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Making progress with the creation of alliances and a common strategy for food sovereignty
by Esther Vivas
28 February 2007

The Forum for Food Sovereignty, which is currently taking place in Selingue
(Mali), is making progress on the tasks it has set itself. More than 500
delegates from 98 countries, especially invited for the forum, have come
together over the past few days to meet in seven thematic groups. Their
objective was to debate and establish strategies in relation to food
sovereignty, as well as what we must fight for, what we must fight against
and
what action we can take. Based on the results of these debates, a joint
declaration and a call to action will be drawn up before the Forum draws to
a
close on 27 February.

Access to land One of the central debates of the Forum relates to access to
land
and natural resources and the conflicts that arise between the different
actors
involved in their management. For example, in some countries, the law
prevents
women from having access to land, and in others, although they have access
by
law, tradition and practice constitute obstacles to such access.

With regard to the tensions that exist between different sectoral groups,
one of
the objectives is to take steps to resolve these conflicts, emphasizing the
specific interests between farmers and herdspeople, producers and consumers,
the urban world and the countryside, etc. As Mamadou Goita of the Malian
peasant organization CNOP said, in Africa disputes between farmers and
herdspeople are common, as are the different interests of producers and
consumers: the first want to sell their products at a high price, the second
want to buy them for as little as possible. This is why it is essential to
create alliances and mutual understanding as a way of finding a solution to
these conflicts.

A forum in the countryside The debates and meetings are being held in
Selingue
at a dedicated site which, when the Forum is over, will be managed by the
national peasant organization CNOP and used as a training centre for West
African organizations. The site has more than 50 mud and straw huts to house
participants and other buildings for meetings and plenary sessions. All of
the
materials used in the construction of the site are local, respecting
traditional architecture, the workforce used being made up of people from
the
village of Selingue.

The site is located next to the hydroelectric dam on the river Sankarani, a
tributary of the Niger, constructed by the World Bank with serious
environmental and social consequences. Its construction gave rise to the
displacement of large numbers of people to the area with the aim of living
from
fishing, but the mass migration resulted in overexploitation of the natural
resources and the consequent impoverishment of the population once they had
been exhausted. This is just one further example of the need to resist the
policies of the World Bank and the IMF which, instead of generating the
self-proclaimed “development” they promise, bring poverty and debt. These
matters are currently the subject of debate in the Selingue countryside.


Esther Vivas

est née en 1975 à Sabadell (Etat espagnol). Elle est auteure de plusieurs livres et de publications sur les mouvements sociaux, la consommation responsable et le développement durable. Elle a publié en français En campagne contre la dette (Syllepse, 2008) et est coauteure des livres en espagnol Planeta indignado. Ocupando el futuro (2012), Resistencias globales. De Seattle a la crisis de Wall Street (2009) est coordinatrice des livres Supermarchés, non merci et Où va le commerce équitable ?, entre autres.
Elle a activement participé au mouvement anti-globalisation et anti-guerre à Barcelone, de même qu’elle a contribué à plusieurs éditions du Forum Social Mondial, du Forum Social Européen et du Forum Social Catalan. Elle travaille actuellement sur des questions comme la souveraineté alimentaire et le commerce équitable.
Elle est membre de la rédaction de la revue Viento Sur et elle collabore fréquemment avec des médias conventionnels tels que Público et avec des médias alternatifs comme El Viejo Topo, The Ecologist, Ecología Política, Diagonal, La Directa, entre autres.
Elle est également membre du Centre d’Études sur les Mouvements Sociaux (CEMS) à l’Université Pompeu Fabra.
@esthervivas | facebook.com/esthervivas | www.esthervivas.com