On World Food Day last year, UN Secretary General António Guterres announced that he would convene a UN Food Systems Summit in the fall of 2021. We did not imagine that the challenges would be so great so quickly. The COVID-19 pandemic quickly turned into a food crisis. In these turbulent times, what is decided in a few years will determine the path of global food governance for decades. Guterres’ goal is to organize an event that will cause the world to transform food systems with a specific emphasis on eliminating hunger and malnutrition. But for more than 500 peasant social movements, food sector workers unions and human rights activists, the UN Secretary General’s announcement reflects the private sector’s intention to dominate global food policies. These claims are not unfounded.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food will speak about the different visions that encompass food systems: mainly that of agroecology versus “sustainable intensive agriculture” and the international political environment regarding those visions. It will describe the unfortunately marginal role that human rights have played in preparing for the summit so far. It will also tell why you think people can make a difference at the Oxford Real Farming Conference and how they can use their collective power to change the world’s food systems.
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