Last December 11, 2014, the triennial General Assembly (GA) of the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) was held in Manila, Philippines. Participated by around thirty (30) partners and members from twenty (20) organizations of nine (9) countries across continents, this year’s 3rd General Assembly reconfirmed each of the members’ commitment to further improve the network’s works on building and developing partnerships and increasing leadership role on issues related to global food, genuine agriculture and rural development, effective coordination of campaigns and efficiently raising of funds to support the local, national, regional and global level campaigns of the network and its partner organizations.
The meeting, which was also a celebration of the network’s 10th year anniversary, became an avenue to be reminiscent of the birth of the network as a response to the global threat of neoliberalism brought about by the structural adjustment program of the World Bank and the Agreement on Agriculture by the World Trade Organization (WTO) during the time.
Aimed at serving as an alternative platform against neoliberal globalization on food and agriculture policies, the consolidation of the network’s decade-long experience of struggles and challenges on coalition-building, partnership and structure became the focus of the meeting wherein the regional works, achievements and challenges faced in the past years as well as its works and campaigns in the international arena were also presented.
During the meeting, the adoption of the amended by-laws was done which mainly recognized the need of the network for an Executive Committee apart from its existing Global Steering Council and Regional Steering Council members. The Executive Committee which is tasked to provide guidance and ensurance for the network to operate in all levels of struggles will be composed of the two (2) co-chairs and one (1) representative from each region globally. The regions will include the Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), West Asia and North Africa (WANA) and Europe. With the existence of the new composition of the Global Steering Council members—two (2) co-chairs, five (5) Regional Steering Council members from Asia, Africa and LAC and the representatives of WANA and Europe which do not have an established Regional Steering Council currently—it was agreed that the roles of the Executive Committee must be clearly defined to better facilitate the coordination amongst and between the council members and better serve with and for the global small-scale food producers.
The confirmation of the Africa and LAC Regional Steering Council members was also done. Preceding this is the assembly’s agreement to conduct respective Regional General Assemblies to consolidate the regional members and partners, respond to regional issues and concerns pertaining to food and agriculture and strategize for the global campaigns and overall plans and programs of the network for the years to come.
The GA also reiterated the commitment of the PCFS to build the broadest coalition for food soverighty through its 2014-2017 General Program of Action (GPOA). The network is expected to coordinate campaigns against the corporate monopoly control of the global food system, campaign against agro-industrial practices that affect biodiversity and the environment, implement advocacy work on agroecology, food sovereignty and binding accountability instruments against agro-industrial corporations and governments with respect to people’s rights including the People's Right to Food. These will include the continuous support of the network to local struggles of network members against the genetically modified organism (GMO) promotion, imposition of seed laws and transnational corporations-biased trade agreements. The conduct of coordinated actions to defend the agricultural land and ancestral domain of indigenous communities against mining, mega dams, oil exploration projects, large infrastructure projects and plantations among others. The network will also sustain and improve its effective strategies on targeted international policy for a and engagement in the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Global Partnership for Effective and Development Cooperation (GPEDC) to continue with alliance building with other rural organizations, expose and oppose policies that will affect the rural sector directly and indirectly.
These will be possible by popularizing the information and education among and between the partners and the largest constituency of the network which is the small-scale food producers. Intensifying the local and national level food sovereignty trainings, regularization of the publication of Special Release and Speak Out that will feature issues confronting the members of the network will also be ensured. The structure of the network and the active participation of the Global Steering Council members in fundraising and developing sectoral programs defined by its members were also given priority during the discussion to help the network attain its self-reliance.
The PCFS 3rd General Assembly concluded by electing the new co-chairs of the network who are Ms. Norma Maldonado of AROAJ, Guatemala and Ms. Sylvia Mallari of Asian Peasant Coalition (APC), Philippines. ###