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21 September 2021

People who produce most of the world’s food continue to fight against agribusiness-led UN food summit

An ever-increasing number of voices from outside and inside the Summit, including governments, academia and the UN, share the view that the self-proclaimed “People’s Summit” is destined for failure.

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3 August 2021

Thousands mobilize to call for food systems that empower people, not companies

UN Food Systems Pre-Summit falls short on climate, hunger crisis, COVID-19, and food systems transformation, say counter-mobilization participants, totalling almost 9,000 people.

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19 July 2021

Hundreds of grassroots organizations to oppose the UN Food Systems Summit

Civil society and Indigenous Peoples’ organizations launch a global counter-mobilization against the UN Food Systems Pre-Summit from 25 to 28 July 2021 in Rome and online.

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UNFSS Analysis Report May 2022
People’s Autonomous Response to the UNFSS
20 May 2022
This document has been drafted by the Liaison Group, anchored within the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples Mechanism (CSIPM) for relations with the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), based on inputs from the global counter-mobilization process Autonomous People’s Response to the UN Food Systems Summit. 

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Who is governing our food systems? - Online Event 
European regional stream of the People’s Autonomous Response to the UNFSS
08 February 2022
On February 9th, European members of the Peoples’ Autonomous Response to the UNFSS are organising a webinar to explore with Members of the EU Parliament and the Commission how global public food governance is being reconfigured and the main threats compromising its democratic foundations. 

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How Biotech Crops Can Crash—and Still Never Fail
Aniket Aga, Maywa Montenegro de Wit - Scientific American
27 December 2021
The United Nations Food Systems Summit held last September was eclipsed by a powerful countermobilization effort led by farmers and scientists, as well as civil society groups allied with Indigenous communities and small-scale food producers across the world. These are the very people critical to achieving the summit’s stated goals of ending hunger and promoting sustainable agriculture. The scientists and advocates accused summit organizers of compromising on food security, democratic accountability, sustainability, and the human rights of producers and workers in favor of transnational agribusinesses.

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Decolonizing the GMO debate
Benjamin R. Cohen - The Counter
16 December 2021
I had the fortune to teach a food studies class last spring. It had been about a dozen years since I did so, occupied as I was teaching courses in technology and environmental studies more generally. The differences were stark. In the late 2000s, I built the class in the middle of the “Pollanated” era of reform and Food Inc., when readers still wondered about buying local and debated the new U.S. Department of Agriculture organic label. As with the broader local food movement of the era, The Omnivore’s Dilemma was the class’s centerpiece. It fit the time. It went well.

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The Gates Foundation should fund better solutions to hunger and nutrient deficiencies
Million Belay, Heather Day, Steve Gloyd - Real Change News
24 November 2021
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a $922 million investment to address global malnutrition and hunger at the controversial United Nations Food Systems Summit this September. We commend the foundation for investing in nutrition; unfortunately, its focus on food fortification, technical assistance and research into new “high-impact” innovations misses the mark on the root causes of hunger and malnutrition — and the needed solutions. .

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The Reassurance of the Unknown: A Conversation with Nettie Wiebe
Barbara Van Dyck & Nettie Wiebe - Development Journal
10 November 2021
What knowledges and ways of knowing are considered valid in the context of global food governance? What is the relation between the prominence that is given to science and technology in the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit and the attempt to redefine food systems? What are the issues with the capturing and privatization of knowledge that people of the land have been passing over from generations to generations? These are some of the questions that are discussed in this thought-provoking conversation in which Nettie Wiebe shares her insights and experiences as a long-standing women peasant farm leader.

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Bogus ‘Nature Based Solutions’ Won’t Solve the Climate Crisis
Kirtana Chandrasekaran - Novara Media
9 November 2021
‘Nature-based solutions’ to the climate crisis are the talk of the town at Cop26. This year’s Cop presidency has made nature one of its top priorities. High-profile speeches from the likes of UN secretary general António Guterres and veteran environmentalist David Attenborough have highlighted the huge potential of nature to help tackle climate collapse. Indeed, the first so-called pledge to come out of Cop26 from world leaders was to end deforestation. Clearly, it’s an intoxicating idea: after decades of inaction, nature can come to save us from climate breakdown. But the concept of nature-based solutions is a wolf in sheep’s clothing – and one that will likely lead to massive violations of Indigenous rights.

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Let’s Reclaim Our Food Sovereignty and Reject the Industrial Food System! 
Nora McKeon - Development Journal
8 November 2021 
African food systems are a rich and varied tapestry of production systems, crops, seed, territorial markets, cultures, biodiversity and ecologies. As the UN Food Systems Summit worked to retrench the many pathologies that have systematically eroded African food systems, African civil society organizations mobilized to push back. In the African regional people’s countermobilization, participatory dialogues opened space for continent-wide articulations of a future built on peoples’ choices and control of natural resources, territorially-embedded solutions, the human rights of all, family farming, and peasant agroecology.

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Resetting Power in Global Food Governance: The UN Food Systems Summit  
Maywa Montenegro de Wit, Matt Canfield, Alastair Iles, Molly Anderson, Nora McKeon, Shalmali Guttal, Barbara Gemmill-Herren, Jessica Duncan, Jan Douwe van der Ploeg & Stefano Prato - Development Journal
3 November 2021 
The October 2019 announcement by UN Secretary General António Guterres of a UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) acknowledged the dire conditions of the global food system. Today there is widespread consensus among a growing number of scientists, civil society organizations, and governments that the global food system cannot be sustained in its current configuration—economically, ecologically, or socially. 

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Civil society concerned about the post UN Food Systems Summit process  
Rural 21
1 November 2021 
The Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSM) for relations with the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) has expressed “deep concerns about the implications of the UNFSS for the work and mandate of the CFS, and multilateralism more broadly” in a recent press release.    

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The Latin American and Caribbean Counter-Mobilization Against the UN Food Systems Summit: Magdalena Ackermann in Conversation with Saúl Vicente and Sofía Monsalve 
Magdalena Ackermann, Saúl Vicente & Sofía Monsalve - Development Journal
27 October 2021
What is the diagnosis of the main problems of the Latin American and Caribbean region, including the corporate capture of food systems? How did the regional counter-mobilization against the UN Food Systems Summit arise? What were the positions of the Latin American governments and regional organizations on the Summit? What is the common vision for overcoming corporate food systems? These are some of the questions that are discussed in this thought-provoking conversation with Sofía Monsalve and Saúl Vicente, in which they share their insights and experiences on the challenges of the Latin American region and the outcomes of the regional counter-mobilization against the UN Food Systems Summit.

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The problem with climate conferences: towards a more radical approach 
Georgie Hurst 
27 October 2021 
The transformation of our food system is necessary if the world is to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals of zero hunger by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050. According to the UN, food systems are responsible for one-third of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while more than 8.9 percent of the world population are still hungry.    

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Refusal as Radical Care? Moving Beyond Modern Industrial Agriculture 
Saurabh Arora & Barbara Van Dyck
27 October 2021 
In this contribution we approach the refusal of modern industrial agriculture, as an act of radical care. We begin by recognizing the unprecedented crises of biodiversity losses and climate disruptions, amidst widespread inequality in a global pandemic, which are linked with modern agricultural development. This development is underpinned by the objectification of ‘nature’ that is designed into strategies and technologies of extraction and control like chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, hybrid seeds, genetic engineering and digitalization. Refusal of strategies and technologies of modern objectification, we argue, is an act of radical care that is geared towards nurturing alternatives grounded in the Earth’s pluriverse.

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Re-imagining the UN Committee on World Food Security 
Shalmali Guttal - ​Development journal
22 October 2021
T​his article argues that the United Nations Committee on World Food Security can and must serve as a space for catalyzing and strengthening public interest-oriented food systems governance grounded in the human rights framework. This would necessarily entail confronting the fragmentation of governance and erasure of accountability promoted by corporate designed multi-stakeholderism, and democratizing multilateralism through genuine participation of rights holders, public scrutiny and participatory science. Pivotal to this endeavor is arresting the growing corporate influence in governance mechanisms and reorienting them towards reinvigorating relationships among people, communities and governments.  

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S hock and Awe in the UNFSS
Philip McMichael - Development journal
22 October 2021 
The unholy alliance between the UN and the World Economic Forum in staging a Food Systems Summit is the culmination of deepening public partnerships with the corporate food sector on an international scale. This article examines how the WEF has exploited this relationship to position its private constituency to oversee global food market governance at the expense of multilateral principles, and against China’s expanding state-centered model of international self-reliance.

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Disparity to Parity to Solidarity: Balancing the Scales of International Agricultural Policy for Justice and Viability
Garrett Graddy-Lovelace & Patti Naylor - Development journal
22 October 2021 
Resetting international agricultural governance requires a collective commitment to changing the economic rules of production. This article reports on the challenging questions raised by the Disparity to Parity project, led by a group of farmer-activists, farmer organizations, and scholar-activists in the US. How can parity policies be updated, expanded, redesigned with and for Black, Indigenous, immigrant, cooperative, female and gender diverse farmers and would-be farmers? How does the parity movement join in global solidarity to reset the international agricultural economic and trade rules to reverse the globalization of agriculture that dumps surplus and undermines food sovereignty?

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Towards Building Comprehensive Legal Frameworks for Corporate Accountability in Food Governance
Daniel Dorado, Sofía Monsalve, Ashka Naik & Ana María Suárez - Development journal
22 October 2021 
Given the failures of the UN Food Systems Summit and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to tackle the problems related to the corporate capture of food governance, this article calls for developing comprehensive legal frameworks for corporate accountability in food governance. In doing so, the authors identify key regulatory elements that need to be taken into account in food governance discussions. Their recommendations are borrowed from the guidance developed in the context of the negotiations for an International Legally Binding Instrument on TNCs and other Businesses with Respect to Human Rights, as well as in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the WHO Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors, and the WHO Financial Regulations and Financial Rules.

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Indovina chi c’è dietro la paralisi sul CoVid-19 nel Comitato sulla sicurezza alimentare mondiale
Nora McKeon - Transform! Italia
20 October 2021 
“Il COVID 19 ha moltiplicato le sfide della fame e della malnutrizione. Abbiamo bisogno di un’azione trasformativa!“. Il primo oratore alla 49a sessione plenaria del Comitato delle Nazioni Unite per la Sicurezza Alimentare Mondiale (CFS), il Segretario Generale delle Nazioni Unite, ha acceso i riflettori sugli impatti disastrosi della pandemia che hanno afflitto le comunità di tutto il mondo per quasi due anni. 

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UN Food System Summit Fails to Address Real Healthy and Sustainable Diets Challenges
Janine Giuberti Coutinho, Ana Paula Bortoletto Martins, Potira V. Preiss, Lorenza Longhi & Elisabetta Recine
20 October 2021 
Evidence of the impacts of corporate food systems on people’s health raised concerns about the multiple outcomes of malnutrition and climate change, including commodities production and high consumption of ultra-processed food products. The COVID-19 pandemic overwhelms this scenario, highlighting the urgency for improvements in governance spaces and regulatory measures that can tackle the advance of large corporations, which act exclusively based on their private interests.

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China and the UN Food System Summit: Silenced Disputes and Ambivalence on Food Safety, Sovereignty, Justice, and Resilience
Li Zhang - Development Journal
20 October 2021 
China is a major agricultural power. It dramatically reduced hunger and increased its role in many forums for international governance. However, the Chinese government and society neither played a prominent role in the UNFSS nor in its critique. This article exposes how tensions and ambivalence about agroecology and food sovereignty in China create silences in these discussions, and addressing them within China can also resolve the global tensions that marked the UNFSS as a whole.

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Guess Who’s Behind Paralysis on COVID19 in the UN Committee on World Food Security 
Nora McKeon - IPS News
19 October 2021
‘COVID 19 has multiplied hunger and malnutrition challenges. We need transformative action!’ The first speaker at the UN Committee on World Food Security’s (CFS) 49th Plenary Session, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, turned the spotlight on the disastrous impacts of the pandemic that have afflicted communities around the world for close to two years.

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Woke Science and the 4th Industrial Revolution: Inside the Making of UNFSS Knowledge
Maywa Montenegro de Wit and Alastair Iles - Development journal1
9 October 2021 
Understanding how science, technology, and innovation is produced by the UN Food Systems Summit process offers a lens into how dominant actors in global food policy continually rework their power and legitimacy. Focusing on discourses and material networks, the article shows that the Scientific Group makes appeals to inclusivity—of people of colour, women, youth, smallholders, and more—while extending old Green Revolution ideas through new 4th Industrial Revolution innovations and governance ambitions.  

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Digital farm technology is no climate panacea
Astrud Lea Beringer - The Ecologist
18 October 2021 
Smartphones have revolutionised our way of living. No need to visit a library when looking for information – we just go online. Convenience is convincing. But can digital technology solve all the problems in the world? The idea of going high-tech in agriculture gained traction as a silver bullet against world hunger and climate breakdown during the corporate-backed UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) last month.     

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A Trade Agenda for the Right to Food
Michael Fakhri - Development journal
13 October 2021 
Whoever benefits from a trade regime in effect gains power over significant aspects of different food systems. And yet the WTO still does not provide a coherent food policy and the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit made very little space for trade policy. The degree of international trade policy discord and supply chain fragility strongly suggests that there must be new international trade negotiations around fundamental questions of principle. Seeing little benefit in reforming the WTO, this article explains how the trade agenda for the right to food could focus on territorial markets and negotiating new types of treaties, International Food Agreements. 

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From Food as Commodity to Food as Liberation
Atun Kuljay, Jean-Marc Louvin, Molly Anderson, Naseegh Jaffer and Tomaso Ferrando - Development journal
13 October 2021 
For the capitalist way of organizing people and nature, food is nothing but a commodity. Any meaningful transformation of the dominant food system must thus be based on the decommodification and liberation of food and all the elements that make food systems possible (labour, land, seeds, etc.). The notions of commons and commoning can be allies in this journey, helping different anti-capitalist fights to converge and avoid corporate cooptation.

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African agriculture without African farmers
Alex Park and Siera Vercillo - Al Jazeera
9 October 2021 
With the passing of the United Nations’ highly contested Food Systems Summit last month, the task of “feeding the world” has taken on a newfound urgency.But one point apparently lost on the summit’s attendees is that the project of “agricultural modernisation” which many of them have supported for decades is only making food insecurity worse in recent years, especially in Africa.

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Did the First UN Food Systems Summit Give Corporations Too Much of a Voice?
Greta Moran - Civil Eats
29 September 2021 
In a speech delivered at the first United Nations Food System Summit, held in New York on September 23rd and joined by global leaders virtually, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called for food systems that work for everyone.
“We need systems that can support prosperity—not just the prosperity of businesses and shareholders, but the prosperity of farmers and food workers, and indeed, the billions of people worldwide who depend on this industry for their livelihoods” said the U.N. chief.

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Billions pledged and awareness raised, but UN food summit fails to heal divisions
Thin Lei Win - The New Humanitarian
28 September 2021 
T​he first-ever Food Systems Summit, held virtually last week, raised the profile of global food challenges and touted thousands of potential solutions. But the divisions that marred the lead-up to the UN-run event show little signs of healing, and some critics branded it a failure. In a whirlwind of videos and speeches, more than 150 attendees – from 86 world leaders to dozens of donors, farmers, Indigenous representatives, UN officials, and business executives – laid out their visions of a well-fed future based on fairer, more nutritious, and greener food systems.   

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Ernährungsgipfel gescheitert: Zwei Jahre Energie und Ressourcen in die falschen Bahnen gelenkt
Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung 
28 September 2021 
Seit dem Ausbruch der Covid-19-Pandemie im Winter 2019 ist die Anzahl der Hungernden