CSM Letter to the CFS Chair on Food Systems Summit

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Amb. Thanawat Tiensin

Chair, UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS)

                                                                                                                      Rome, 9 February 2021

Dear Chair,

Kind regards from the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism for relations with the CFS.

We would like to continue our dialogue with you on the Food Systems Summit. We highly appreciate that you have been truly open and interested in listening to our growing concerns regarding the Summit process since you commenced your mandate as Chair of CFS in October 2019. We also acknowledge that you conveyed our key concerns to the Special Envoy and the Food Systems Summit Secretariat, including in the context of the exchange of letters between the CFS and FSS in November 2020.

We will not repeat the concerns expressed in earlier occasions, such as through the Open Call of Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ organizations to respond to the FSS, as presented during the CFS Special event in October 2020, and the CSM Statement to the CFS Bureau and Advisory Group meeting in November 2020. These criticisms continue to be valid, particularly regarding the worries about undue corporate influence in the Summit preparation; the missing human rights grounding; the lack of emphasis on the true extent of the transformation that the corporate food systems need to undergo to re-align with the utmost imperatives of people, peoples and planet; the threat of democratic public institutions and inclusive multilateralism being undermined by multistakeholderism.

In this letter, we would like to respond to the question on the conditions under which the CSM could be involved in the Summit process. As we have said on previous occasions: the CSM cannot jump onto a train that is heading in the wrong direction. Therefore, the general conditions for our possible involvement relate to whether the leading decision-making bodies of the Summit are willing to seriously address our deep concerns through a substantial and radical re-direction of the Summit’s current course. In this respect, it is essential that critical progress takes place in the following domains:

Shifting away from corporate capture and re-grounding in individual and collective Human Rights and the experiences and knowledge of the people and Indigenous Peoples most affected:

  • The UN Secretary General should finally accept the request for a meeting with social movements and Indigenous Peoples’ leaders on the matter of the FSS, as solicited with the letter signed by over 550 organizations in March 2020;
  • The UN Secretary General should express his willingness to reassess and withdraw from the Strategic Partnership Agreement with the World Economic Forum and re-prioritize the voices of the most marginalized and vulnerable food producers and consumers;
  • The UN Secretary General should establish robust safeguards against conflict of interest (COI) in all bodies and processes of the FSS, to ensure the centrality of public interests over private ones. This would include mandatory COI declarations from all members of these bodies (Scientific Group, Advisory Committee, Champions Group, Action Tracks) to transparently expose the full map of existing conflicts of interests and enable adequate corrective actions;
  • The decision-making bodies of the FSS process, particularly the UNSG, the Advisory Committee and the FSS Special Envoy, should reaffirm that human rights should be the core foundational pillar of food systems, and therefore of the FSS, ensuring that analysis and policy recommendations of all Action Tracks be grounded in rights-based approaches and aim to promote and facilitate the full realization of all human rights.

Transformation of corporate food systems:

  • The fundamental premise of the Summit should be that of fostering a holistic and systemic approach that recognises the multidimensional nature of food (social, economic, ecological, cultural and political), asserts food sovereignty (the right of Peoples, nations and states to define their own food systems) and reclaims food systems as public commons that cannot be left to market-based solutions: not only does this require full peoples’ participation and sovereignty, but it also places the wellbeing of people, peoples and the planet at the centre. This imposes the stringent regulations of the corporate food system to tackle its predatory and expansionary nature and realign it with urgent social, economic, cultural and ecological imperatives;
  • To respond to this urgent need and reverse the corporate capture of food systems, an additional action track should be established, as part of the formal FSS process, to focus on the transformation of corporate food systems, and the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism should be leading its proceedings, in collaboration with relevant UN bodies and governments, including cross-cutting implications across the other Action Tracks;
  • It remains understood that the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism will continue to autonomously organize its own independent process to respond beyond the formal boundaries of the FSS and will generate its own independent outcomes on strategies and pathways to transform corporate food systems.

Defending democratic public institutions and inclusive multilateralism:

  • The UN Secretary General should publicly commit to ensuring that the FSS and its outcomes will strengthen human rights-based governance of food systems on all levels, which assigns clear responsibilities and obligations to states as duty bearers, the people as rights holders, including Indigenous Peoples, and a dramatically reduced role to the private and corporate sector, in accordance with its function as third party under international human rights law.
  • In this context, the UN Secretary General and Member States should also underline the importance of a democratic multilateral system, including the CFS and the Rome-Based Agencies for the governance of food. The FSS must strengthen, and in no way undermine, weaken or substitute the CFS or its components, particularly the independence of the High-Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) and the autonomy of civil society and Indigenous Peoples’ participation in this foremost inclusive intergovernmental and international global platform for food security and nutrition.

We respectfully request that you share this letter with the UN Secretary General, the Principals of FAO, IFAD and WFP, the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, the Special Envoy and Secretariat of the Food Systems Summit, and the members of the CFS Bureau and Advisory Group. We would also request you to make this letter available on the CFS Website, in the context of the Exchange of Letters between the CFS and the FSS, for public information.

With our highest appreciation,

The Coordination Committee of the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism for relations with the CFS

Learn more about CSM’s position on the UN Food Systems Summit

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List of 204 Signatures 

First Signatories CSM Coordination Committee:

  1. International Federation of Rural Adults Catholic Movements| FIMARC
  2. Confederación de Organizaciones de Productores Familiares del Mercosur| COPROFAM
  3. La Via Campesina | LVC
  4. World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous Peoples| WAMIP
  5. International Indian Treaty Council| IITC
  6. World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers| WFF
  7. World Forum of Fisher Peoples| WFFP
  8. The Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee| IPACC
  9. URGENCI International Network
  10. Consumers International
  11. International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Association| IUF
  12. Habitat International Coalition| HIC
  13. Asian Rural Women Coalition| ARWC
  14. World March of Women | WMW
  15. International Women’s Alliance | IWA
  16. REDSAN – CPLP | Actuar
  17. Friends of the Earth International | FoEi
  18. Movimiento Agroecológico de America Latina y el Caribe| MAELA
  19. Ukranian Rural Development Network | URDN
  20. Plateforme Regionale des Organisations Paysannes d’Afrique Centrale| PROPAC
  21. Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum| KESSFF
  22. Eastern and Souther African Pastoralists Network| ESAPN
  23. Reseau des Organisations Paysanne et de Producteurs de l’Afrique de l’Ouest| ROPPA
  24. Vikalpani National Women’s Federation in Sri Lanka
  25. People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty| PCFS
  26. Agency of Development Initiatives
  27. Gaza Urban Agriculture Platform GUPAP  and ANFS
  28. Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance| AFSA
  29. Pacific Island Association of NGOs | PIANGO

Endorsed by the following International Organizations:

  1. International Movement of Catholic Agricultural and Rural Youth | MIJARC
  2. Housing and Land Rights Network
  3. Greenpeace International
  4. Society for International Development | SID
  5. Slow Food
  6. FIAN International
  7. Focus on the Global South
  8. Global Forest Coalition
  9. Broederlijk Delen
  10. Rotary International
  11. Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment
  12. Indigenous Peoples Global Forum for Sustainable Development | IPGFforSD
  13. Transnational Institute
  14. International Centre for Environmental Education and Community Development |ICENECDEV
  15. CIDSE
  16. ActionAid International
  17. SeedChange
  18. The Oakland Institute
  19. VIVAT International
  20. Action Against Hunger International
  21. Brot für die Welt / Bread for the World
  22. Community Agroecology Network
  23. Tripla Difesa Onlus
  24. Solidagro
  25. Soroptimist International
  26. CCFD-Terre Solidaire
  27. Front Line Defenders
  28. International Council of Women | ICW-CIF
  29. International Alliance of Women | IAW
  30. Trócaire
  31. New Owerri Youth Organization
  32. Hawai’i Institute for Human Rights
  33. People’s Health Movement | PHM 
  34. World Public Health Nutrition Association | WPHNA
  35. Brazilian Research Network on Food and Nutrition Sovereignty and Security
  36. Caribbean Agroecology Institute
  37. Community Alliance for Global Justice
  38. Sanctuary of Hope Charity Foundation
  39. Ugonma Foundation
  40. Centre d’Actions et de Réalisations Internationales | CARI
  41. Plantemos Nativo ONG
  42. Corporate Accountability
  43. Iles de Paix
  44. China Biodiversity Conservation
  45. Green Development Foundation
  46. Third World Network
  47. Swissaid
  48. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom | WILPF
  49. WhyHunger

Endorsed by the following Regional Organizations: 

  1. Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa | AFSA
  2. Eastern and Southern African Pastoral Network | ESAPN
  3. UNH Sustainability Institute
  4. West Asia Pastoralist Network
  5. INCUPO | Instituto de Cultura Popular
  6. Rede Jirau de Agroecologia
  7. Agroecology Research-Action Collective

Endorsed by  the following National Organizations:

  1. National Family Farm Coalition
  2. National Farmers Union of Canada
  3. The US Food Sovereignty Alliance
  4. Netzwerk Solidarische Landwirtschaft | Solawi
  5. Eastern and Southern Africa Small-Scale Farmers’ Forum | ESAFF Uganda
  6. Alnawatif Cooperative | Jordan
  7. Family Farm Defenders
  8. Movimiento Agroecológico de America Latina y el Caribe| MAELA Colombia
  9. African Centre for Biodiversity | ACB
  10. South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union| SACCAWUa
  11. AfrosReD
  12. Terra Nuova
  13. Fédération Nationale des Organisations Paysannes (FENOP)
  14. Gaza Urban & Peri-urban Agriculture Platform (GUPAP)
  15. Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment | SWAGEN
  16. Spire
  17. Movimiento Agroecológico de America Latina y el Caribe| MAELA Mexico
  18. Brazilian Alliance for Healthy and Adequate Food
  19. Inter-institutional Network for Food, Agriculture and Sustainability | INFAS
  20. Slow Food Brazil
  21. Feedback
  22. Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft | Germany
  23. Pesticide Action Network | North America
  24. Enda Pronat
  25. Agroecology X
  26. Movimiento Agroecológico Boliviano
  27. Confédération Paysanne
  28. Biowatch South Africa
  29. Agroecology-in-Action Belgium
  30. FIAN Sweden
  31. Mazingira Institute
  32. Bread for all
  33. Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee
  34. Amigos de la Tierra España
  35. Inkota
  36. Observatorio Universitario de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutricional del Estado de Guanajuato | OUSANEG
  37. Le Mouvement d’Action Paysanne
  38. Asociación Benéfica para el Desarrollo Humano
  39. Plan Nacional de Contingencia contra la Pandemia y el Hambre | PNCPH
  40. Real Food Media
  41. Global Media Foundation
  42. Instituto Brasileiro de Defesa do Consumidor
  43. Asociación Civil Ernesto Shneider Troller
  44. Asociación Procrece
  45. Conferência Popular por Soberania e Segurança Alimentar e Nutricional
  46. FIAN Indonesia
  47. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom | WILPF Netherlands
  48. Fórum Brasileiro de Soberania e Segurança Alimentar e Nutricional
  49. FIAN Portugal
  50. Plateforme Nationale Pour la Promotion de l’Agroforesterie| PNPA
  51. Association des Femmes pour le Développement Durable | AFDD
  52. Public Eye
  53. Fédération Nationale des Agriculteurs Biologiques| FENAB
  54. Fundación Guillermo Toriello
  55. Sindicato de trabajadoras domesticas, similares y a cuenta propia | SITRADOMSA
  56. Red Guatemalteca Mujeres Positivas en Acción
  57. Red Nacional por la Defensa de la Soberanía Alimentaria |  REDSAG
  58. Association pour l’Integration et le Developpement Durable au Burundi | AIDB 
  59. Association For Promotion Sustainable Development
  60. FIAN Belgium
  61. INCUPO| Argentina
  62. Movimiento Puesteros del Sur | MNCI
  63. Conseil National de l’Agriculture Biologique| CNABio
  64. Prescott College
  65. Policy Research for Development Alternative | UBINIG
  66. FIAN Germany
  68. Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigación y Desarrollo Alternativo, U Yich Lu’um
  69. Federação de Órgãos para Assistência Social e Educacional | FASE
  70. Alianza Política Sector de Mujeres | APSM
  71. Maison Mère
  72. Claveles Rojos Mexico
  73. Global Justice Now
  74. Programa de Desarrollo Integral Interdisciplinario
  75. Appui Solidarie pour le renforcement de l’aide au développement 
  76. FIAN Colombia
  77. Initiative for Agricultural and Rural Development
  78. Dana and Qadisiyah Local community Cooperative | Dana Cooperative
  79. Red Nacional de Promotoras y Asesoras Rurales
  80. WAVE Foundation
  81. War on Want
  82. Agrar Koordination / Forum für Internationale Agrarpolitik 
  83. Sahabat Alam Malaysia | Friends of the Earth Malaysia
  84. Swissaid | Niger
  85. Confederação Nacional da Agricultura | CNA
  86. Sierra Leone Network on the Right to Food | SiLN0RF
  87. Unidad de la Fuerza Indígena y Campesina | Mexico
  88. Ugonma Foundation
  89. Peoples Empowerment and Development Seva Society | PEDS
  90. Italian Federation Christian NGOs | FOCSIV 
  91. Collectif Citoyen pour l’AgroEcologie | CCAE Burkina
  92. Maleya Foundation
  93. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy | IATP
  94. SOS Faim | Belgium
  95. Jeunes Volontaires pour l’Environnement | Togo

Endorsed by  the following Local Organizations:

  1. Haki Nawiri Africa
  2. Santa Cruz Permaculture
  4. Associação Terra Sintrópica
  5. Dayak Voices for Change Community
  6. Association Dounia des protecteurs d’environment en Algérie
  7. Association pour la Conservation et la Protection des Ecosystèmes des Lacs et l’Agriculture Durable
  8. Vinculación y Desarrollo Agroecológico en Cafe | AC
  9. Asociación Latino Americana Medicina Social
  10. Daami Youth Development Organization |DYDO | Somaliland minorities
  11. Mindanao peoples peace movement | MPPM
  12. Four Seasons Ecological Living Association
  13. African Children Empowerment | ACE
  14. Territorio Campesino Agroalimentario del Macizo Norte de Nariño y Sur del Cauca | TCAM
  15. Corporación Ciudad Red Gestores de Vida
  16. CERFLA
  17. Productores Agroecologicos de la Laguna
  18. ECO from Africa
  19. Investigación y Acción Biocultural, Anima Mundi | A.C.
  20. RAIS-IXCAN |Quiché Guatemala
  21. Just Food
  22. Organización de Mujeres Tierra Viva
  23. Forum for Human Rights and Development | FOHRD
  24. Association des Femmes pour le Développement Durable | AFDD
  25. Productores Agroecologicos de la Laguna

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