SE083 The future of food and the visions of the youth: "We don't inherit land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children" (Native American Saying).

Organizers

  • CFS Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples' Mechanism (CSM)

The world is at a crossroads. The number of food insecure and malnourished is rising, the current food systems are broken, communities and the planet ecosystems are facing unprecedented loss of biodiversity and the climate change has become a crisis, dramatically changing communities' relation with natural resources and territories, forcing millions to leave their homes and families. We cannot ignore longer these huge challenges. What will be left for us as youth and future generations? And what is our active role in reversing this dramatic trend, also in the CFS?

The recently launched Global Action Plan for the Decade of Family Farming recognizes youth as one of the key pillars and agents for the next 10 years' framework. The Action Plan states that a "the future of food and agriculture lies in the hands of the next generation" of family farmers and rural communities. It also says that a "coordinated response to the complex challenges that youth face is more urgent than ever" and that there is an urgent need to improve youth capacities "for collective action" as the way forward to "reframe society's perception of family farming as a dynamic sector with constant renewal capacity".

CSM youth comprises the voices of the youth constituencies most at risk but also most contributing to food security and nutrition. Through a consultative process, we are finalizing our vision, articulating our demands and needs, identifying the tools to fully realize them. We are not just an additional element of the labor market, we are agents of change, we are voices that need to be heard and we are fostering on the ground changes for a sustainable and just, rural and urban environment for all.

With this side event we want to take the opportunity to present our visions, to highlight the urgent need of recognizing youth as a fundamental actor in the decision-making and policy debate and to stress once again that youth is not a monolithic agent but is a plural political subject inspired by its diversity and intersectionality.

We will use this space to address the issues that are at the core of our own path of empowerment and development: the access to territories, natural resources and means of production, including the ownership of land and natural resources such as water among others; the need of public policies that allow us to advance in the way we define, but also support our empowerment through health, education, recreation, social services, access to local markets and to native seeds; the need of promoting finance programs for the permanence, retention and return to the rural areas of young people as a way to revert the process of forced migration from rural areas; the need to have full recognition of our diversity and autonomy as young peasants, farmers, pastoralists, indigenous peoples, rural and urban youth, workers, consumers, and especially as contributors to the economy; the need to have full recognition of our rights as youth.

Key speakers/presenters

  • Ms. Hilal Elver, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
  • Mr. Luis Fernando Ceciliano, Alternate Permanent Representative of Costa Rica
  • Mr. David Suttie, IFAD
  • Ms. Chaturika Sewwandi, Vikalpani National Women’s Federation, Sri Lanka
  • Ms. Jessie MacInnis, National Farmers Union, Canada

Moderated by:

  • Ms. Nzira Deus, World March of Women, Mozambique

Main themes/issues discussed 

The world is at a crossroads. The number of food insecure and malnourished is rising, the current food systems are broken, communities and the planet ecosystems are facing unprecedented loss of biodiversity and the climate change has become a crisis, dramatically changing communities’ relation with natural resources and territories, forcing millions to leave their homes and families. We cannot ignore longer these huge challenges. What will be left for us as youth and future generations?  And what is our active role in reversing this dramatic trend, also in the CFS?

Summary of key points

  • The Climate crisis is also a food systems crisis and the small-scale food producers, particularly the youth, are at the forefront of this challenge.
  • The Decade of Family Farming offers a unique opportunity to boost rural youth participation and act locally. The Decade’s Action Plan recognizes youth as one of the main key pillars towards an inclusive rural development.
  • It is fundamental to ensure youth are connected to markets, have access and control over land, water, seeds and natural resources as a crucial prerequisite to retain them and foster their presence and protagonism in rural areas. Grassroot education is also a fundamental aspect.
  • Youth needs to mobilize in different ways to pressure governments to change direction. We need a radical shift of the dominant production and consumption paradigm if we want youth to have really a future starting from today.
  • It is important to also focus on young agricultural and food workers to ensure their workers’ rights are protected.
    Inequalities are impacting youth capacities to self-determine themselves and their development path.
  • Private interests and corporate grabbing of natural resources are strongly impacting youth’s right to food and often force them to migrate and leave their communities and rural areas.
  • CSM also presented its youth vision spelling out the expectations and demands of millions of youth all over the world.

Key take away messages

  • Youth is an autonomous and plural actor. They are embedded in their communities and their agency needs to be respected, recognized and valued by all actors in society.
  • Youth should have access to the policy decision-making spaces at local, national, regional and global level.
  • Youth are not only the future, they are also the present. In this sense governments should put in place policies and incentives focusing on education and youth engagement at local level, including in participatory monitoring exercises.
  • Local and grassroots initiatives and approaches led by youth should be valued and supported by public policies such as Agroecology.
  • We need a systemic change. Human rights-based approaches should inform all policies on food security and nutrition, including those related to youth.
  • There is a huge expectation towards the upcoming CFS dedicated workstream on youth. Nevertheless, youth perspectives should also be embedded into other workstreams such as the one on Agroecology and other innovations, gender and inequalities. 

 

 

CFS 46 Side Event: SE083 The future of food and the visions of the youth

 

The contents of this page is provided by the Side Event organizers and does not reflect the opinion of CFS