Last October, the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) participated in the annual Forum of the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM)[i] for relations with the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS). It was held at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy. Noreen Maagma of the Global Secretariat represented PCFS.
The CSM Coordination Committee (CC) met on Oct. 10 to 12. The members of the CC discussed the political situation of the CFS, the CSM evaluation report, the 2019 strategy of the CSM particularly the priorities, and the CSM’s position in the CFS 45th plenary session on Oct. 15 to 19.
PCFS joined the Asia group during the CSM annual Forum on Oct. 13 to 14. The group met with state representatives of various countries in Asia, particularly China, Philippines, and Thailand. The Coalition asserted that the rural peoples’ right to live can only be achieved if their right to land is guaranteed, ensuring their access to land and its cultivation. The adverse impacts of the International Monetary Fund-World Bank Group (IMF-WBG) policies to people lives were also raised, in time of the coinciding IMF-WBG annual meeting and its counterpart People’s Global Conference in Bali, Indonesia. PCFS also recommended that governments from Asia should conduct a similar dialogue at the country-level, which was also echoed by other CSM representatives.
The Coalition also co-organized the “Defend the Defenders: How to effectively protect those who fight for the right to food?” It was one of the CSM side events at the CFS 45, held Oct. 17. Delegates from Cameroon, Kenya, Palestine, and South East Asia – represented by PCFS’s Maagma – shared their testimonies. Maagma presented the cases of land grabbing in Cambodia, Philippines, and Indonesia and discussed how the rights of rural peoples including farmers and indigenous peoples are violated. It was stressed that the massive land and resource grabbing have intensified for monocrop plantations and mining. Rural communities asserting for their rights are met with state-sponsored violence and repression.
PCFS also submitted to UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Hilal Elver and FAO Director General Jose Graziano Da Silva the findings of two International Fact-Finding Missions the Coalition co-organized this year: on the spike of human rights violation in Mindanao, southern Philippines due to the implementation of Martial Law, held April; and on the land grabbing of Chinese company Hengfu in Preah Vihear province, Cambodia, held September. The UN officials were called to look into these issues and intervene by urging the governments of the Philippines and Cambodia to abide by national laws and international covenants in respecting the rights of the affected communities. ###
[i] The Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) for relations with the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is the largest international space of civil society organizations (CSOs) working to eradicate food insecurity and malnutrition. The CSM was founded in 2010, an autonomous part of the reformed CFS. The purpose of the CSM is to facilitate civil society participation and articulation into the policy processes of the CFS.