Why have we reached the third round of negotiations already, and what do the land guidelines consist in?
During the 37th session of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) important issues for the future of agriculture were discussed, like the right to food and food sovereignty. Around 250 national delegates, 37 multinational companies and over 200 civil society delegates from around the world debated for days about volatility of food prices, investment in agriculture and the Voluntary Guidelines on the responsible management of land, fisheries and forests.
The negotiations on the Voluntary Guidelines were completed with 70% approval of the text, reaching some important results for civil society such as the recognition of equal dignity of governments and representatives of social organizations, or the approval of Article 8.2 of the Guidelines, which affirms the "centrality of the role of small food producers in defense of food security and social stability."
The idea of drafting Voluntary Guidelines on land was born in 2010 following the initiation of the work of the newly reformed CFS. The Voluntary Guidelines basically enclose a set of instruments created by the United Nations which set, as the name suggests on a voluntary basis, the fundamental elements of government action. This tool was demanded with insistence by civil society and social movements, as issues of land and food production are associated with strong discrimination and violations of human rights.
Next week, from 5 to 8 March, the third round of negotiations in Rome will be attended by small producers, international NGOs and civil society organizations. Although a week seems long enough to close a negotiation which has entered the final stages, there will surely be a word by word battle until the end, which goes to show how important the issues at stake are for all negotiating parties.
Damiano Sabuzi Giuliani is Policy Officer at CIDSE's Italian member FOCSIV-Volontari nel Mondo. The original article appeared in Volontari per lo Sviluppo.
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