- Statement delivered by Paola Romero (FIAN Colombia) and Paula Gioia (La Via Campesina) on behalf of the CSIPM Women and Gender Diversities Working Group on 24 October 2023, during the endorsement of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in the Context of Food Security and Nutrition by the CFS Plenary.
Chair, representatives of member states, observers, colleagues, persons of all genders, sexual orientations, classes, castes, ethnicities, races, abilities, and ages.
On behalf of the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSIPM) we start by expressing our solidarity with all the civilians in areas of conflict and protracted crises, especially those in Gaza, currently deprived of shelter, medical assistance, water, and adequate food.
The Women and Gender Diversities Working Group of the CSIPM thanks the chairs for the Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment Workstream. We also thank the CFS chair and the secretariat and the other UN agencies who supported the process.
We have participated in this workstream with full commitment, bringing together a beautiful mosaic of people and experiences from around the world. We learned what true solidarity is; and how to support a diversity of people who experience multiple and intersecting oppressions. We learned how much it means to make visible those who are made invisible and to care for all people.
The negotiation process was emotionally draining for us and the space was often violent, bringing many in the room to tears. While we were negotiating and as we speak here now, many lives in our homelands are suffering gender-based violence and sexual violence. Millions are still not able to realize their right to food, and are even being killed for being who they are. We had high hopes for an ambitious and progressive outcome for these Guidelines.
Our participation made a difference not only in this UN space but also in the lives of some of the people we carry in our hearts and thoughts.
Despite the significant tensions and difficulties, we recognize that the final outcomes will have positive repercussions, also for some of the members of our communities. We succeeded in bringing a human rights framework into the document as well as important references to the role of women’s organizations and social movements. Indigenous Peoples and peasants, two very important constituencies of the CSIPM, are also recognised in the guidelines. Along with several other aspects.
However, the final text contains many omissions that diminish our hopes and leave us unsatisfied. These include:
- The recognition of land as a commons
- Free prior and informed consent for Indigenous Peoples
- The rights of LGBTQIA+
- The redistribution of unpaid care work
- Addressing women and diversities under occupation
- Universal social protection is a crucial right in the realisation of the right to food.
Those aspects are not addressed, exploitation of, and violence against the most disaffected in our communities will continue. Therefore, as long as some of us are excluded, marginalised, and made invisible, we cannot truly celebrate.
At the same time, CSIPM avoids the trap of political polarization and the dichotomy between good and bad. We prepared an extensive evaluation document available on the CSIPM website and we have drafted an explanatory note to be added to the Annex, expressing our concerns, while also recognising this document as a starting point for continuing discussions in the CFS to achieve gender equality in food systems. This explanatory note has already been shared with the CFS Secretariat, and we seek member states’ support for its inclusion in the Annex.
With these clarifications, the CSIPM supports the endorsement of the Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment. We will contribute to their dissemination and use them in our future advocacy. The upcoming MYPoW presents us with plenty of opportunities to keep advancing towards the real transformation of the lived realities of so many marginalized peoples and address gender as a transversal and intersectional aspect of the progressive realization of the Right to Food.
We exist! We will continue to demand our rights in our communities and societies, from our governments, in the CFS, and in all spaces in the United Nations, and we also truly commit to bringing these achievements back home.
- Read the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment
- Watch the video of the action during the Plenary (also available with French and Spanish subtitles)
- Read the working group’s evaluation of the Voluntary Guidelines in English, French, Spanish
- Web article: Adapting to Ongoing Crises: Navigating Slow Changes at CFS51 (SID, November 2023)
- Video explainer “Why this action by the Gender Working Group in the plenary of the CFS?”
- Follow and join the online conversation with hashtag #CFSGender and #WeExist