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FAO forges closer links with the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty

FAO working to increase civil society’s profile in global efforts toward hunger reduction
©FAO/Alessandra Benedetti.
FAO Director-General and IPC representatives at the signing ceremony.

23 May 2014, Rome – FAO and the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC) are stepping up their cooperation to try and put those who produce food at the centre of the global debate on food and agriculture.

In an exchange of letters that happened today, FAO recognized IPC's important role as a global platform for small-scale food producers, rural workers’ associations, grassroots and community-based organizations and social movements that brings together over 800 organizations and 300 million small-scale food producers.

FAO believes that the new partnership will boost food security and nutrition at the global and regional level by allowing the voices of millions food producers, including women, to be heard.

“It is our wish for FAO and the IPC to move forward together towards the achievement of a world free from hunger, where all voices are heard and all women and men participate in shaping the programmes, policies and regulatory frameworks affecting their lives and livelihoods,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said a signing ceremony held today.

“Opening FAO to civil society organizations has been a great priority since I assumed my mandate at the head of the organization,” he added. “We are changing, and getting closer to the social forces of the real world”.

“We do not want to take the responsibility away from states, but we also want to give the opportunity to other actors to participate in the processes,” Graziano da Silva said. “It is not an easy thing to do, but it is much-needed”.

Some of the priority work areas identified in the agreement arethe promotion of the implementation of FAO’s Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security at the national and grassroots levels; the execution of FAO’s Policy on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples; and securing the approval and implementation of Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries being developed by FAO's Committee on Fisheries (COFI).

“The small scale food producers organizations worldwide who make up the IPC have built together a different kind of model, in which land, water and seeds are a central element of the agroecology model, one that guarantees food sovereignty,” said representative of the Latin American and the Caribbean Agro-ecology Movement (MAELA), Maria Noel Salgado.

The agreement also foresees participation by the IPC in the work of FAO’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA) Commission, especially on sustainable use of plant genetic diversity and farmers’ rights.

Today's agreement comes as FAO seeks to promote strong participation by civil society and other non-governmental stakeholders at the Second International International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), which it is jointly organizing with the World Health Organization (WHO)  for 19-21 November in Rome.