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June 5, 2021

On the occasion of World Environment
Day, June 5, people’s movements and civil society
organizations around the globe today launched the Global
People’s Summit (GPS) on Food Systems, a counter-summit to
the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) slated to be held later
this year. Organisers of the GPS are among the hundreds of
CSOs and indigenous peoples organizations who have
previously voiced criticisms of the UNFSS for its ties to
big businesses and exclusion of small rural food

“This year’s World Environment Day
theme focuses on ecosystem restoration. To restore
ecosystems, we need to reclaim our food systems and
dismantle corporate control. Existing neoliberal policies in
food and agriculture destroy the planet. A continuation and
even strengthening of these pro-business policies—a clear
direction which the UNFSS is taking—means further
ecosystem destruction. In contrast, the People’s Summit
will serve as a venue to tackle the pro-people and
pro-planet transformation of our food systems – just,
equitable, healthy, and sustainable,” said Razan Zuayter,
co-chairperson of the People’s Coalition on Food
Sovereignty (PCFS).

Sarojeni Rengam, PAN Asia Pacific
(PANAP) executive director, said that the GPS is a push back
against corporate capture, exemplified by the strategic
partnership between the UN and World Economic Forum, and the
#ToxicAlliance between the Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO) and CropLife International, the industry association
of the world’s leading pesticide manufacturers. “We will
not take the dominance of corporate interests over public
policy spaces sitting down. The People’s Summit is a call
to arms against corporatization of food systems, wherein a
handful of corporations control land and productive
resources and the way we produce our food, with harmful
techno-fixes that have long been discredited. At the heart
of genuine food systems transformation is the right to food,
people’s food sovereignty and agroecology—all of which
the UNFSS leaves out,” Rengam said.

The People’s
Summit is composed primarily of movements of landless
peasants, agricultural workers, fisherfolk, indigenous
people, rural women and youth—or small food producers who
produce 70% of the world’s food, yet remain among the
world’s poorest and food insecure.

“The issue of
landlessness and land grabbing is not in the agenda of the
UNFSS. Nowhere in its so-called Action Tracks do discussions
highlight critical trends such as on land concentration and
reconcentration in the hands of big agribusiness firms and
their network of local landlords and compradors, nor on the
massive displacement of rural communities to give way to big
private investments and large development projects,” said
Chennaiah Poguri, chairperson of the Asian Peasant Coalition

Jiten Yumnam of the International Indigenous
People’s Movement for Self Determination and Liberation
(IPMSDL) added, “The Summit fails to address the massive
human rights violations inflicted by such development
aggression projects, which cause the landlessness and
impoverishment of the rural peoples especially Indigenous
Peoples. Our assertion of our right to self-determination,
our ways of life, and our indigenous food systems is often
met with criminalization and vilification, even murder.
Landgrabbing corporations, including their funders and
backing governments, should be held accountable – yet
nowhere can we hear this in the conversations of the

“The UNFSS often champions the youth. But
what future will we have when local agriculture has been
destroyed by the influx of imported food? What future will
we have when lands have been taken away or rainforests
cleared for corporate monocultures that serve not domestic
food needs, but ‘global value chains’ that value profit,
instead of the right to food, above all?” said Rahmat
Hidayat of the Youth for Food Sovereignty.

“While many
heads of state have confirmed the need for strong action to
promote sustainable food systems and halt climate change and
biodiversity loss, in practice, unsustainable livestock
farming and other forms of industrial food production are
still heavily incentivized by governments. A growing number
of public-private partnerships and initiatives promoting
blended finance, make public institutions even more
dependent on corporate funding. As a result, corporations
have more influence over the decisions that many
institutions make. For instance, the UNFSS promises to have
a direct influence in the outcomes, leading to policy
decisions that focus on protecting private interests rather
than urgent and effective action to defend food sovereignty,
protect biodiversity and tackle the climate emergency,” said
Isis Alvarez, campaign coordinator of the Global Forest

“There is zero evidence that MNCs will
suddenly grow a conscience and stop doing what’s in their
interest of ever-growing profits. It will be naive to think
that their engagement in this summit will lead to just and
equitable food systems for women in Asia and the Pacific,”
said Marjo Busto, Programme Officer of the Asia Pacific
Forum on Women, Law and Development.

The Global
People’s Summit on Food Systems will gather the broadest
number of rural peoples, people’s organizations, CSOs, and
advocates to draw up a Declaration for a radical
transformation of the current food regimes towards just,
equitable, and sustainable food systems. The People’s
Summit will also develop a People’s Action Plan – its
major outcome – to realize our goal. This Action Plan will
be based on outcomes of national, regional, and sectoral
summits, as well as thematic workshops, to be held in
different countries and regions starting this

The GPS main event will be a three-day Plenary
in September 2021, both virtually and on-ground. Each day of
the Plenary will be hosted by a Street Conference in one of
the participating countries. On the fourth day, the Plenary
will end with a coordinated Global Day of Action for Just,
Equitable, and Sustainable Food Systems to highlight the
people’s role and engagement.

The People’s Summit
is being organized by:

  • People’s Coalition on Food
    Sovereignty (PCFS)
  • PAN Asia Pacific
  • 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
  • Coalition of Agricultural Workers
    International (CAWI)
  • Asian Rural Women’s Coalition
  • Global Forest Coalition (GFC)
  • People
    Over Profit (POP)
  • Asia Pacific Research Network
  • IBON International
  • Asia Pacific Forum
    on Women, Land and Development (APWLD)
  • Stop Golden
    Rice Network (SGRN)
  • PAN North America
  • A Growing Culture
  • Youth for Food

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