END WORLD HUNGER - COMMIT TO FOOD SOVEREIGNTY!
ASIAN NGO/CSO DECLARATION
to the WORLD FOOD SUMMIT-five years later (WFS:fyl)
Kathmandu, May 2002
We, the 120 representatives of people's movements, NGOs and CSOs representing 13 countries in Asia met in Kathmandu from 11-12 May, 2002 to deliberate on solutions to world hunger.
We conclude from our experiences, interventions, research and struggles that the impact of the agenda of exploitative, profit-oriented agricultural development and food production on the lives of peasants, fisherfolk, women, indigenous peoples, agricultural and rural workers, landless labourers, urban poor, bonded labourers, forest dwellers, young people, children and consumers in Asia, has been devastating. This has been caused by the direct dictates of transnational corporations (TNCs) and big businesses through WTO, facilitated by international financial institutions (IFIs) and multilateral development banks (MDBs) like the World Bank/IMF/ADB.
These impacts are mainly manifested in loss of livelihood, land, water, forests and other resources, little or no access to food resulting in hunger, starvation and famine, the displacement of people, unemployment, forced migration, and increased vulnerability to exploitation and oppression. Corporate agriculture that continues to promote hazardous technologies including pesticides and GMOs threaten health, food safety and the environment. The dominance of corporate control is further entrenched by patents on life-forms. In short, we see the loss and intensive erosion of rights and dignity of people in Asia.
This process has also affected our control over food production and consumption, our control over resources both at the community level and as nations. This loss of control and threats to food security has increased due to lack of political will and decreasing democratic space.
The crucial promise of the 1996 World food Summit to halve poverty and hunger by the year 2015 has been declared impossible to achieve by the same institutions that adopted it. The programs and practices aimed at reducing hunger and malnutrition by the Bretton Woods institutions, international financial organizations and intergovernmental agencies have failed miserably. This political inertia has instead aggravated food insecurity.
Peasants, workers, women, indigenous, fisher-folk and people's movements who have mobilised and resisted in order to claim their rights have been repressed and terrorised by the state, transnational corporations and international institutions and agencies. The struggle for right to food, food security and sovereignty is intrinsically linked with the struggle for political empowerment and participatory democracy.
This struggle must give special focus and emphasis to women's empowerment. The invisibility of women in agriculture, non-recognition of women in food production and their exclusion and discrimination in decision making, has led to the erosion of their rights and their participation policies and programmes.
Therefore in order to ensure our rights are protected and dignity restored and respected, we need to recognise food sovereignty as the basis and principle for food production and consumption including food and agricultural policies. In this context, agriculture must be taken out of the WTO.
Food security and sovereignty is an integral and fundamental part of social justice and genuine national development. Priority must be given to policies and programmes that protect and support agriculture as a sustainable livelihood with agro-ecologically based food production systems. These systems should lead to elimination of agro-chemicals and a moratorium on Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMOs).
In order to realise food sovereignty at all levels, there has to be global recognition and commitment by the adoption of an International Convention on Food Sovereignty.
To ensure governments, and other national and international actors are transparent and accountable to protect the right to food and resources, especially genuine people-centered agrarian and fisheries reform and to realise food security, an international code of conduct on right to food and resources has to be adopted and implemented by governments, co-ordinated and monitored by FAO.
The protection of our rights and the realisation of our aspirations for food sovereignty and security can only be achieved through commitment, and co-ordinated struggle in Asia with international solidarity.
By the People's, NGOs and civil society movements in 13 Asian countries from Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Indonesia, India, Japan ..