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Nyéléni 2007

First Conclusions of the World Forum on Food Sovereignty

Radio Mundo Real coverage at Selingué

Tuesday 27 February 2007, by maitreuweb

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

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

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.