Pictures from the CSO Parallel Meeting and 30th APRC

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CSO Statement on the 30th FAO-APRC: Our Food, Our Future, Our Urgent Calls

We, seventy ( 70)  representatives of organizations of small farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, rural women, pastoralists, youth, cooperatives, and NGOs from Asian Civil Society met from September 27-28 for the CSO parallel consultation to the 30th FAO-Asia Pacific Regional Conference in Gyeongju, Korea. We discussed  the critical issues affecting global food security namely: climate change adaptation and mitigation, land grabbing and food sovereignty,  trade and investment, global food and financial crises,  and agriculture and food governance.


In the last five years, manifold crises have afflicted the world. The financial crisis caused the closure of banks and many financial institutions. The food crisis resulted from the destruction of food systems through neo-liberal reforms in poor countries. Food prices remain high, and now, 1 billion people are hungry and malnourished with more than 700 million found in Asia. A climate crisis is upon us due to  unsustainable industrial and agricultural policies.

These crises are fundamentally linked to neo-liberal globalization triggered by oligopolistic capitalism. This is an intensification of cyclical forms of recession due to unsustainable development, chemical intensive agriculture, overproduction, and global speculative markets. In Asia’s rural areas, these policies and processes are destroying our food sovereignty, poisoning our land, common property and natural resources and driving small food producers to bankruptcy and loss of their land and livelihoods. The hardest hit and most vulnerable are developing countries that became net importers of food.

A climate crisis is upon us due to  unsustainable industrial and agricultural policies In Asia’s rural areas, these policies and processes are destroying our food sovereignty, poisoning our land, common property and natural resources and driving small food producers to bankruptcy and loss of their land and livelihoods. The hardest hit and most vulnerable are developing countries that became net importers of food.

The issue of climate change is a matter of ecological justice. Its worst impacts are felt by the most marginalized communities (esp. women and children) who are the least responsible for it. Developed countries share a disproportionate responsibility for historic greenhouse gas emissions due to unsustainable industrial model and chemical-intensive  agriculture. Climate change cannot be adequately addressed without dismantling the current neo-liberal and corporate-driven political and economic model which in fact is its cause and driver. We reject techno-fixes like genetically engineered food and geo-engineering, intensive industrial agriculture and market-based mechanisms like the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDMs) and carbon credits that allow the developed countries to continue business as usual at the expense of the poor.

The 2007-08 food and financial crises spawned a new wave of foreign land acquisitions. Financial investors are also taking advantage of food insecurity to speculate on the price of landholdings. Governments that host these land deals are often  poor and in desperate need of investment, have weak capabilities or lack commitment to protect its people from related economic, social, and environmental risks. Thus, small farmers, peasants, pastoralists, indigenous peoples, fishers and other marginalized communities that depend on common property resources are displaced, creating resource conflicts and greater threat to food sovereignty. The Voluntary Guidelines or Codes of Conduct proposed by the FAO, the World Bank and other inter-governmental agencies to regulate these land-based investments have no teeth, and do not offer even minimal protection or any real means of redressing grave human rights violations that often arise from these deals. We need our Governments to develop and implement policies that protect the rights and access of small food producers to land and natural resources from the assault of big foreign and domestic investments that compromise food sovereignty.

The collusion between agro-transnational corporations, governments, and international agencies have resulted in driving small food producers into greater poverty and robbing them of their inherent right to seeds, breeds and other productive resources. The WTO, for instance, persists to advance corporate control in food and agriculture through agreements like Agreement on Agriculture and TRIPS . The FTAs and UPOV further complicate the problem. The intellectual property rights (IPRs) regime has even put small food producers at risk of being sued and harassed while seed companies have been making excessive profits from the crises. IPRs have encroached into the socio-cultural and ecological domains which threaten the multifunctionality and biodiversity of food production. Food sovereignty has been recognized in the constitutions of countries like Nepal, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador as a policy framework to govern food and agriculture. Thus, we are unanimous in our rejection of neo-liberalism (i.e. liberalization, deregulation and privatization) and IPRs over plant, animal, and other living organisms. We maintain our call for the WTO to get out of food and agriculture. Food is not a tradeable commodity for profit.

In addition to already existing institutions there are new mechanisms in the global governance of food and agriculture. There is a dire need for policy coherence among all these players . The World Summit on Food Security in Rome, November 2009 endorsed the reforms for the Committee on Food Security. These reforms have enhanced its role for greater coherence in the global food policies. Besides, the CFS has a mandate to formulate a Global Strategic Framework to improve coordination among a wide range of stakeholders. Additionally the representatives of small-scale food producers and other CSOs will be full participants and not just observers of the CFS processes.


We call on FAO member states to:

  1. Implement a genuine, people-led  land and agrarian, pasture land, and fisheries reforms.
  2. Restrict foreign land acquisitions. Investigate and arrest cases of land grabbing and related human rights violations; and release peasant leaders who were arrested for defending their land from land grabbers.  Agricultural, pastoral, and forest lands as well as common property resources should be protected . Conversions and takeovers should not be permitted without full, free, prior and informed consent of the community. Customary rights of indigenous and ethnic minority communities should remain inalienable and not be overidden by other national laws.
  3. Enable, support and sustain family farms practising community- and biodiversity-based, sustainable, organic and ecological agriculture, fisheries, forestries and pastoralism to ensure food sovereignty, as per recommendations of the International Assessment on Agricultural Science Technology and Development (IAASTD).
  4. Promote community-centered seed conservation and development with an emphasis on women regaining their role as seed conservers as well as community-based marketing systems. Prohibit intellectual property rights on plant, animal and other living organisms. Do not allow genetically engineered seeds, breeds food,  and fish stocks. Partnerships with private corporations that give them access, ownership and/or control over common goods/resources should be avoided by public and international R&D institutions as they pose a threat to public welfare. 
  5. All measures to address climate change must ensure climate, social, environmental, and gender justice, common and differentiated responsibility, and food sovereignty. Industrialized countries should substantially cut down their greenhouse gas emissions according to the commitments of the Kyoto Protocol, under a legally binding agreement.
  6. Promote and effectively support household food security initiatives. Develop national food security programs that prioritize food self-sufficiency and promote rural employment.
  7. Invest in developing culturally-appropriate local, national and regional food banks in consultation and collaboration with community food producers to ensure food sovereignty and price  stability. 
  8. Respect and adhere to food and national sovereignty principles when negotiating and signing international, regional and bilateral trade agreements. Ensure participatory consultation processes and transparency with relevant stakeholders. Put in place safety nets, safeguards and anti-dumping mechanisms.

We call on FAO to:
  1. Implement the FAO Guidelines on the Right to Food and Farmers Rights as stipulated in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The. FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries should be improved to make it more regionally-relevant and commodity-specific. Pursue the implementation of the agreements in the International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ICARRD).
  2. Hold CGIAR systems, including the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), accountable for the harm they have done to the small food producers. Food and agriculture research and development initiatives must be farmer-driven, community-led and primarily for the benefit of small food producers. 
  3. Initiate processes to reconcile various international treaties and conventions that pertain to natural resource management and agriculture in view of protecting small-scale food producers and their community rights.
  4. Establish guidelines to regulate food commodity speculation.
  5. Regulations that seek to protect the food sovereignty of the people should be legally-binding rather than voluntary.
  6. Facilitate and ensure greater and more meaningful participation of civil society groups in CFS and other FAO processes, and allocate resources for these processes. We appreciate FAO support for this CSO parallel meeting. However, we exhort FAO for greater inclusion in future dialogues and processes as full participants and not merely observers. The FAO should learn from existing processes of engagement with civil society organizations.
  7. Develop a global strategic framework as one of the outcomes of the CFS processes.
We, the civil society participants in this gathering, are committed to working together to make our governments respond to the needs of the rural poor and marginalized. We will continue our efforts to make our governments and intergovernmental agencies , accountable to the needs of the region's peoples, through constructive and principled engagement in various processes and in the monitoring and evaluation of their work.We will  contribute our expertise in the deliberations on the substance and methodologies of the various agricultural policies and investments for agriculture at national, regional and international levels. We will intensify our efforts in empowering local communities to contribute towards and benefit from sustainable development efforts in the Asia Pacific region.

From the CSO delegates of the CSO Parallel Meeting to the 30th FAO Asia Pacific Regional Consultation 27-28 September 2010.  Presented to the High Level Meeting of the FAO-APRC on 1 October 2010 in Gyeongju, Korea.


Day 2 Presentations - Sept. 28

Plenary Session 4: The Global Food and Financial Crisis: Lessons and the Way Forward

  1. Grassroots Strategies to address the crisis: An Indigenous Perspective by Jenifer Lasimbang, Asia Indigenous Peoples' Pact
  2. Food Crisis as the Result of Disobedience to Peasants by Aliansi Petani Indonesia/API (Indonesian Peasant Alliance)
Plenary Session 5: Agriculture and Food Governance – CFS in Focus
  1. Reflections


Participants of the CSO Parallel Meeting


Day 1 Presentations - Sept. 27

Opening Session

  1. Opening Message by AHC
  2. Hunger for Justice and the Struggle of Peasants for Land and Reform by Danilo “Ka Daning” Ramos, Secretary-General, Asian Peasant Coalition (APC)
  3. Identity & Current Status of Nomadic / Sedentary Pastoral Tribes by MARAG (Maldhari Rural Action Group)
  4. The Current Food and Agriculture Situation in Japan by Yosuke Ota, Agricultural policy department of the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (JA-ZENCHU)
  5. Program Overview
Plenary Session 1: Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation through Sustainable Production Systems
  1. Climate Change Impact on Food Sovereignty by Coastal Development Partnership (CDP), Bangladesh
  2. Environment and Climate Change Policy of India by Lakshman Dass Ahuja, Officer on Special Duty, National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI); Network for Development of Cooperatives in Asia and Pacific (NEDAC)
  3. CSO Analysis and Recommendations on ASEAN Policies and Programs on Food Security and Climate Change
Plenary Session 2: Facing the Challenges of Land Grabbing and Food Sovereignty: Empowering the rural poor through access and control of productive resources
  1. Empowering Rural Poor Through Access and Control of Productive Resources by ANGOC
  2. Landgrabs Vs. Food Sovereignty by Peoples’ Coalition for Food Sovereignty
Plenary Session 3: Trade and Investment
  1. Emerging Issues on IPR, Seeds and Farmers’ Rights by Ditdit Pelegrina, SEARICE
  2. IPRS, Seeds & Farmers’ Rights by Clare Westwood, PAN AP
  3. Fisheries and Trade by Pepe Tanchuling, SouthEast Asia Fishers for Justice


    APRC Press Release - Mitigating food price volatility in Asia-Pacific

     Mitigating food price volatility in Asia-Pacific
    Agricultural ministers meeting in South Korea

    Gyeongju, Republic of Korea, 25 September 2010 – Volatile food prices and market uncertainties are urgent topics high on the minds of agriculture ministers and senior officials from forty-four Asia-Pacific countries when they will be meeting at an FAO conference in Gyeongju next week.

    While there is no indication of an impending world food crisis, FAO is warning that unexpected price hikes are a major threat to food security for the poor in the Asia-Pacific region.

    Exploring new measures to check food price volatility and manage associated risks requires further work to address the root causes of food insecurity.

    Recent major crop failures followed by national policy responses and speculative behavior rather than global market fundamentals have been main factors behind the recent escalation of world food prices and the prevailing high price volatility, FAO said.

    In contrast with steep price increases in wheat (by 60 to 80 percent) and maize (by 40 percent), rice prices rose by only seven percent from July to September.

    But even at these higher levels, cereal prices are still one third below their peaks in 2008.

    Seriously affected by higher international food prices are low-income food-deficit countries that import wheat, maize or rice – such as, in the Asia region, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Mongolia and Pakistan.

    But foremost, the poorest segments of society who spend a large part of the household budget on foods – sometimes up to 50-60 percent – will be hit hardest.

    FAO stresses that national food security policies in place in individual countries largely determine the impact of higher international food prices on consumers.

    Food price hikes have not been across the board, with prices climbing sharply in some countries but dropping in others.

    In Asia, domestic price trends for rice, the main food in the region, were mixed: in Bangladesh and Viet Nam prices increased in August and early September but declined in the Philippines, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

    The FAO regional conference for Asia and the Pacific takes place at a time when most countries in the region are experiencing remarkable economic recoveries. But hunger remains widespread and hundreds of millions of poor people are vulnerable to dramatic spikes in food prices or otherwise cannot have access to food, indicating deep structural problems in the region’s food security mechanisms

     The Asia and Pacific region is home to 578 million hungry people, some two-thirds of the world’s hungry.

    Despite Asia and the Pacific region’s impressive gains in achieving several of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, the region is falling behind in the crucial areas of hunger and food security.

    Addressing food insecurity in the medium and longer terms requires courageous steps on the part of concerned governments and international organizations to help unlock untapped agricultural production potential rapidly boost food production and investment in agricultural infrastructure.

    These efforts to stepping up agricultural production should be combined with targeted and reliable safety net systems providing access to food for the poorest of the poor. 

    Ensuring food security requires collective action involving a large range of key players in the food chain.

    In conjunction with the FAO conference, a consultation of Civil Society Organizations will be held on Monday and Tuesday 27 and 28 September – see

    A CSO delegation will present a statement about the outcome of this consultation to the FAO ministerial meeting later in the week.

    = = = = = = = = = =

    For more information about the 30th Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific, see

    Media follow-up inquiries can be addressed to:

    Diderik de Vleeschauwer 
    Tel: +66 81 899 7354 or +82 10 7364 8003


    Background of the Consultation

    The CSO Parallel Consultation in conjunction with the 30th FAO-Asia Pacific Regional Conference to held in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea on September 27-October 1, 2010 will bring together representatives of farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, rural women,  rural youth, cooperatives, NGOs and other civil society organizations, to discuss the priority issues that are affecting the food security of the region.

    The CSO Consultation aims to provide the official FAO Asia-Pacific Regional Conference (APRC) process  critical inputs from the various CSO perspectives and positions on the priority issues  they  have identified in the February 2010, Manila FAO-CSO Consultation, anchored on the experiences from the ground, especially by the basic rural sectors. These priority issues will be deliberated on keeping in mind the official APRC agenda and possible windows for engagement during the official interphase.  It also aims to further strengthen the solidarity and cooperation among existing broad-based civil society mechanisms to sustain the engagement and cooperation among themselves and with FAO and its Member States based on a shared agenda of pursuing agriculture and trade policies that are responsive and appropriate. The event also aims to raise public opinion on the issues affecting food security and sovereignty and the need for urgent and immediate actions from FAO and the Member States, especially in the  context of the new framework for global governance in food and agriculture aimed at addressing the weaknesses in the global fight against hunger and malnutrition, which is the goal of the reform of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS).

    The CSO meeting envisions participation of a broad-based CSO representation coming from the  membership/partnerships of the regional CSO Ad hoc Committee (AHC) for the APRC and IPC Asia.  It is also open to all other CSOs who are interested in broad-based action  and are co-stakeholders in pushing for a  responsive policy and programming by various food and agriculture governance bodies in the region.  Thematic clusters have been formed and CSOs belonging to these clusters are responsible for preparing the workshops through volunteer anchors/sub-anchors. AHC meetings/exchanges (small groups, online) have provided input in developing the program design and the selection process of participants. 

    The FAO provides major funding support towards the conduct of the APRC CSO related activities in Korea. The Korean government and the Korean CSOs  provide  in-kind support to the CSO meeting.  The CSO delegates shall also provide counterpart cash support to cover in-transit provision and opportunity cost for their participation in the APRC related CSO event.

    The CSO Meeting is being co-organized by the regional CSO Ad Hoc Committee for APRC (AHC) and the Korean CSO Working Committee (KoCWC). The AHC focal point is AsiaDHRRA and the KoCWC focal point is the National Agricultural Cooperatives Federation  (NACF).  There is close coordination by the Focal Points with the FAO-RAP CSO Liaison and Communications Office and the FAO-OCEP.


    Provisional Program

    Opening Session
    Day 1: September 27
    8:00 – 8:45
    Anchor:  AHC-KoCWC Sect.
    9:00 – 9:15
    Video Showing: Korean Agricultural Development History
    9:15 – 10:30
    Welcome and Opening Messages from the Organizing Committee
    Mr. Yong-Duck Kim, KoCWC-APRC Focal Point,
    Executive Vice President, National Agricultural Cooperatives Federation (NACF
    Mr. Kwang Suk Lee, Chairperson,  Korean Peasant League (KPL)
    Mr. Woo Hyun Kang, President,  Korean Advanced Farmers Federation  (KAFF)
    Ms. Marlene D. Ramirez,  AHC-APRC Focal Point; Secretary General, AsiaDHRRA
    Ms. Sarojeni Rengjam, IPC-Asia Coordinator, Executive Director, PAN-AP

    Congratulatory Message
    Mr. Thomas Price, Chief, Office of Communications and External Affairs and Partnerships, FAO

    Keynote Address -- The State of Food and Hunger in Asia and the Pacific: A CSO Perspective by Sub-Region

    Southeast Asia
    Mr. Danilo Ramos,  Asian Peasant Coalition, Philippines
    South Asia
    Mr. Aftab Alam Khan, Action Aid, Pakistan
    Mr. Desai Laljibhai Gafurbhai,  MARAG, India
    East Asia
    Mr. Yosuke Ota,  JA-Zenchu, Japan

    Overview of the CSO Parallel Event
    Ms. Arze Glipo, AHC Thematic Co-Anchor; Asia Pacific Network for Food Sovereignty

    Administrative Announcements
    Mr. Gwanseog Hong,  KoCWC-NACF
    Ms. Lorna David,  AHC-AsiaDHRRA
    10:30 – 10:45
    Break and Photo Session
    Thematic Plenary Sessions
    10:45 -  12:45
    Plenary Session 1: Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation through Sustainable Production Systems
    Anchors: LVC, IFAP, NEDAC,   AsiaDHRRA
    12:45 – 1:45
    Lunch Break
     1:45 – 3:45
    Plenary Session 2: Facing the Challenges of Land Grabbing and Food Sovereignty: Empowering the rural poor through access and control of productive resources
    Anchors: AFA, ANGOC, PAN-AP
    3:45 – 4:00
    4:00 – 6:00
    Plenary Session 3: Trade and Investment
    6:00 – 6:15
    6:15 – 6:30
    Plenary Feedback from the SOM-APRC Meeting
    Anchor: CSO delegation
    6:30 – 7:00
    Steering Committee Meeting
    Drafting Committee Meeting
    Anchor: SC & Drafting Committee
    7:00 – 9:00
    Welcome Dinner
    Hosted by KoCWC
    Day 2: September 28
    8:30 – 9:00
    Recap of day 1 and Steering Committee Feedback
    9:00 – 11:00
    Plenary Session 4:  The Global Food and Financial Crisis: Lessons and the Way Forward
    Anchors: APNFS, AFA, PAN-AP
    11:00 – 12:00
    Press conference
    Anchor: Media Committee
    12:00 – 1:30
    Lunch Break
    1:30 – 3:30
    Plenary Session 5: Agriculture and Food Governance – CFS in Focus
    Anchors: Action Aid, AsiaDHRRA, ANGOC
    3:30 – 4:00
    4:00 – 5:00
    Finalization of CSO Calls
    Anchor: Drafting Committee/SC
    5:00 – 6:00
    Synthesis  and Closing  Program
    Anchor: SC
    6:00 – 7:00
    Steering Committee Meeting
    Drafting Committee Meeting
    Anchor: SC & Drafting Committee

    Day 3: September 29
    a. Field Visit c/o APRC 
    b. Small CSO delegation to attend official CFS Side Event  and SOM Closing
    c. AHC meeting with FAO-OCEP and Spanish Government
    Day 4 -5 : September 30- October 1: 
    CSO Meeting delegation will attend the HLM;  present conclusions of CSO Meeting to the HLM.


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