Rural Peoples Conference on Land, Hunger, and Climate – People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty

October 12, 2022

Unchain Our Food: Advancing People’s Food Sovereignty amid a Global Food and Climate Catastrophe

17 and 18 October, 7 to 10 AM CET | 9AM to 12PM Uganda/Jordan | 11AM to 2PM Australia (Sydney) | 2 to 5PM Philippines/Malaysia | 3 to 6AM Chile

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The world is yet again at a turning point after the COVID-19 shock of 2020. A global food crisis, persisting and deep in its character, is wreaking havoc in both developed and developing countries, but most intensely in the Global South. This, at a decisive moment of an ongoing climate emergency facing humanity.

Still today, over 2.3 billion people don’t have access to enough food that is safe, healthy, and appropriate for their culture. This is despite consecutive years of record production of foodstuffs globally.

Food prices have risen faster this year than during the 2008 crisis, plunging millions more into a state of hunger, want, and destitution. On the other hand, food and agriculture billionaires from the US, the EU, and China are posting record profits—clearly gaining what little purchasing power the people have lost—amid famines rising and a climate catastrophe.

These mega-corporations from a handful of rich countries control the chain of profiteering in global food production, distribution, and consumption. Big oil financiers back these TNCs that promote fossil fuel-hungry agriculture and pocket huge gains as the world starves and burns.

In fact, the G20 group – contributing to 75% of the world’s carbon emissions – has continued to subsidize the fossil fuel industry amid the pandemic, so much so that their carbon footprint is bouncing back to its pre-pandemic level in today’s “new normal.”

The same rich nations and their TNCs, however, dominate the policy floors and solution-building platforms that are meant to address the very problems they create. The vast majority of discussions and policy debates about the global food crisis continue to be obscure and technical, disguising the catastrophic consequences and underlying causes of the situation.

More importantly, current and official initiatives and commitments such as last year’s United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) and COP26 only serve to reinforce the unjust, inequitable, unhealthy, and unsustainable food systems underneath the global food and climate crisis. Greenwashed reforms, for instance, are touted as “nature-positive” in order to sugarcoat corporate greed.

Paradoxically but unsurprisingly, rural peoples of the Global South are at the short end of this new wave of hunger and, often, adverse climate-related events. With most of them landless and shackled in dire poverty, the rural peoples are bearing the brunt of these increasingly converging crises. They are the most vulnerable to the cascading effect of the global food crisis: the huge waves of landgrabs and rapid decline in climate resiliency in the Global South.

At the heart of the crisis is the fragile and neoliberal nature of our current food systems. Today’s global food crisis, the third in the last 14 years, only serves to illustrate the necessity for just, equitable, healthy, and sustainable food systems, with the rural food producers of the Global South at the core.

With rich countries and their TNCs at the helm of so-called food system transformation, upholding the same chains of profiteering, preserving the shackles of poverty and landlessness, and reinforcing the outdated links of our food systems to unsustainable and destructive agriculture, it’s high time to unchain our food.

It is in this context that the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) is organizing the Rural Peoples Conference on Hunger, Land, and Climate in October 2022, a follow-through to the successful Global People’s Summit (GPS) on Food Systems that the Coalition initiated September last year.

The Rural Peoples Conference on Hunger, Land, and Climate, scheduled to take place from October 17-18, 2022, intends to be a decisive platform for the voices of rural peoples and their solutions.

The Global Conference aims to highlight the ongoing struggles and resistance of rural peoples to ensure food sovereignty and decent living conditions for all. It is expected to produce work plans that will operationalize the GPS Action Plans and realize its Declaration.

The Conference will be done in a hybrid manner, with participants gathered physically in Uganda and virtually in Zoom. The plenary sessions are open to public viewing while the breakout sessions, grouped by region, are by invitation. Asia and LAC will hold their discussion online at a separate schedule that is convenient to their time zone. ###

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