CSO Forum Parallel to the FAO Summit: Stop the crisis, change the food system!


Media Advisory

From November 13th to 17th, more than 400 delegates (number determined by available funding*) from 70 different countries representing small scale food producers’ organisations of farmers, fisherfolk, Indigenous Peoples, food and rural workers, rural youth, women and pastoralists, as well as food insecure city dwellers and NGOs will gather in Rome for a parallel initiative to the World Summit on Food Security organised by the FAO. The People’s Food Sovereignty Forum 2009 is organised under the responsibility of an International Steering Committee (ISC) formed by many global and regional civil society organisations (CSOs) representing food producers and affected peoples.

At the World Food Summit in 1996, when there were an estimated 830 million hungry people, governments pledged to halve the number by 2015. Today, in 2009, more then 1 billion people are undernourished, the highest number in four decades.

The world we live in is facing a structural and multifaceted crisis. Climate, energy, financial and economic crises further aggravate the persistent food crisis, which, more than the other crises,  has triggered a wave of protests in across dozens of countries. This clearly shows how equitable access to food is essential to the well-being of people, and to social justice and democracy.

The Forum will continue its work on the human rights-based governance of food systems, initiated by the CSO Forum in Rome in 1996. Several issues will be debated to define a comprehensive plan of action for CSOs, including: the relation between rural and urban populations and sustainable methods to guarantee access to food; climate change and models of production that can cool down the planet and reduce people’s vulnerability to climatic variation; and, access to natural resources, land grabbing and ensuring rights to land in a gender equitable way.

The current situation is not the result of any sudden natural disaster, but the fruit of decades of the same wrong policies. The People’s Food Sovereignty Forum is committed to changing the dominant agricultural and food policies by effectively dealing with the root causes of hunger and poverty and presenting the proposals that have emerged from the long resistance of small food producers and the urban poor. There will be no solution to the world’s multiple crises without a central role for civil society and a dialogue with governments.

Media Agenda

  • 13th November, Beginning of the People’s Food Sovereignty Forum. Evening Mistica. Venue: Città dell’altra economia, Largo Dino Frisullo (ex-Mattatoio, Testaccio, Rome) – map upon request. – Venue to be confirmed.
  • 14th November, 10 am – Opening of the People’s Food Sovereignty Forum with a delegation from FAO, from IFAD and from the municipality of Rome. Città dell’altra economia, Largo Dino Frisullo (ex-Mattatoio, Testaccio, Rome) – map upon request. – Venue to be confirmed.
  • 16th November, 12 am – Appointment with the media. Testimonies – Leaders from different countries will be available for interviews. – In front of the FAO. – Venue to be confirmed.
  • 17th November, 1:30 pm – Press Conference for the closure of the People’s Food Sovereignty Forum. Venue: Iran Room (on the 1st floor of Building B), FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, Rome.

Contacts for the press:
Emanuela Russo
Press Officer
People’s Food Sovereignty Forum ROMA 2009
Cell Italy: +39 3490068499
languages: Italian, Spanish, English

Web page:

Social movement’s leaders from seventy different countries from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe will be available for interviews.

The International Steering Committee of the Forum is responsible for the organisation. It is composed by the following organisations:

Farmers:  Two main global farmers’ organisations

  • IFAP (International Federation of Agricultural Producers): Ajay Vashee, Zambia (or Nora Ourabah, France)
    IFAP is the world farmers organisation representing over 600 million farm families grouped in 120 national organizations in 79 countries. It is a global network in which farmers from industrialised and developing countries exchange concerns and set common priorities.
  • Via Campesina: Nettie Webbe, Canada
    Via Campesina is the international movement of peasants, small- and medium-sized producers, landless, rural women, indigenous people, rural youth and agricultural workers. It is an autonomous, pluralist and multicultural movement, independent of any political, economic, or other type of affiliation. Our members are from 56 countries from Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

Regional farmers’ organisation from

  • Africa – ROPPA (Réseau des Organisations Paysannes et de Producteurs Agricoles d’Afrique de l’Ouest): Ndiogou Fall, Senegal
    The network of Peasant organizations and Producers in West Africa (ROPPA) was officially founded on July 2000, during a meeting in Cotonou that gathered about a hundred farmers representatives appointed by their respective organizations from 10 West African countries.
  • Latin America – COPROFAM (Confederación de Organizaciones de Productores Familiares del Mercosur Ampliado): Alessandra Da Costa Lunas, Brazil
    COPROFAM is the Coordination of MERCOSUR familiar farmers organizations, from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Paraguay and Uruguay.
  • Asia – AFA (Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development): Esther Penunia, Philippines
    The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development or AFA is a regional alliance of 9 farmer federations in 8 Asian countries, representing 10 million farmers. Established in May 2002.

Fisherfolk:    two main fisherfolk’s global forums

  • WFF (World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fishworkers) Margaret Nakato, Uganda and Arthur Bogason, Iceland
    WFF is an international organisation for coastal fishers. Currently there are 23 countries that have commercial fishing associations as members. The organisation’s aim is to work for sustainable fishing, and to put forward the interests of those who fish the coast.
  • WFFP (World Forum of Fisher Peoples): Herman Kumara, Sri Lanka
    WFFP is a federation of Organization mainly working in Asia and Africa .They are mainly Beach Based fisher people which use traditional fishing crafts. They came together in 1997 to fight for their rights, to protect the fish resources and to protect the coast.

Pastoralists – KSBA (Kyrgyz Sheep Breeder’s Association): Akylbek Rakaev, Kyrgyz Republic
The KSBA unites 105 sheep cooperatives across the country, comprising 1,138 producer families. The purpose is to create favourable conditions for the development of local sheep and goat breeders’ cooperatives,  in order to provide farmers with improved access to markets, credit and technical resources.

Indigenous Peoples organisations – IITC (International Indian Treaty Council): Saul Vicente, Mexico
The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) is an organization of Indigenous Peoples from North, Central, South America, the Caribbean and the Pacific working for the Sovereignty and Self Determination of Indigenous Peoples and the recognition and protection of Indigenous Rights, Treaties, Traditional Cultures and Sacred Lands.

Environmental networks – FOEI (Friends of the Earth International): Martín Drago, Uruguay
One of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network. They campaign on today’s most urgent environmental and social issues, challenging the current model of economic and corporate globalization, and promoting solutions that will help to create environmentally sustainable and socially just societies.

Agroecological organisations/networks – MAELA (Movimiento Agroecológico de América Latina): Felipe Íñiguez, Mexico
MAELA is a plural movement experienced in development, investigative analysis, training and promotion. It is made up of more than 85 institutions (agricultural groups, farmers, NGOs, colleges and universities). MAELA puts forward alternatives to market neo-liberalisation and economic globalisation, which it views as discriminatory and exclusive.

Urban poor organisations – HIC (Habitat International Coalition): Davinder Lamba, Kenya
HIC is an independent, international, non-profit alliance of 400 organizations. It includes social movements, grassroots organizations, civil society organizations, NGOs, academia and research institutions, and like-minded individuals from 80 countries in both North and South. A shared set of objectives bind and shape HIC’s commitment to communities working to secure housing and improve their habitat conditions.

Youth – MIJARC (Mouvement International de la Jeunesse Agricole): George Fernandez, India
MIJARC is an international movement with member movements in four continents. Rural youth from 12 to 30 years commit themselves in these rural youth movements. They locally contribute to the sustainable rural development.

Human Rights organisations – FIAN (FoodFirst International Action Network): Sofia Monsalve, Colombia (or Flavio Valente, Brazil)

FIAN is an international human rights organization that has advocated for the realization of the right to food for more than 20 years. FIAN consists of national sections and individual members in over 50 countries around the world, it is a not-for-profit organization without any religious or political affiliation and has consultative status to the United Nations.


  • Action Aid International: Francisco Sarmento, Brazil
    ActionAid is an international anti-poverty agency whose aim is to fight poverty worldwide. Formed in 1972, for over 30 years we have been growing and expanding to where we are today – helping over 13 million of the world’s poorest and most disadvantaged people in 42 countries worldwide.
  • Oxfam International: Chris Leather, located in Italy
    Oxfam International is a confederation of 14 like-minded organizations working together and with partners and allies around the world. They work with communities and they seek to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.

Women / Ad-hoc Group of INGOs in formal status with FAO: Anita Fisicaro, Italy (or Paolo Rozera, Italy)

IPC (International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty): Antonio Onorati, Italy
The IPC is a facilitation mechanism of some 800 NGOs/CSOs/Social Movements concerned with food sovereignty issues and programmes. It includes organisations that represent small-scale farmers, fisherfolk, Indigenous Peoples, pastoralists, women, youth, agricultural workers’ trade unions and NGOs.

CISA (Italian Food Sovereignty Committee, Italy host country): Sergio Marelli, Italy

Support: IPC secretariat

* With the support of
NORAD – Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, the Municipality of Rome, IFAD, the Catalan Government, SDC- Swiss Devlopment Cooperation, the Brazilian Government,  Bread for All, Action Aid, EED, Oxfam and the self-financing of the social movements.

Uno no vende la tierra por la cual camina su pueblo.
Tashunka Witko, 1840–1877