Urgenci is part of the Civil Society Mechanism of the Committee for World Food Security as representative of the Consumer Constituency since it’s creation in 2010.
Since 2012, Judith Hitchman, special envoy to the Urgenci International Committee has become the second designated member of the Consumer Constituency of the Civil Society Mechanism of the FAO, and she’s now part of the Coordinating Committee. Urgenci has been participating in the CSM for some time, with president Andrea Calori as the key person involved.
The CSM was created top-down by the FAO, to enable the social movements of the food sector to have a place to allow their voice to be heard. This is a very new initiative within the UN institutional framework. And most importantly, it is for us to make it a bottom-up space where the food sovereignty movement as a whole can express their opinions and work towards global policies that protect small-scale farmers’ and consumers’ interests alike.
As Thomas Price of the FAO recently said in a Coordinating Committee meeting “Our aim is for the reformed CFS and the CSM to become the Security Council for all food-related issues”.
The current Global Strategic Framework and Directive for Global Land Governance are currently in their final stages of negotiation, and will soon provide important new recommendations for governance of land, forests and fisheries sectors. Our first contribution, was to suggest a modification to the proposed document in order to include a paragraph to promote the protection of urban and peri-urban land use from speculation and real-estate development, and encourage the rezoning of urban and peri-urban sites as food-growing space.
Being a member of the Co-ordinating Committee is a brief that reaches beyond the simple scope of Urgenci, as it involves outreach to all consumer groups. But our first constituency concern will be for the promotion of CSA interests. The FAO Regional Consultation in Baku(19 and 20 April 2012) was our first opportunity to lobby for those issues.
Judith has also been named as focal point in the Co-ordinating Committee for Solidarity economy. This is a relevant to her experience in the sector. She has submitted at FAO’s request, a 9-page background paper on the links between the solidarity economy and food sovereignty movements. There is an increasing interest being expressed by the various UN Agencies as to how the different dimensions of solidarity economy (complementary currencies, food sovereignty, alternative economic approaches..) can provide the much-needed answers to today’s economic, social, financial crises, and the issue of commodification of food in the case of FAO in particular.
Hopefully this new mandate for Urgenci will bear its fruits in the months and years to come.
Judith Hitchman, « Advocacy, social movements, short distribution chains and policy: an illustrated analytical approach », Urgenci Working Paper n°1, October 2014, 13 p.