On 28 October 2018, the Peoples Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) held its 4thGeneral Assembly in Surat Thani province, Thailand with the theme “Defend Our Victories! Assert Peoples’ Rights to Land, Water, and Food!” The theme banks on the successes of the peoples’ struggles in defending and asserting their rights amid intensifying malnutrition, hunger, and impoverishment brought about by imperialist-backed development aggression, monopoly control of food systems and agriculture, state repression, militarism, and wars.
There are 55 delegates and observers coming from 14 countries: Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia,Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, South Africa and Thailand. The assembly was hosted by the Southern Peasants Federation of Thailand.
Sarojeni Rengam, International Coordinating Committee member of the International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS) and Executive Director of the PAN Asia Pacific, gave the discussion on the current international situation. She discussed how the competition between imperialist countries, particularly US and China, has kept the world economy unstable and in deep recession. Their schemes have resulted to land and resource grabs, world hunger, conflict, and killings, with the Global South being the most vulnerable. In response, there is an immense outpour of people’s resistance. The movement for the right to food and food sovereignty is intensifying.
Roy Anunciacion, outgoing Global Secretariat Coordinator, reported our accomplishments from January 2015 until October 2018. He accounted the activities following the 2015-2017 GPOA, which centered on the campaign against the corporate monopoly control of the global food system, and on the advocacy work on agroecology, food sovereignty and binding accountability instruments against agro-industrial corporations and governments with respect to human rights including the people’s Right to Food. He also gave a brief narrative of the implementation of the campaign plan 2018-2019.
Norma Maldonado, Global Co-Chairperson, presented the newly-approved PCFS members coming from Asia (3) and Africa (14). The new members from Asia – Labour Resource Center (Bangladesh), Ponlok Khmer (Cambodia), and Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Communities (Cambodia) – introduced themselves to the assembly.
Sylvia Mallari, Global Co-Chairperson, and Rhoda Gueta, newly-appointed Global Secretariat Coordinator, presented the General Program of Action (GPOA) for 2018-2021. In the GPOA, we committed to further strengthen and consolidate the broadest coalition on food sovereignty. We shall launch vibrant campaigns not only to increase the pressure on local, national, and international government mechanisms, but shall also serve as a venue in educating peasants to join the food sovereignty platform – building on the successes and advances of the Coalition’s fifteen years, and marching boldly to defend victories in our struggle. Our major resolutions and campaigns are encapsulated in the GPOA 2018-2021.
The five-point GPOA for 2018-2021 is as follows:
(1) bring grassroots struggles at the international level, with focus on the campaigns to
- protect our land,water, and resources,
- resist mega-mergers and agro-chem TNCs control,
- unite against famine and US war, and
- stop killing activists and people’s rights defenders;
(2) forward policy advocacy based on the issues and demands from the social movement;
(3) capacity development;
(4) consolidate and strengthen PCFS; and
(5) information and education. Assembly delegates approved the GPOA after the discussion and suggestions were noted.
The assembly elected Razan Zuayter (representing WANA) and Sylvia Mallari (representing Asia) as the new Global Chairpersons. Mallari was re-elected.
The new Executive Committee members are: Sylvia Mallari (Global Co-Chairperson), Razan Zuayter (Global Co-Chairperson), Poguri Chennaiah (Asia), Julie Smit (Europe), Florah Maswanganyi (Africa), and Norma Maldonado (Latin America and the Caribbean). ###