Participants closed the meeting with high spirits, committing to advance people’s food sovereignty in WANA through the strengthening of the platform.
The People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) hosted a learning exchange program (LEP) in the Philippines in October to November 2019. For more than two weeks, representatives of the Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Communities (CCFC), Cambodia Youth Network (CYN), and Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) met with people’s organizations in the Philippines for the sharing of good practices and experiences in organizing and the strengthening of their respective organizations as a social movement. They also visited two rural communities where they saw firsthand how Filipino peasant organizations claim and practice people’s food sovereignty amid poverty, landgrabbing, and repression.
The members of the CC noted the grim situation of food security – the failure of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the struggle for the right to food at all levels and all areas, among others. They agreed to use the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) to stress that rights are to be respected and implemented, not just used for negotiations. According to the CC members, previous CFS chairperson Mario Arvelo did not highlight the value of UDHR in the last CSM Forum.
“Sustaining a movement requires the vital participation of the youth and women in the front lines. Pakistan farmers and workers face very complex forms of exploitation and oppression. Struggling for genuine change requires mobilizing the strength of youth and women,” said Azra Sayeed, the executive director of Roots for Equity.
The People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) organized “Solidarity with Lumad Youth: Discussion on the Role of Indigenous Youth on Agro-Ecology” in partnership with PAN Asia Pacific (PANAP), Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), and Save Our School (SOS) Network last October 15. This activity is one of the globally-coordinated activities for the 16 Days of Global Action on Agroecology themed “Youth March On for Agroecology and Food Sovereignty!” of PANAP.
PCFS hopes that the APF adopt into its statement to the ASEAN Summit the genuine concerns to uphold people’s sovereignty and human rights while abandoning the neoliberal strategy the local elites, TNCs, and international financial institutions have dictated the ASEAN region to take and holding accountable governments and the private sector to their commitment and actions by ensuring that civil society have meaningful participation in decision-making.