Women’s Declaration on Food Sovereignty

We, women from more than 40 countries, from different indigenous peoples of Africa, the Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania and from different sectors and social movements, have gathered together in Sélingué (Mali) at Nyéléni 2007 to participate in the creation of a new right: the right to food sovereignty. We reaffirm our will to act to change the capitalist and patriarchal world which puts the interests of the market before the rights of people.

Women, who throughout history have been the creators of knowledge about food and agriculture, who still produce up to 80% of the food in the world’s poorest countries and are today the principal guardians of biodiversity and agricultural seeds, are particularly affected by neo-liberal and sexist policies.

We suffer the dramatic consequences of these policies: poverty, inadequate access to resources, patents on living organisms, rural exodus and forced migration, war and all forms of physical and sexual violence. Monocultures, including those dedicated to agrofuels, and the widespread use of chemicals and genetically-modified organisms have a harmful effect on the environment and on human health, particularly reproductive health.

The industrial model and the transnationals threaten the very existence of peasant agriculture, small-scale fishing and herding, as well as the small-scale preparation and sale of food in both urban and rural environments, all sectors where women play a major role.

We want to see food and agriculture taken out of the WTO and out of free trade agreements. What is more, we reject the capitalist and patriarchal institutions that see food, water, land and traditional knowledge, as well as women’s bodies, as mere commodities.

Seeing our struggle as part of the fight for equality between the sexes, we are no longer prepared to submit to the oppression of traditional or modern society, nor to the oppression of the market. We want to seize this opportunity to leave behind all sexist prejudice and build a new vision of the world based on respect, equality, justice, solidarity, peace and freedom.

We are mobilized. We are fighting for access to land, to territory, to water and to seeds. We are fighting for access to finance and to agricultural tools. We are fighting for good working conditions. We are fighting for access to training and to information. We are fighting for our independence and for the right to decide for ourselves, and for our full participation in decision-making.

Under the watchful eye of Nyéléni, an African woman who defied discriminatory rules, who shone through her creativity and agricultural prowess, we will find the energy to give effect to food sovereignty and, thereby, the hope of building a different world. We will find this energy in our solidarity. We will take this message to women all over the world.

Nyéléni, 27 February 2007