Communities in Action
The Programme emphasises on the support of organised local communities whose food sovereignty is being threatened. PAN AP’s participation and active support aim to bring the issue to the limelight at the national and international levels. The experience so far indicates that PAN AP’s support acts as a catalyst to “shame” the perpetrators of the violation or the violence, and to motivate the local communities in their struggles. This strengthening also includes the support to coalition building of small food producers’ movements through the Coalition of Agricultural Workers International (CAWI), the People’s Coalition for Food Sovereignty (PCFS) and the Asian Peasants Coalition (APC). These coalitions have a wide reach and are sectorally focused on issues of importance to their sectors.
PAN AP organises two Fact Finding Missions (FFMs) per year with follow-up petition campaigns and work with local organisations to continue to support the campaigns with different activities which include a public hearing, visits or meetings with UN Special Rapporteurs or members of the human rights commissions and others. The team for the FFMs usually consist of around 5 members from outside the affected community and the support CSO and PAN AP will ensure that equal numbers of women are included in the FFMs teams as well as discussions with the communities involve women.
To date, PAN AP has conducted several FFMs and has made successes in partnership with the affected communities. The most recent is the struggle of the people of Sompeta against a power plant project which drew international attention and support from at least 80 organisations in 22 countries in 2010.
One of the highlights of communities taking action was the Peoples' Caravan where PAN AP successfully brought together several grassroots non-government organisations (NGOs) on an exodus around Asia. The caravan held seminars, public meetings, dialogue with local officials, rallies, film festivals, exchange of seeds, cultural presentations and food festivals as it moved from one country to another.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN regularly commemorates 16 October as World Food Day. Ironically, and while giant agribusiness transnational corporations (TNCs) and hedge funds have increased their profits from price speculation, the world is lamenting on food shortages and soaring commodity prices. As such, PAN AP sends a strong message for food sovereignty and to highlight people's strategies to address the current food crisis through the World Foodless Day.