Amid the ongoing COP 26 in Glasgow, the Global People’s Summit (GPS) on Food Systems announced that 566 groups from 78 countries have endorsed its resulting Declaration that calls for people’s rights to just, equitable, healthy, and sustainable food systems and the end of corporate monopoly control.
The GPS, the Global South-led counter-summit to the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), gathered 45 global formations, 25 regional groups, and 496 national and local organizations from all over the world in support of the Declaration.
The People’s Declaration asserts the urgent need to radically transform food systems in confronting global hunger and the climate crisis worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The worsening climate crisis – highlighted in the 2021 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – has been pushing hundreds of millions to famine and deprivation. Like many other environmental crises, the climate crisis is deeply rooted in the inherently destructive monopoly capitalist mode of production, including in food and agriculture,” the Declaration said.
It also criticizes the recently concluded UNFSS for promoting the corporate-led transformation of food systems.
According to the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS), one of the initiating organizations of the GPS, the UNFSS and COP 26 share the same thrust to invest/fund the greenwashed techno-fixes and “solutions” of corporations toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by the 2030 target.
“This is no coincidence. Both the UNFSS and COP 26 carry the same narrative: that we cannot survive the many crises we currently face without corporations, despite their blatant and pervasive damages to the people and our planet,” said PCFS global co-chairperson Sylvia Mallari.
Malcolm Guy of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), which is also part of the GPS organizing committee, said the push for the financing of neoliberal reforms in the pretense of climate emergency proves that imperialist actors are exploiting the concerning global situation to preserve their power and profit.
The Vice Chair External of the ILPS also pointed out that grassroots and marginalized groups have been sidelined in the corporate-dominated COP 26. “The ‘inclusivity’ touted by COP 26 and UNFSS is in essence a meaningless buzzword. That is why they are out in the streets and involved in grassroots struggles where their voice can truly be heard and real change fought for,” Guy said.
“We will not rely on intergovernmental platforms and proceedings to end our hunger for change. People-led actions can effectively deal with the global hunger situation and climate crisis, and we have our Action Plans from the GPS to make it happen,” said Mallari.
These Action Plans “represent [the people’s] concrete and particular demands and campaigns along the ‘four pillars’ of food systems transformation,” as described by the Declaration. The pillars are (1) Food sovereignty and democracy at the core of food and agricultural policies; (2) Agroecology and sustainability in production, distribution, and consumption; (3) People’s right to land, production, and resources; and (4) People’s right to adequate, safe, nutritious, and culturally-appropriate food.
“We shall continue our struggle for just, equitable, healthy, sustainable, and diverse food systems as we mobilize for COP 26. PCFS invites everyone to take part in today’s Global Day of Action for Climate Justice,” Mallari said.
The global action is led by the ILPS and the Southern Peoples’ Action on COP 26, of which PCFS is a member.
Aside from COP 26, the organizers of the GPS will be submitting the Declaration to relevant international bodies and intergovernmental platforms including the UN through secretary-general António Guterres and its special rapporteurs including UNSR on the right to food Michael Fakhri.
The GPS is co-organized by 22 regional and international organizations:
People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS)
PAN Asia Pacific (PANAP)
Asian Peasant Coalition (APC)
Arab Group for the Protection of Nature (APN)
Arab People for Food Sovereignty (ANFS)
Eastern and Southern Africa Small-scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF)
Indigenous Peoples’ Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL)
Coalition of Agricultural Workers International (CAWI)
Asian Rural Women’s Coalition (ARWC)
Global Forest Coalition (GFC)
People Over Profit (POP)
Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN)
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law, and Development (APWLD)
Stop Golden Rice Network (SGRN)
PAN North America (PANNA)
A Growing Culture
Youth for Food Sovereignty (YFS)
International League of People’s Struggles (ILPS)
International Women’s Alliance
International Migrants Alliance