The IUF has joined with civil society allies in 3 days of events (July 25-28) to confront this year’s Food Systems Summit convened by UN Secretary General António Guterres. Challenging the UN Food Systems Summit (UN FSS) brought together hundreds of civil society organizations, academics and scientists in on-line events to denounce the Summit and to present ideas and strategies to reform world food systems with a focus on human rights and sustainable agriculture, especially agro-ecology.
- Concerns about the UNFSS started as soon as it was announced, in particular how it would relate to the UN Committee on World Food Security, the foremost inclusive international and intergovernmental platform working toward the elimination of hunger and ensuring food security and nutrition for all human beings
- Concerns intensified when Agnes Kalibata was appointed Food System Summit Special Envoy, given her background with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) which encourages the development of high-tech agriculture and intensive farming with funding from the World Bank and the Gates Foundation
- In January 2021, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Michael Fakhri went public with his concerns about the lack of focus on human rights: in an open letter to Kalibata he wrote, “The Summit still appears to be heavily skewed in favor of one type of approach to food systems, namely market-based solutions. Ever since the 2008 food crisis, there remains a concern that depending on financiers and entrepreneurs to dominate food systems leads to more instability…A human rights-based approach to food systems, however, puts people before profits. Human rights ensure that markets serve social needs and oblige States to provide people with adequate social protection. The challenge is not just about eliminating hunger and malnutrition. Our duty to ourselves and future generations is to change food systems in a way that ensures that everyone on the planet lives with dignity. There will be no real solutions if we focus on science and technology, profits and markets, without also addressing fundamental questions of equality, accountability, and governance”
The final date for the UN FSS has not yet been set, but the IUF will continue to work with civil society allies to denounce any summit which does not have the rights of those who work in agriculture at its heart and which strengthens corporate control over the food system.