The Committee on World Food Security is an intergovernmental body concerned with international food and nutrition policy. Since 2009 this body has consulted with a range of stakeholders, including civil society. This September, Connie Hunter, on behalf of WEN, attended the Regional Civil Society consultation for Europe and Central Asia in Brussels.
What an experience! We were part of the process through which civil society organisations, fisherfolk, pastoralists, farmers and agricultural workers get to have their say on international food and agriculture policy.
Up for discussion were the proposed principles for responsible agricultural investment. A resounding consensus was struck to highlight the massive share of total agricultural investments which are made by small-holders; around 70% of the global total. Within that, women play a major role in agricultural production in developing countries. However, they face consistent barriers in access to and ownership of land, access to credit and agricultural extension services. We highlighted the importance of agricultural investments which specifically attempt to overcome the bottlenecks in women’s access to these resources.
Investment in small scale, sustainable, agroecological techniques and extension services was also agreed upon as vital, in place of the current norm of agricultural investment which displaces millions of people around the world for massive monoculture production.
To talk about these issues with a diverse group of people from different countries with different livelihoods was a privilege. To know that we are engaged in a common struggle for a more sustainable and equitable food system with such a diverse array of people around the world is both heartening and inspiring. I heard many stories of successes for environmental activists throughout Eastern Europe that we never hear about: a Bulgarian participant told me about how they helped to bring about an absolute ban on any exploration for, or extraction of, gas using hydraulic fracturing, as well as a ban on the cultivation of GMOs.
Building networks and solidarity among people promoting a more sustainable system of food production and consumption is going to be increasingly important in the years to come, and we hope that WEN can play an active role in these processes.
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