The CSM Youth working group collectively analyzed the current moment in world history. We present this urgent message to the CFS and Member States: now is the time to transform. Now is the time for a Just Transition away from the extractive economy of capitalism.

Our social movements and civil society organizations oppose corporate control over food and agricultural systems. From the essential base of society, we fight for people’s food sovereignty.

We defend democracy and our right to healthy, culturally-appropriate food produced through socially-just and ecologically-sound methods. Small-scale food producers, frontline workers, and grassroots organizations should determine what and how we feed our communities.

We call on the CFS to strongly advocate for immediate implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP), in addition to the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests. During this UN Decade of Family Farming (2019-2028), the CFS must promote food sovereignty and peasant agroecology as true solutions to the social and ecological crises that youth face.

COVID-19 continues to shock global society and the world market. However, smallholder food producers and organized communities have proven during the pandemic that economies based on solidarity, cooperation, and ecology are highly adaptive and resilient. Localized, diversified, direct, and democratically-controlled food systems are key to our survival as a species.

Agribusiness exploits us, poisons our bodies, and pollutes our common sources of life. Agribusiness and neoliberal governments destroy ecosystems and local markets, favoring powerful transnational corporations. Capitalist agriculture robs the soil of nutrients and denies the worker and peasant the right to buen vivir.

To build the new – a regenerative economy of life, rooted in ancestral wisdom – Member States must divest from the paradigm of industrial food production, which relies so heavily on extraction, militarism, and human rights violations in the constant pursuit of profit and capital accumulation.

Support local markets and informal, non-market food distribution! Assist with the expansion of schools operated by social movements, such as La Via Campesina, for training young people in the politics and science of peasant agroecology! Enact genuine agrarian reform!

Today, on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we demand full implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and we honor Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores, a Lenca woman who co-founded and coordinated the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). She was murdered in her home over four years ago, likely as retribution for her role as a leader in organized struggle against a hydroelectric dam project on the Gualcarque River, a sacred river on which the Lenca people depend for subsistence.

We also remember how, during the 44th Plenary Session of the CFS (2017), the CSM Women’s working group intervention identified the three main causes for women’s subjugation and inequality. Azra Sayeed emphasized, “Patriarchy, feudalism, and neoliberalism are grabbing our lands, our waters, our seeds, forests, and natural resources, our territories, our bodies!, and our rights. They ignore the ancestral knowledge of our indigenous sisters, criminalize our struggles, and leave violence against women unpunished by opening the door to discrimination, conflict, crisis, occupation, displacement, and war.”

The rights of youth, women, indigenous peoples, peasants, and workers regardless of immigration status must be fully realized in order to achieve the vision and mandate of the CFS. We respect diversity and demand inclusivity, especially for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transexual, Queer, Intersex, and all other people marginalized due to age, gender, race, ethnicity, class, caste, and ability. We demand equity-based policies that repair the harms of systemic oppression.

Member States must uphold the Right to Food in order to ensure social peace and human dignity for all people. We denounce the shameful failure of multilateral institutions to stop endless wars, the ongoing weaponization of food, and the globalization of hunger and malnutrition. Though, as stated in 1967 by the Black civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the U.S. government continues to be “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.”

The CFS should be deeply concerned about the assaults on democracy and obstructions of global governance institutions perpetrated by imperial powers, authoritarians, and far-right political movements. Fascism and ecological collapse are real, present dangers, generated by the structural violence and contradictions of capitalism.

We demand recognition as youth protagonists in history, who are capable and already working to craft a better future. To strengthen the CFS, Member States must support youth organizing in the CSM, a necessary space for us to engage in collective learning and debate.

We urge the CFS to develop practices that guarantee the meaningful participation and leadership of youth representing indigenous communities and civil society.

Thank you.

Globalize the struggle! Globalize hope!

The Declaration of CSM’s Youth Working Group published in October 2020 describes how the youth and their communities have been experiencing the recent months, how they have been responding, and what their demands to their governments and the international community are. These policy demands not only respond to Covid-19, but will put us on a path towards building healthy, sustainable, resilient and dignified food systems for all.



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