PCFS Hosts Public Forum on Development Effectiveness in Agriculture and Rural Development
July 04, 2011
On July 4th, the Peoples Coalition on Food Sovereignty, as a member of the Better Aid Coordinating Group, hosted a civil society forum that featured the perspectives of representatives of small scale farmers’ organizations and support groups from India, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Mexico, Burundi, Cameroon, Kenya and Senegal.
The keynote presentation was made by Philippine parliamentarian Hon. Rafael Mariano of the ANAKPAWIS Partylist, who spoke to the urgency of the call for genuine agrarian reform, food self-sufficiency, respect for the rights of small scale farmers and fisherfolk and the need for a democratic, inclusive, people-centred alternative to the current aid regime that has destroyed rural community livelihoods, has had tied conditionalities and has failed to advance national industrialization as well as any form of ecological, social or economic justice. Mr. Tony Tuhan, co-chair of PCFS and director of IBON International raised concerns about the context of declining aid for agriculture and rural development, and the need for a rights based approach, centred on respecting the self-identified needs, rights and aspirations of the most marginalised sectors of rural communities, including small scale farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous people, Dalits and women. The Philippine representative of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Mr. Kazuyuki Tsurumi, affirmed FAO programming follows a rights based approach, focussing on the right to food and based on principles developed in the 2004 FAO “Voluntary Guidelines on the Right to Food”.
Ms. Azra Sayeed, Co-chair of PCFS and Executive Director of Roots of Equity in Pakistan, provided a summary of the positions and recommendations resulting from the viewpoints expressed during two civil society regional consultations organized by PCFS with small food producers and allied organizations on Aid and Development Effectiveness in Agriculture and Rural Development in Asia and Africa over the last 6 months and the overall messaging towards the Busan High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in November 2011.
Significant statements expressing visions of community-based development effectiveness juxtaposed against the negative impacts aid and development agendas have had on the livelihoods of peasants - including displacement, environmental destruction, forced migration, militarization, the devastation of Indigenous ancestral domain of Indigenous People as well as imposition of onerous debts and conditionalities that undermine national sovereignty - followed. Mr. Danilo Ramos, Secretary General of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), discussed how peasant masses are facing widespread hunger, poverty, and landlessness, but collectively organizing for justice and livelihood rights, including advocacy to advance dignified wages for agricultural workers, cooperative cultivation, food self-sufficiency and rights to till ancestral lands. Mr. Ramon Vera Herrara of GRAIN in Mexico spoke about the way that official aid agendas have dismantled the communitarian ways of life of indigenous and peasant peoples in Latin America, and alternatively, the development effectiveness these communities are achieving through their determination to recover their lands, their cultures and indigenous systems of seed cultivation, towards communal self-sufficiency and a holistic vision of life. Mr. Moses Shaha, Regional General Secretary of Eastern and Southern Africa farmers Forum (ESAFF), asserted the need for NGOs and INGOs to respect and promote the voices and perspectives of farmers’ advocacy organization rather than dominating the spaces for discussion on development effectiveness. In the open forum that followed, reactions and statements were made expressing the sentiments of rural people from different regions of the Global South, including Burundi, Kenya, Cameroon, Senegal, as well as the Philippines and India. The afternoon concluded with a strong message from small scale farmers, Indigenous Peoples and fisherfolk communities of the Global South towards the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan: respect the millions of affected families resoundingly affirming that development effectiveness is nothing less than food sovereignty.