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Civil society organisations insist that the UN Food Systems Summit should not be driven by private and corporate interests

The Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSM) addressed the Chair of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS), Thanawat Tiensin, last week, demanding a new course for the Food Systems Summit set to take place in September 2021. “The CSM cannot jump onto a train that is heading in the wrong direction,” state the member organisations in this sign-on letter:

To be involved, the CSM demands that the main decision-making bodies of the Summit be willing to “seriously address our deep concerns through a substantial and radical re-direction of the Summit’s current course,” which is currently being driven by the corporate interests of the food industry. CSM spokesperson Saúl Vicente denounced this in an interview with RWR.

“The fundamental premise of the Summit should be that of fostering a holistic and systemic approach that recognises the multidimensional nature of food (social, economic, ecological, cultural and political), asserts food sovereignty (the right of Peoples, nations and states to define their own food systems) and reclaims food systems as public commons that cannot be left to market-based solutions,” they added to their arguments for transformation of corporate food systems.

“The UN Secretary General should establish robust safeguards against conflict of interest (COI) in all bodies and processes of the Food Systems Summit, to ensure the centrality of public interests over private ones. This would include mandatory COI declarations from all members of these bodies (Scientific Group, Advisory Committee, Champions Group, Action Tracks) to transparently expose the full map of existing conflicts of interests and enable adequate corrective actions,” states the CSM letter. They urge the UN Secretary General to “shift away” from corporate capture and re-ground “in individual and collective Human Rights and the experiences and knowledge of the people and Indigenous Peoples most affected.”

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