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The Alliance for Food Sovereignty met with the regional office of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Santiago, Chile, on Monday to discuss various issues such as the recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights, the urgent need to stop land grabbing, strengthening the social movements in the region and the independence of organizations.
This was the alliance’s first continental meeting with the new FAO regional representative, Raul Benitez. He mentioned the importance of civil society in facing FAO’s main challenge such as eradicating hunger in the region – which has nearly 52 million people suffering from hunger- and the world. Benitez said it is necessary “to break with many stereotypes and many privileges” in this battle.
The FAO meeting took place as a result of two days of meetings held in Olmue where the Food Sovereignty Alliance determined the historical continuation of the Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty created in 2003.
During the meeting they decided to organize a conference to launch this space, which is open to regional and sub-regional organizations of peasants, women, landless workers, indigenous, fishermen, environmental activists and everyone who reclaims Food Sovereignty as their political and social focus.
Even though the movements recognized the FAO is changing, they said the organization has to update its definitions around land grabbing, the use of forests and its link with climate change.
They also ratified its independence from governments. The members of the Alliance affirmed their commitment taken at the FOA’s 32nd Regional Conference in March of 2012 in Buenos Aires, where they agreed to start a debate on the concept of food sovereignty.
Some of the tasks that result from this provisional coordinating committee of the Alliance are the follow-up of the relation with the FAO, the Committee on World Food Security and organizing at least four regional meetings to promote the Alliance and share some of the existing tools, such as the approved Guidelines on the Tenure of Land, Forests and Other Natural Resources.
They will also organize a Conference between March and April of next year to officially launch the Alliance and they will consider the possibility of hosting it in Colombia or Paraguay, where the struggle for food sovereignty has been faced with the interests of transnational corporations.
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