ON THE WORLD FOOD SUMMIT-five years later (WFS-fyl)
11-12 May 2002
With a representation of 120 delegates of people's movements, NGOs and CSOs from 13 countries in Asia met in Kathmandu from 11-12 May, 2002 to deliberate on solutions to world hunger.
On the basis of collective experiences, interventions, research and struggles the participants accepted the impact of the agenda of exploitative, profit-oriented agricultural development and food production on the lives of peasants, fisher folk, women, indigenous peoples, agricultural and rural workers, landless labourers, urban poor, bonded labourers, forest dwellers, young people, children and consumers in Asia, has been devastating.
The impact of the globalisation process promoted by the World Trade Organisation and the structural adjustment programmes of the Multi-lateral development banks and the financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund has had a detrimental effects .
A handful of Transnational Corporations (TNCs) and big businesses have benefited from these policies and programmes. These impacts include loss of livelihood, land, water, forests and other resources, little or no access to food resulting in hunger, starvation and famine, the displacement of people, unemployment, forced migration, and increased vulnerability to exploitation and oppression. Corporate agriculture that continues to promote hazardous technologies including use of pesticides and Genetically Modified Organisms ( GMOs) threaten health, food safety and the environment. The dominance of corporate control is further entrenched by patents on life forms. This over riding policy and programme has led to the loss and intensive erosion of rights and dignity of people in Asia.
This process has also adversely affected peoples’ control over food production and consumption. Additionally it has resulted in the loss of control over resources both at the community and national levels. This loss of control and threats to food security has been perpetuated due to lack of political will and decreasing democratic space.
The crucial promise of the 1996 World food Summit to halve poverty and hunger by the year 2015 has been declared impossible to achieve by the same institutions that adopted it. Needless to say this promise was made to be broken for no other rationale except the lack of political will and lack of concern and commitment for the poor and marginalised.
The programmes and practices aimed at reducing hunger and malnutrition by the Bretton Woods institutions, international financial organizations and intergovernmental agencies have failed miserably. This political inertia has instead aggravated food insecurity.
Peasants, workers, women, indigenous, fisher folk and people’s movements who have mobilized and resisted in order to claim their rights have been repressed and terrorized by the state, transnational corporations and international institutions and agencies. The struggle for right to food, food security and sovereignty is intrinsically linked with the struggle for political empowerment and participatory democracy.
This process of struggle must give special focus and emphasis to women's empowerment. The invisibility of women in agriculture, non-recognition of women in food production and their exclusion and discrimination in decision making, has led to the erosion of their rights and their participation policies and programmes. The participants reiterated that the only if women were included in the participation process of decision making would it render dignity to their existence as equals.
Therefore in order to ensure rights are protected , and dignity restored and respected, we felt that there is a need to recognize food sovereignty as the basis and principle for food production and consumption including food and agricultural policies. In this context, agriculture must be taken out of the WTO.
Food security and sovereignty is an integral and fundamental part of social justice and genuine national development. Priority must be given to policies and programmes that protect and support agriculture as a sustainable livelihood with agro-ecologically based food production systems. These systems should lead to elimination of agro-chemicals and a moratorium on Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMOs).
Participants agreed that in order to realize food sovereignty at all levels, there has to be global recognition and commitment by the adoption of an International Convention on Food Sovereignty.
To ensure that the governments, and other national and international actors are transparent and accountable to protect the right to food and resources, especially genuine people-centred agrarian and fisheries reform and to realize food security, an international code of conduct on right to food and resources has to be adopted and implemented by governments, coordinated and monitored by FAO.
The protection of peoples’ rights and the realization of our aspirations for food sovereignty and security can only be achieved through commitment, and coordinated struggle in Asia with international solidarity.
By the People’s, NGOs and civil society movements in 13 Asian countries from Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Indonesia, India, Japan Nepal, Malaysia, Philippines, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.