#SiegeTheSummit: Thousands echo calls of rural peoples to end neoliberal food systems
As part of the Global People’s Summit (GPS) on Food Systems, thousands of people across the globe participated in online and on-the-ground protest actions against the recently concluded United Nations Food Systems Pre-Summit. The GPS is a counter-summit to the UNFSS, which has earned the criticism of people’s movements and CSOs for the big role given to corporations in shaping the direction of food and agriculture policy.
In #SiegeTheSummit counter-mobilizations from July 2 to 29, the voices and demands of marginalized rural peoples from the Global South—landless farmers, agricultural workers, indigenous peoples, fisherfolk, rural women, youth, rural people living in occupied areas, and sanctioned peoples—were highlighted. More than 100 organizations at the local, national, regional and global levels organized or participated in various consultations, workshops, webinars and other online fora, and street mobilizations.
A day before the official opening of the UN FSS Pre-Summit, migrant agricultural workers led a sit-in protest in front of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, Italy where delegates were starting to arrive. Street mobilizations were also held in Jakarta, Indonesia and Manila, Philippines despite lockdown restrictions.
Participants of the #SiegeTheSummit counter-mobilization issued resounding calls to end neoliberal or profit-motivated food systems, the overall framework of the market-based tech-driven “solutions” pushed by the UN FSS. Instead, they pushed for people-powered solutions to the food, climate, and biodiversity crises, which are anchored n reclaiming the people’s lands, seeds, and rights.
“Around a billion people go to sleep hungry despite peasants producing enough food to feed 1.5 times our global population. This is the result of decades of imperialist exploitation and oppression, and not something that can be fixed by ‘innovations’ or ‘inclusivity’ defined by the same global elite that has extracted superprofits from a basic human need—food,” said Razan Zuayter, Global Co-chairperson of the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS), one of the leading organizers of the GPS.
“The Global People’s Summit believes that farmers, not corporations, will genuinely transform global food systems. This transformation can only happen through the following. First, peasants must have the right to land and resources. Second, there must be community-led agroecology or sustainability in food production, distribution, and consumption. Third, people’s food sovereignty—or the power of people and communities to assert and realize the right to food and produce food—must be at the core of food and agriculture policies. Only then can people realize their right to adequate, safe, nutritious, and culturally-appropriate food, or what we aspire for as food for all,” Zuayter added.
Among the highlights of the #SiegeTheSummit counter-mobilizations are global events such as a July 25 Online Mobilization participated in by rural peoples from Asia, Latin America, West Asia-North Africa, and Africa; a webinar on the effects of WTO subsidies on fisherfolk; a workshop on the demands of agricultural workers; a webinar on the impacts of wars and occupations on food security; and a Peasant Press Forum highlighting the issues and struggles of mostly landless peasants.
The GPS is convened by 18 co-organizing groups across the globe and will culminate in a counter-summit parallel to the UN FSS happening in September in New York. For more information, visit our website: www.hungry4change.info