Day 3 in Rome
Today, a group of us from Agribusiness Action Initiative and other NGOs went to the Civil Society Forum early in the morning and visited the farmers market that was set up there. We visited other NGO representatives from Via Campesina, International Federation of Agriculture Producers, Greenpeace, Pesticide Action Network, and met some new contacts as well. I visited the women’s caucus as I had the day before and representatives from WOCAN (Women organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resources). I then went to my session on the issue of what agricultural resources were controlled by whom? I was to make a presentation on water, others were speaking on land grabs (a woman from GRAIN), biodiversity (a gentleman from Mexico), the experience of land grabs (Madagascar), and a general introduction from a Ugandan woman. Our room was quite crowded. It gave me the chance to introduce Food & Water Watch to the audience, our work on food, water and fish (there were a surprising number of fisher folk in the room. I talked about our efforts around Lake Navasha in Kenya and our Latin American red (network). I called attention to the meeting in Istanbul with the World Water Forum and the success we had in getting 24 countries to endorse the right to water and to refuse to sign the ministerial statement. I found the audience attentive and their questions and comments later in the day and after the lengthy audience comment period very enriching. That session on resources will continue Monday with a focus on solutions.
Tonight, I have the privilege of dining with Olivier De Schutter with a small group. Olivier is working on a paper for early 2010 on concentration and the right to food. People here are interested in the news of anti-trust sessions in the US. A number of our partners in the food crisis working group are here in Rome. Monday begins the FAO meetings which I plan to attend in part, splitting up the day between the civil society meeting and the formal meetings. More tomorrow!