063 The UN Decade for Family Farming – a historical opportunity to foster peasants' rights

Connecting the UN Decade with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants

Organizers

  • CFS Civil Society Mechanism

Abstract

Rome and Geneva are two spaces where UN institutions are working for policies that ultimately aim to end hunger and malnutrition and support the promotion of human rights. The upcoming launch of the UN Decade of Family Farming for 2019-2028, as approved by the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly, offers a great opportunity to more strongly connect food and agriculture policies with a human rights approach, by putting the rights of peasants at the center of attention.

In Geneva, the process of elaboration, negotiation and eventual approval of the Declaration for the Rights of Peasants and other people working in rural areas is scheduled to conclude at the Human Rights Council session in September 2018, to be submitted for final adoption at the UN General Assembly in November. 

The Decade on Family Farming is opening a gateway into the future, where concrete actions towards the implementation of new and promising policy frameworks are taken. The UN Declaration for the Rights of Peasants is such a new framework that requires collaborative action and implementation in the coming years.

The CFS vision is to strive for a world without hunger and to promote the progressive realization of the right to adequate food. CFS is committed to contribute to achieve SDG 2  - End Hunger. The CFS negotiated and approved a number of guidelines and policy recommendations, such as the Tenure Guidelines on Land Fisheries and Forests (VGGT) and the Policy recommendations on Connecting Smallholders to Markets, which served as substantial input and inspiration for the elaboration of the Declaration for the Rights of Peasants.

FAO and IFAD received the responsibility from the UN General Assembly to lead the implementation of the Decade for Family Farming. The Declaration of the Rights of Peasants, once adopted by the UN General Assembly, will represent a powerful start of the Decade for Family Farming and can help framing it towards the significant and long-awaited changes which put small-scale food producers and family farms at the center of political attention.

Key speakers/presenters

  • Video Message from Natalia Pacheco Rodriguez, Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of the Plurinational State of Bolivia in Geneva
  • Maria Rosa Semedo, Executive Secretary of Food and Nutritional Security Council, Cabo Verde, Chair of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP)
  • Liliane Ortega, Deputy Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN in Rome
  • Torben Nilsson, Global Engagement and Multilateral Relations Division, IFAD
  • Guilherme Brady, Partnerships and South-South Cooperation Division (DPS), FAO
  • Elizabeth Mpofu, General Coordinator, La Via Campesina
  • Moderator: Alberto Broch, COPROFAM

Main themes/issues discussed  

  • How the Decade for Family Farming and the Declaration of Peasants Rights can be connected and mutually support each other? How they can jointly contribute to the progressive realization of the right to food, as the vision of the CFS?
  • Process and content of the Declaration on peasants’ rights
  • The experience, process and perspectives of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP)
  • FAO and IFAD pathways for the implementation of the Decade of Family farming and its linkages with the Declaration of Peasants Rights
  • Perspectives, expectations and pivotal role of small-scale food producers towards the use and application of these crucial international frameworks and normative tools

Summary

  • The UN Decade of Family Farming serves as a framework for countries to promote and develop public policies and investments to support family farming and contribute to the achievement of SDGs by supporting family farming with a holistic perspective. The Decade offers an extraordinary opportunity to initiate a significant transformation of our food systems, in order to eradicate hunger, malnutrition, inequalities, poverty and fulfill, protect and respect human rights, including the Right to Food;
  • The adoption of the Declaration of Peasants Rights and the recognition of rights contained in the proposed legal instrument can contribute to better protect the rights of peasants and improve livelihoods in rural areas in the long term and at the global level. It fills existing normative gaps in protection of people living in the rural areas and therefore has a forward-looking potential to enhance efforts to end discriminatory practices;
  • The UN Decade of Family Farming offers multiple opportunities for promoting inclusive policies and framework which could foster the progressive realization of the right to food and the use and application of the Declaration of Peasants’ Rights;
  • A joint and coordinated effort of member states and small-scale food producers’ organizations is essential to reach SDGs and promote the implementation of the Declaration;
  • Family farming represents the largest percentage of existing farms. The SOFA 2018 shows that productivity in family farming is particularly high. Moreover, family farming practices usually include not only the production dimension, but also to strengthen social, ecological, cultural and other economic factors of communities and territories;
  • Regional guidelines to promote family farming were approved in the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP). CPLP has agreed to support and promote the adoption of the UN declaration on the rights of peasants and other people living in rural areas.
  • There is a need to generate the political consciousness to connect the Peasants Declaration and the Decade of Family Farming, especially among governments who will be leading both the activities under the Decade and the implementation of the Declaration.
  • The most recent SOFI report says that the number of people suffering from hunger is increasing, including rural workers, landless, peasants, and other affected constituencies. The Declaration on Peasants Rights is potentially an effective legal instrument to enhance protection of these most vulnerable groups;
  • Family farming is multi-dimensional and multi-layered, strongly embedded in its territory and rural reality. As FAO evidence shows, the organizations and collective actions of the food producers play a key role in overcoming poverty. They also play a key role in safeguarding natural resources, biodiversity and traditional knowledge.
  • The decade is an essential step to be taken to ensure a greater inclusiveness. There will be regular conferences, globally, on the topic and synergies could be established with the upcoming CFS monitoring process on policy recommendations closely linked to smallholder family farmers. This is a very important occasion to foster dialogues at national level, regional and global level;

Key take away messages

  • The Decade of Family Farming recognize the pivotal role of family farming in achieving SDGs;
  • The Declaration of Peasants Rights represents an opportunity to have an effective tool to achieve the progressive realization of the Right to Food, and therefore the vision of CFS;
  • The Decade of Family Farming offers a promising and inclusive framework for the implementation of the Declaration of Peasants Rights;
  • The support and political will of Governments are essential. A coordinated effort and action with the organizations of small-scale food producers is needed to ensure concrete results on the ground;
  • Connecting food and agriculture policies with a human rights approach is a pre-requisite to achieve SDG2 and all SDGs.
  • CFS will also benefit from these ongoing processes as they will both contribute in achieving CFS vision.
CFS - Side Event 063: The UN Decade for Family Farming – a historical opportunity to foster peasants' rights