Agroecology Under Attack at the UN: Why It Matters to Our Movements and What We Can Do About It
Thursday, May 7th 1 – 2:30 pm EDT
This webinar was intended for US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) Members and Allies, hosted by the USFSA International Relations Collective.
The global climate crisis, and now the global coronavirus pandemic, have highlighted and exposed the danger of corporate agribusiness and the failures of the industrial food system. Now is the time for our organizations and movements to demand food sovereignty and agroecology.
Social movements have made great advances at the United Nations, gaining recognition of agroecology, farmers’ rights to seeds, and the human rights of peasants. But many of these advances are under attack by the US government and agribusiness, which seek to co-opt agroecology, discredit social movements, and roll out their own predatory technologies instead.
Join USFSA members and allies as we discuss the importance of the UN to social movements, the threats to the global struggle for food sovereignty coming from the US government, and what we can do about it with allies across the world.
- Patti Naylor, farmer from Iowa, member of Family Farm Defenders and the National Family Farm Coalition
- Jim Goodman, former dairy farmer from Wisconsin, Board President of the National Family Farm Coalition
- Pat Mooney, founder and former Director (now retired) of ETC Group
Additional Background for Webinar:
The world is facing multiple environmental crises – lack of fresh water, warming climate, and loss of biodiversity – due to the expansion of industrial agribusiness. The brunt of these crises is most acutely felt by rural communities. Rural communities contend not only with the environmental destruction, but also with the related economic impacts as farmers are pushed off their land to make way for large-scale projects and agricultural workers are deprived of their means of livelihoods.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the government response to “lock down” social and economic activity are already causing food insecurity in many communities. Moreover, the global disruption is very likely leading us to a global food crisis, while deepening the economic crisis created by capitalism and imperialism. This crisis could be even more devastating than the crisis a little over a decade ago that resulted in the reform of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in attempt to make it more democratic. Through the reform of the CFS, those most affected by the food systems – family and peasant farmers, fishers, indigenous peoples, and food system workers – and their allies can engage directly with policy makers in shaping the decisions that impact their lives. Thanks to the vigorous participation of these movements, the reformed CFS policy processes have systematically centered the right to food and other human rights in food security and nutrition related policies at global regional and national levels.
Through the tireless work of rural social movements like La Via Campesina (as well as the participation of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance), and with the support of a dedicated scientific community, the CFS has begun recognizing agroecological approaches as critical to building the resilience of the food systems and ensuring food security in the face of multiple environmental crises.
The CFS is now in the process of developing global policy guidelines on agroecology. However, agribusiness is pushing back against agroecology and delegitimizing it while simultaneously trying to dilute and co-opt it. Additionally, the landmark 2001 International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources, which recognizes farmers’ rights to seeds, is facing a new set of attacks from giant seed companies who argue that new genetic technologies exempt them from following it.
Corporations and their allies are turning to new technologies—such as genetic sequencing, precision agriculture, and block chain—as a new solution for sustainable food systems. Hailed as the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” these ‘innovations’ are being promoted by the US government at every international forum, including CFS, to maintain corporate control of global food and agricultural systems and sideline the movement for agroecology. The US Ambassador to the CFS (and to the other three UN Rome-based agencies, including the UN Food and Agriculture Organization), is a multinational agribusiness owner who has been outspoken in promoting a corporate agriculture agenda and discrediting agroecology.
Additionally, the UN Secretary General is planning an international Food Systems Summit for September 2021. However, rather than partnering with the most inclusive international forum on food security, the UN’s own Committee on World Food Security, or with organizations and experts that have been building sustainable food systems grounded in justice and equity, they are partnering with the World Economic Forum (which represents the world’s billionaires and corporate elites). Moreover, the chair of the Summit is none other than the President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, which has done the most to push GMOs on Africa at the behest of the Gates Foundation (which pushes GMOs around the world). The way this Summit is being planned represents a very serious threat to the integrity of our work and our movements.
While international policy spaces at the UN do not usually get much attention from organizations in the US, what is happening in these three spaces is critical for the work to advance agroecology, food sovereignty, and just and sustainable food systems.
The Next Agribusiness Takeover: Multilateral Food Agencies.” ETC Group. February 12, 2020. https://www.etcgroup.org/content/next-agribusiness-takeover-multilateral-food-agencies. – “Between now and late 2021, the World Economic Forum, agri-food conglomerates, IT companies and philanthropists (led by the Gates Foundation) have teamed up to spearhead three separate initiatives which could converge and utterly transform the multilateral agricultural system. At stake is influence over four institutions with a combined annual budget of $11 billion and 5100 scientific/professional staff.”
La Agroecología está bajo Ataque en la ONU: porque esto es importante para nuestros movimientos y cómo podemos defenderlo
Jueves, 7 de Mayo del 2020 de 1:00 hasta las 2:30 EDT
Este seminario por internet es para los miembros e aliados de Alianza por la Soberanía Alimentaria de los Estados Unidos (USFSA) y es auspiciados por el colectivo de Relaciones Internacionales de la USFSA.
La crisis climática global, y ahora la pandemia mundial de coronavirus, han resaltado y expuesto el peligro del agronegocio corporativos y las fallas del sistema alimentario industrial. Ahora es el momento para exigir la soberanía alimentaria y la agroecología.
Los movimientos sociales han logrado grandes avances en las Naciones Unidas, obteniendo el reconocimiento de la agroecología, los derechos de los agricultores a las semillas y los derechos humanos de los campesinos. Pero muchos de estos avances están siendo atacados por el gobierno de los EE. UU. y los agronegocios, que buscan cooptar la agroecología, desacreditar los movimientos sociales y desplegar sus propias tecnologías depredadoras.
Únase a los miembros y aliados de USFSA mientras discutimos la importancia de la ONU para los movimientos sociales, como el gobierno de los EE. UU. está amenazando a la lucha global por la soberanía alimentaria y lo que podemos hacer al respecto unidos con aliados en todo el mundo.
∙ Patti Naylor, productora familiar de Iowa, miembro de los Defensores de Las Fincas Familiares y de la Coalición Nacional de Productores Agrícolas Familiares.
∙ Jim Goodman, anterior productor de leche de Wisconsin, Board Presidente de la Junta de Directores de la Coalición Nacional de Productores Agrícolas Familiares.
∙ Pat Mooney, fundador y previo Director del Grupo ETC