Workshop organised by CERAI (Spain), the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation, the APM Globalisation, Family Farming and Society Network, Terre Citoyenne.
Moderators: Vicente GARCES (CERAI) and Pierre VUARIN (FPH)
Speakers: Vicente Garcés (CERAI), Pierre VUARIN (FPH), Dao The Tuan (Phano, Vietnam), Alberto Broch (Contag Brazil), Victor Suarez (member of parliament, Mexico), Chen Yue Guang
Initial key points
Say what we mean by "governance" "food security ", "food sovereignty".
Food sovereignty is a topic dealt with by a large number of players in civil society and politicians. Is it a concept worthy of interest?
How can governance be conceived conceptually? What is the role of different types of power in relation with food sovereignty?
What are the current problems related to food and their solutions in China, Vietnam, Latin America and Europe?
The other key points dealt with:
How can different policies be linked (agriculture, fishing, regional development, education, health, environment, food, etc.)?
How can different levels of political action be linked?
How can different players be allied (private, public, individual and community) to achieve common objectives? Under what conditions is this possible?
The concept of food sovereignty is used by a large number of players. However, it is above all used to designate refusal of unbridled liberalisation and the need to bring the solution to food problems closer to the community. This concept has been taken up by many organisations and politicians and large numbers of people and organisations feel that it matches their thinking. It is necessary to verify how it is translated into each language.
The concept of food sovereignty is useful for combating liberalisation, which is a disaster for peasants, fishing communities, and for the populations that rely on food for their very existence. However, it is necessary to strengthen proposals by taking into account the speeches made (Pierre Vuarin, Vicente Garcés, Dao The Tuan). It appears necessary to specify how it is possible to act on different political levels, on alliances of players, and on the links between different policies to be implemented on the same scale.
The fact of emphasising the term governance by giving it a meaning other than that of the World Bank leads to raising the question of links between the local and global, between policies implemented in the same region, and different forms of alliance between players.
Proposals and areas of change
Margins of political manoeuvre exist at national level though there is a tendency to deny this existence. However, differences in policies can be seen in South American and African countries. It depends, on the one hand, on the strength and pertinence of the analyses and proposals made by peasant and social movements while, on the other, it depends on the political establishment and the culture of the government in place.
Brazil is a major reference. The success or failure of agrarian reform and the end of hunger will weigh heavily on the future. Genuine agrarian reform accompanied by a policy in favour of family farming is vital in Brazil, though its success is far from assured and we must seek to support it.
Policies for agrarian reform in certain countries must be considered as vital public tools for fighting the problems of poverty.
Agricultural prices are decisive for hundreds of millions of peasants all over the world. It will be necessary for agricultural prices to undergo progressive and sustained increases at international level while production on the world market should be limited; it must also be possible to hold prices, something that would benefit the peasants of every country. Furthermore, it is necessary to halt the liberalisation aided and abetted by the WTO and the ALCA agreements, bilateral agreements, etc.
Support must be given to regional policies related to agriculture, food, the environment (EU, Mercosur, the Andean countries, etc.) and at national level in large countries (India, China, etc.) .
Food policies that incorporate different dimensions (agriculture, fishing, environment, health, education, etc.) must be launched, and implemented at local, regional and national levels. Progress must be made in this direction.
Some of the seminar’s participants thought it was possible to forge alliances with different players (farmers’ organisations, NGOs, publics bodies, certain enterprises, etc.) in order to progress towards sustainable food systems. Experimentation is needed. It is not necessary a good thing for capitalists or enlightened agribusinesses, to have to deal with the disappearance of millions of peasants and all problems that this would cause. Points requiring further reflection
After this period of consolidating the fight against the liberalisation of trade, what points should be put forward as a lever for change and the construction of regional policies that integrate agriculture, fishing and food in West Africa, the Andean countries, the European Union and elsewhere?
How is it possible to satisfy the need to increase food production two or threefold over the next thirty years? Can economic decline be made compatible with economic, ecological and social sustainability, while increasing food production?
Points of divergence and convergence
On the advantages or disadvantages of using the term “governance”
On the margins of manoeuvre at global level (cf Brazil)
On the analysis of whether or not China is making progress towards becoming democratic.
Food sovereignty, governance, food security, regional integration, food policy, fishing resource management policy, agricultural policy, fishing policy, nutrition, nutritional objectives, fishing, agriculture, prices, production system, agrarian reform,