap” food, which threaten sustainable local production. We will fight against trade rules and international financial policies that undermine food sovereignty. We will continue to resist any bilateral and multilateral agreements that threaten the needs of local producers and consumers and threaten food sovereignty.
We will fight against the corporate control of the food chain by reclaiming control over our territories, production, markets and the ways we use food. We will demand that our governments enact policies that eliminate corporate control and, instead, facilitate community control over food production and distribution. We will promote ecological production (agroecology, pastoralism, artisanal fisheries etc.) as a direct strategy against transnational corporations. We will join international boycotts and campaigns to dismantle the power of specific corporations in the food system. We will strengthen joint strategies by sharing information on the impact of these corporations on food sovereignty.
CONFLICTS AND OCCUPATION
We will join struggles against occupation and fight the walls and militarization of borders that splinter peoples and prevent their access to local food and productive territories, recognising that conflicts and occupations present a serious threat to food sovereignty and that asserting food sovereignty is crucial for peoples and communities to survive and thrive under adverse conditions. This includes standing in solidarity with all peoples who live under occupation, whose territories are divided by walls and who suffer from conflicts and disasters. We will strengthen our struggles, resistances and responses to conflict, occupation and disasters through learning from the experiences and strategies of each others’ communities and movements.
We will continue to fight against genetically modified crops, animals, and trees; against industrial aquaculture; against cloned livestock; and against the irradiation of food. We will fight against the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa and the introduction of genetically modified crops through food aid. We will organize national campaigns to prohibit Terminator and other technologies that lead to the sterilization of seeds and animals, in addition to supporting the international moratorium. We will work towards an immediate moratorium on new technologies such as nanotechnology, which has already been introduced into food and agriculture, and now presents new threats to health, the environment and peasant and fishing economies.
MONOCULTURES & AGROFUELS
We will mobilise and engage in international campaigns against the industrial production of agrofuels; these are often under the control of transnational corporations and have negative impacts on people and the environment. We will highlight the destructive impacts of the production model that pushes the conversion of productive land into monocultural production for agrofuels, paper pulp, genetically modified trees, and similar industrial crops (e.g. through the International Green Desert Campaign).
We will denounce industrial agriculture as a contributor to climate change and question the utility and effectiveness of carbon markets to reduce emissions and ensure climate justice. We will evaluate the impact at local and regional levels of climate change on food sovereignty, particularly how climate change affects our seeds, animals, fish etc, and the resilience of diversity to the effects and impacts of climate change. We will also look at climate change as a creator of natural disasters and support communities affected by climate change in developing mechanisms for adaptation and survival. We will develop strategies based on solidarity and exchanges between regions, but always ensuring local control. Finally, we will promote food sovereignty as an effective response to the impact of climate change.
STRENGTHEN THE MOVEMENT
Wewill STRENGTHEN THE MOVEMENTS for food sovereignty through mobilisation, alliance building, education, communication and joint action among movements throughout the world; and we will win.
We will mobilise across sectors in our joint struggles against those governmental policies, corporations and institutions that prevent the realisation of food sovereignty. Importantly, we will come together as pastoralists, fisherfolk, peasant farmers, women, indigenous peoples, and other communities from all regions of the world to practice and expand food sovereignty. By forging a common agenda and developing joint policy proposals we will be able to build a united movement that is strong enough to win the struggle for food sovereignty.
ALLIANCE BUILDING AND STRENGTHING OUR OWN MOVEMENTS
We will build the movement for food sovereignty by strengthening organisations, cooperatives, associations and networks, and building strategic alliances among diverse constituencies such as consumers, students, academics, health practitioners, religious communities, the environmental justice movement, water justice movements and people affected by large dams, extractive industry, wars, occupation and disasters. We will encourage constructive relationships between urban and rural communities, between producers and consumers and between peasants/farmers, fisherfolk, pastoralists, and indigenous peoples. We will work with migrants’ organisations to build solidarity with them and increase our understanding of their priorities. We will strengthen networks and alliances between social movements and migrants’ organisations, in both their countries of origin and the places where they live and work, and promote a code of rights from their point of view. We will support women’s organisations engaged in food sovereignty and the defence of local seeds and culture. We will reach out to peoples and communities that are not present at this forum and yet are essential in our collective struggle for food sovereignty.
We will promote political education in order to assert food sovereignty. We will increase awareness within our organizations and movements, by learning from each other, and will also raise awareness in other constituencies that include urban consumers and environmentalists in both North and South. Some education tools include: awareness raising days; workshops based on local wisdom; popular and political education and outreach in school systems. We will rely on our own wisdoms and hands-on education experiences that bring food sovereignty to life. We will implement education strategies on, for example: migration, the conditions of migrants and the links to our food; how our customary rights and land ownership laws affect our food sovereignty; the importance of consuming healthy local foods; and the effects of using genetically modified organisms and pesticides.
We will strengthen our own means of communication based on our cultures and local conditions, in order to counter corporate propaganda, challenge the globalised industrial food system and highlight good local experiences and knowledge. We will use diverse media, such as Radio Mundo Real, websites and community radio, working to bridge the digital divide. We will maintain the Nyeleni2007 website.
DAYS OF ACTION
We will coordinate and participate in days of action that are organized and promoted by allied organizations, bringing a focus on food sovereignty and encouraging the participation of all constituencies, especially women.
8 March: International Women’s day
14 March: International day against large dams
17 April: International Day of Peasants’ Struggle
12 October: Day of Indigenous Resistance
16 October: World Food Sovereignty Day
21 November: Small scale Fisherfolk Day
10 December: Human Rights day
18 December: International Migrants’ Day
Examples of Specific Actions proposed by Regions
• Calls for agriculture to be removed from the World Trade Organisation; and rejects Economic Partnership Agreements that are currently being foisted on our people and calls for a moratorium on this process.
• Rejects all moves by Transnational Corporations and their international support institutions to control our seed and demands a moratorium on the introduction of genetically modified organisms and particularly Terminator seeds into our continent.
• Africa can definitely feed itself but three successive globalisations have obstructed us; our farmers – and especially women who today do most of the work in food production and whose rights must be fully recognised, supported and realised – are the quintessential practitioners of agroecological farming practices.
West and Central Asia
• Initiate solidarity campaigns with farmers affected by occupation and wars, especially those denied access to their lands due to confiscation, unexploited ordinances/cluster bombs and apartheid walls; including media actions, boycott products of occupants and strengthening market opportunities of affected farmers.
• Run eco-friendly local markets and fight against Government policies that stop subsidies being applied to small scale production but which are in favour of large scale production.
• Plan joint regional actions and campaigns to reclaim and protect agricultural biodiversity in the region, starting with wheat.
• Campaign as a region against eviction of farmers from the land, fisher people from the sea; and mobilise landless people to acquire land.
• Organise a regional campaign against privatisation of water, land and seeds; take direct action against genetically modified organisms and Bt Cotton; declare GM-free villages.
• Organise a forum similar to Nyéléni 2007 in South Asia to develop a regional level platform and train a wide group of people from different sectors in food sovereignty issues.
South East and East Asia
• Campaign against Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), the international fish trade and against transnational corporations (TNCs).
• Support the struggles of peasants, fisherfolk and indigenous peoples for a comprehensive and genuine agrarian reform in the region.
• Further substantiate the Food Sovereignty framework and strengthen alliance building and communication among and between sectors and countries in the region through people-to-people exchanges
Latin America and Caribbean
• Campaigns against monocropping, green deserts, genetically modified organisms and agrofuels (not biofuels).
• Campaigns against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), Free Trade Agreements, World Trade Organisation and Plan Colombo.
• Campaign to defend and restore marine and coastal resources, defend access to water and against its privatisation and against large dams.
North America and Mexico
• Carry out massive education campaigns on food sovereignty and campaign, with international support, to change the US farm Bill.
• Demand that Free Trade Agreements be renegotiated and agriculture taken out; demonstrations with Canadians on US border, US in Washington, Mexicans on US border. Fisherfolk joining our struggle; Indigenous Peoples embraced and supported; women, youth, workers included.
• Continue anti-GMO and Ban Terminator campaigns, working for national bans around the world, and targeting specific Transnational Corporations.
• Campaign against Free Trade Agreements / Economic Partnership Agreements with regional trade blocks and link with activists from the respective regions; join Global Week of Action against Economic Partnership Agreements; change the Common Agricultural Policy with one based on Food Sovereignty.
• Build on existing campaigns – such as those against genetically modified organisms, Terminator technology (especially at the Convention on Biological Diversity/9th Conference of the Parties CBD/COP9 in Bonn, Germany), agrofuels and Transnational Corporation control – identifying and promoting food sovereignty elements in these campaigns and incorporating new actors who support the Declaration of Nyéléni.
• Promote Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) systems including in countries where they are not yet present; strengthen local markets; campaign to break the armlock of supermarkets
Examples of Specific Actions proposed by Sectors
Peasants / Farmers
• Undertake a massive global awareness campaign on food sovereignty.
• Fight against Transnational Corporations and the corporate control of the food chain – from seeds to supermarkets.
• Fight against transgenic industrial monocultures which are destroying biodiversity and promote agroecological agriculture as our option and a weapon against Transnational Corporations.
• Step up our fight for the protection of marine and coastal ecosystems, such as mangroves, through community based management of these ecosystems and with a central role for women.
• Continue to struggle against industrial aquaculture and destructive fishing and for the rights of subsistence and artisanal fisheries.
• Unite with others against the privatisation and liberalisation of coastal areas and the open seas and for the access to and control over these areas by traditional fisheries and artisanal aquaculturalists.
• Increase recognition that pastoralism is essential for food sovereignty and that pastoralists need to be mobile in order to survive. Build alliances with other sectors in support of pastoralism. We will organize an international day of support for pastoralism. Work with other sectors to ensure Human Rights and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
• Strengthen the pastoral movement at all levels and base our movement on traditional social organizations and tribal structures and find ways of sharing territories with other communities. Improve communication within our communities and learn more about our rights.
• With the support of the food sovereignty movement, pastoralists will pressure local governments and states to set laws to allow migration and Trans-boundary migration
• Protect territory of indigenous peoples. Continue producing our food in a traditional way, as we have done. Publicise, through alternative media, the struggles of indigenous peoples to gain food sovereignty.
• Strengthen local and national networks of indigenous peoples as well as national and international coordination spaces and seek international support for national and local mobilizations: for example on April 17 throughout the world to join the campesino movement against Transnational Corporations, asking the campesino movement to join indigenous peoples on October 12 (Day of Indigenous Resistance).
• Adopt the Atitlan (Guatemala) Indigenous Peoples declaration on food sovereignty and other similar international declarations.
• Participate in and, in solidarity, support the fights against the walls in e.g. Palestine, Ceuta-Melilla, and on the Mexican-US border; militarization of borders; detention centres; criminalisation of migrants and their families; deportation.
• Work for the legalization of migrants and their families to enjoy the rights that others have; promote a legal rights framework for Migrants.
• Oppose policies and models of Transnational Corporations and the states that serve them. Oppose agreements, wars and violence that cause displacement and make the situation worse for migrants.
• Promote local markets as well as public procurement for schools, hospitals, government offices and get a fair price for producers.
• Diffuse information and share experiences about Community Supported Agriculture movements and local food systems, from countries where these systems already work, to countries that do not have these: link local initiatives into a global movement.
• Raise awareness of urban consumers through farmers as educators not exhibits for tourists, bearing in mind that consumer attitudes are mainly formed by elites and the media; in this context, hands-on education has a vital role, from city farms to edible school gardens.
International Steering Committee, March 2007
[The formal output of Nyéléni 2007 Forum for Food Sovereignty – the Declaration of Nyéléni – can be found at www.nyeleni2007.org. The website also contains declarations from Malian and West African farmer’s organisations, women’s organisations and others as well as preparatory documents for the forum among many other articles, news reports, photos, videos and so on.]