On October 16, World Hunger Day, we shall expose the failure of Zero Hunger and the SDGs: that the global hunger situation is caused by the control and domination of oppressive structures and policies on our food and agricultural systems that favor corporate interests. Let us assert food sovereignty, our power to realize our right to food and produce food, the full realization of people’s democracy in all aspects of the food and agriculture system, as the genuinely sustainable, and people-centered alternative against neoliberal globalization on food and agriculture policies.
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.
We must advance our resistance to fascist attacks and corporate plunder by strengthening peoples’ movements. Our hope comes in harnessing our movements’ energies to create structural changes in the region through our collective and militant assertion, vis-a-vis prevailing neoliberalism in ASEAN governments’ economic policy, global powers’ struggles for influence in the region, and attacks on people’s fundamental freedoms.
We reaffirm our assertion that the people’s rights to land and resources of the rural communities in the Mekong must be respected and protected, and that all forms of state repression on civil society and communities resisting land and resource grabbing must be stopped.
Additionally, the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) is concerned about attacks on farmers. “Organisations and communities continue to assert food sovereignty and their right to till the land against land grabs facilitated by international finance institutions and corporate giants and repressive elite-led states. Increasingly, there are people’s assertions against land grabs of China-based firms and controversial hydroelectric dam projects in the Mekong sub-region, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines,” according to Theng Saveoun of PCFS – Asia.
Participating organizations highlighted the catalyzed efforts of the current administration to create and amend land-related laws that significantly impact the small farmers’ and indigenous peoples’ access to land. One highlight includes a discussion on the abrogation of the Vacant, Fallow, and Virgin (VFV) Land Management Law—a land registration scheme aimed to secure land rights for investors. With the recent lapse of the deadline, farmers—mostly ethnic minorities—are being forcibly removed from around 20 million hectares of land for corporate interests.