I have been so busy working and researching and interviewing(and getting drenched by torrential rainstorms that delayed negotiations by 4 hours this morning and left us at FAO without electricity) here at the 37th Session of the CFS. So I am stealing this short summary from Patrick Mulvany. (Practical Action).
We are in the thick of negotiations about Agricultural Investment, Price Volatility, Gender and Nutrition and the Land tenure guidelines… Some progress – much left to do – but the Civil Society Mechanism of the CFS has effected a quantum leap in the quality of debate and interaction.
Ibrahima Coulibaly, the West African farmer leader, as well as Elisabeth Atangana and Mamadou Cissokho, made a brilliant speeches at the hugely successful Side Event yesterday “Africa Can Feed Itself” organised by African governments with the African farmers’ regional networks. Our project EuropAfrica: towards food sovereignty helped make the event happen. There was considerable agreement by both governments and farmers’ networks on the priority for agricultural investment to support sustainable small-scale food production, especially as practised by family farmers. Copies of “Agricultural Investment: strengthening family farming and sustainable food systems in Africa” Farmers’ workshop report. Yaoundé, May 2011 – download here – were made available to participants.
In the subsequent formal debate, there was explicit support to this dialogue process between governments and the African farmers’ regional networks. There was also a iconic moment in the meeting when a US NGO on the panel made a comment – as an aside, in a promotional private sector/business-oriented speech that found little traction in the meeting, to the effect that Africans should swallow GMOs, which caused the father of African farmers’ networks, Mamadou Cissokho, to roar with laughter! There are moments of light relief in these long meetings…
This morning, Ibrahima Coulibaly made another excellent intervention in the formal meeting on price volatility. The text is available in French. He included a strong call for an end to policies that undermine small-scale food production. He was warmly applauded – for several minutes.
Towards the end of the week there will be discussion about new topics for further negotiation in the coming year including the development of the most important function of the new CFS – to agree and oversee a new Global Strategic Framework for the governance of food and agriculture. Several governments would like to delay this process!
More later on cso4cfs.org.