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An empowering, emotional conclusion

Three long, intensive days of discussion, debate, brainstorming and speeches came to a powerful conclusion on Tuesday.

Heads of states and governments gathered for the World Summit on Food Security in  Rome, this week. Running parallel to this was the Civil Society Forum, in which 642 small-scale farmers, fisher people, pastoralists and NGOs participated.

Over half of these participants were women. This forum presented an important space for these different groups to discuss what directly affects them. It was clear it had been an empowering process.

Participants in the Civil Society Forum had come from over 90 countries and represented 450 organisations.They passionately presented their declarations to the entire group.

Food production: who is responsible?

Four caucuses and working groups met throughout the forum, discussing various themes around food and its production. These ranged from: who makes the decisions about food; who controls producing resources; the type of food that is produced and who needs access to food. Incredibly those responsible for over 75% of food production are often unable to participate in decisions that impact on what they do.

The results were compiled into declarations from each group. Recommendations were proposed that would not only improve the situation of those present, but offered real solutions to the global hunger crisis.

Solutions

One of the most powerful messages of the forum was the fact that small scale farmers have solutions. They have the local knowledge. What they lack is the control of food producing resources.

Land access and security are particular concerns, as climate change takes its toll, making land more valuable. These issues take on even more significance, when you are a woman.

Forum declaration

In addition to the declarations produced, each group worked on a summation. Combined, these formed the overall forum declaration. The official forum declaration was presented to the World Summit on Food Security on Wednesday.

The forum came to an emotional and successful end. It is clear, however, that there is much more to be done before the voices of those at the heart of these issues are truly heeded.