The first conclusions of the working groups of the World Forum on Food Sovereignty were revealed on Saturday, at a plenary session where all the delegates that are taking part in the forum were present.
The first group, which discussed international trade policies and local markets, emphasized the opposition to bilateral and regional free trade agreements as well as the multinational institutions that force the southern countries to adopt neoliberal policies. The group also expressed its rejection to northern countries’ subsidies to agricultural and food exports, because they destroy the southern countries’ agriculture, who cannot compete, and damage northern countries’ small-scale producers.
The group also expressed its rejection to the concentration of lands in the hands of people who do not work it, criticized southern countries’ policies that benefit imports and damage local production, and rejected genetically modified organisms and biofuels.
The group that discussed technology and local knowledge emphasized that grassroots producers are the main responsible for keeping the knowledge that allows them to move forward towards the achievement of food sovereignty, a goal that is being threatened by certain technologies, including genetically modified organisms and biofuels.
The group that debated on the access to and control over natural resources outlined that –despite the diverse opinions of the participants—there is a shared concern on the access to natural resources, which—according to them—should be free for everybody, because the communities are the true owners of the resources.
The group that analysed territory-sharing and possible alliances between sectors, expressed that the main problem is the privatization of natural resources—although they questioned if it was correct to use the term ’natural resources’, because it is an economic term that does not represent the ideology of the forum’s participants. The group also criticized the forced eviction of people from their lands and expressed concern over the advance of neoliberal rules that benefit corporations and damage communities.
The group that debated likely answers to natural conflicts and disasters counted on the participation of victims of the Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. The group shared testimonies and intended to unify criteria regarding likely positions, although they stated that the discussion had just began.
The group that discussed social conditions and forced migrations exposed their criticism to the neoliberal model, which they held responsible for displacements, especially in rural communities. The group concluded that it is necessary to end with this destructive model, which must be a crucial part of the struggle for food sovereignty.
And finally, the group that discussed production models said there are two models: one of them is based on neoliberal principles, while the other one is based on food sovereignty. The group decided to adopt and develop the second model, by strengthening solidarity mechanisms among the peoples, the organizations and promoting policies aimed at local development.
After the presentations, the president of Mali, Amadou Toumani Touré arrived in Selingue and addressed forum’s participants.
The Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez could not attend the forum—as it was scheduled—but sent a delegation with a message for the participants of the forum.