On 27 June 2021, the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSM) received a letter from Ms. Agnes Kalibata, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for the 2021 Food Systems Summit. The letter included an invitation to participate in the official programme of the Pre-Summit “in order to enrich and refine the Summit’s wider ambition and accelerate action moving forward in alignment with the 2030 Agenda.”
After due internal consultation, CSM expressed its intention to remain fully consistent with the positions already taken and to not participate in the UN Food Systems pre-Summit.
Below is the official CSM response, which can also be downloaded as a PDF document.
Dr. Agnes Kalibata
Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General
for the 2021 Food Systems Summit
Rome, 19 July 2021
Dear Dr. Kalibata,
Greetings from the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism for relations with the UN Committee on World Food Security.
On behalf of the CSM Coordination Committee, we thank you for your letter of 27 June 2021 in which you shared an update on the preparations of the UNFSS Pre-Summit and invited the CSM to nominate a speaker to the Pre-Summit’s Synthesis Plenary on 28 July and to identify 11 representatives of the CSM constituencies to attend the Pre-Summit.
After due internal consultation, the CSM Coordination Committee has agreed to remain fully consistent with the positions already taken by the CSM towards the Food Systems Summit, as expressed in previous documents and occasions. Our communications about the FSS and with FSS leadership are publicly available here. We have seen that the grounds for our most important concerns and criticisms have been confirmed by the way the Summit process has been evolving during the past few months. Increasingly, these concerns have been echoed by others, including academics and people participating in different organs of the FSS process.
The CSM Letter sent on 9 February 2021 to the CFS Chair laid out the conditions under which the CSM could involve itself in the Summit process. Undoubtedly, our letter demanded substantial changes of direction to the entire Summit process, as the CSM cannot jump onto a train that is heading in the wrong direction.
The conversations in response to the CSM Letter, kindly facilitated by CFS Chair Thanawat Tiensin, held with you on 24 March 2021 had a clear outcome, from our point of view: the Food Systems Summit Secretariat was not willing to seriously consider our concerns and suggestions. The conversation with UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed on 30 April 2021 demonstrated in a very constructive atmosphere that there are two totally different pathways and visions towards food system transformation and multilateralism represented by the Food Systems Summit process, on the one hand, and the autonomous civil society and Indigenous Peoples process on the other.
Consequently, we are now organizing the countermobilization to the Pre-Summit from 25-28 July as a joint effort supported by hundreds of international, regional, national and local organizations from all constituencies: peasants and smallholder farmers, women and youth, Indigenous Peoples, pastoralists and landless, agricultural and food workers, fisherfolks, consumers, urban food insecure and NGOs from many areas of society.
If the Summit Leadership had been truly interested in a meaningful participation of our constituencies, our voices and concerns would have been listened to much earlier and our demands for a profound redirection of the Summit process would not have been ignored. We conclude that there was no political will to listen and change, because the process was designed for other purposes, serving essentially the corporate agenda.
Given this situation, the CSM Coordination Committee has agreed to respectfully decline your invitation to Pre-Summit, since our constituencies are not willing to lend their legitimacy to an extremely problematic process which they strongly oppose.
Sincerely, on behalf of the CSM Liaison Group on the FSS,
CSM Secretariat Coordinator