Global food crisis

International Call to Action on the world food emergency and the underlying loss of biodiversity

The current global food crisis has been a long time in the making. For more than 30 years hunger has been endemic among the poor, especially those living in rural areas. Farmers, pastoralists and fisherfolk have been increasingly dispossessed of their livelihoods as well as their land, grazing, fishing grounds and markets; grain stocks have been run down as the globalisation agenda has been imposed by the wealthy.

Governments, including those in the global South, and intergovernmental organisations must now recognize their part in implementing policies that have undermined agricultural productivity and destroyed national food security. The emergency today has its roots in the food crisis of the 1970s when some opportunistic OECD governments, pursuing neoliberal policies, dismantled the international institutional architecture for food and agriculture.

These governments and their institutions adopted short-term political strategies that neglected food and agriculture and set the stage for the current food emergency.

Social movements and civil society organisations, including Practical Action as part of the UK Food Group and the IPC for Food Sovereignty, have joined together to develop a global plan of action for food and agriculture and are willing to discuss this plan with governments and intergovernmental organisations that will be attending the Rome Food Summit.

We call for:

  1. A State of Emergency: In this crisis peoples and states can call for a State of Emergency and suspend agreements and regulate citizens and corporate activities. They must do so immediately allowing people to take back control of their food systems;
  2. UN Commission on Food Production, Consumption and Trade: A new inclusive mechanism is needed to replace the UN Task Force. This Commission should have a significant and substantive representation of small-scale food producers and marginalized consumers;
  3. No quick fixes: This is a generational emergency which is likely to continue for another generation - long term solutions are required. Governments must not be allowed to repeat the same institutional mistakes and short-term technofix solutions of the past. No more Green Revolutions - long term food sovereignty solutions are needed. 

Read the full text of the Civil Society statement on the World Food Emergency at www.nyeleni.eu/foodemergency (PDF).

The statement and global plan of action was prepared by members of the IPC, the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty. The IPC is a facilitation mechanism in which key international social movements and organisations collaborate around the issue of food sovereignty: these include ROPPA, WFFP, WFF, La Via Campesina, and many movements and NGOs in all regions (see: www.foodsovereignty.org/new/focalpoints.php). The IPC is coordinating a Parallel Forum to the FAO Food Summit in Rome.

Copies of the full Civil Society Statement on the World Food Emergency are available in English, French and Spanish. Social movements and civil society organisations, who are prepared actively to support this Call to Action, are invited to download and sign up to this statement at www.nyeleni.eu/foodemergency

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