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“It was a good forum”, was Paul Nicholson´s answer –member of agricultural union EHNE from the Basque Country, and spokesperson in Europe for La Via Campesina – to Real World Radio when he was asked about the Peoples´ Food Sovereignty Now! Forum. This forum was held from November 14th -17th in Rome, parallel to the World Summit on Food Security of the FAO.
Nicholson said that over 600 people representing 350 organizations from all parts of the world participated in the forum, in an open and participatory way, which means, according to Nicholson, that social movements are mature enough to build proposals.
“It was a very constructive and extremely rich forum, which represented faithfully the current situation of the Earth”, stated Nicholson, and he added that the event was proof of the fact that there is a strong process of consolidation of alliances.
“I think that for the first time how to build alliances among different organizations was discussed thoroughly, and some proposals were very accepted. For instance, the need not to have hierarchies among organizations, the need to respect local social movements and the different struggles. And of course, several big NGOs were present, which sometimes grassroots social movements fear in a certain way that their campaigns will block ours. So, in an honest debate, I think we moved forward on how to build alliances without leaving aside objectives and political views, and that was extremely good”, he explained.
Also, Nicholson made reference to the controversial statements made by Nestle´s Chairman on the participants of the parallel forum, and also the statements from a WB high official who said that the social movements “should not get hysterical” over the situation of food.
“In a context where a billion people are hungry, and where this figure is likely to increase by one hundred million in 2010, with a huge rural crisis, climate crisis (…), Nestle´s Chairman is saying this, a high official of the World Bank tells us not to get “hysterical”… Of course our radical enemies will be transnational corporations and the World Bank, because they want to manage all financial resources, making sure that nothing changes, they only want to impose the same policies through the World Bank. It is like a fox in the henhouse”, he said.
With reference to this, the leader talked about the role of social movements in the near future. “Now transnational corporations and the World Bank are starting to recognize that the civil society is well prepared, well articulated and ready to fight”, he concluded.
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