Nyéléni Europe: a growing movement for food sovereignty

Nyéléni Europe: a growing movement for food sovereignty

12 December 2016

The world’s largest international movement to re-organise the way we structure our society around food and agriculture has advanced its European agenda. ILEIA joined 700 people from over 40 countries in the 2nd Nyéléni Europe forum for food sovereignty held in Cluj Napoca, Romania.

Opening plenary of the Nyeleni Europe forum for food sovereignty

The second Nyéléni Europe Forum for food sovereignty took place in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, from 25-30 October 2016. The forum gathered over 700 participants from around 40 countries, among them peasants, consumers and urban citizen movements, NGOs, workers and trade unionists. The forum’s purpose was to set the agenda for the Food Sovereignty movement in Europe over the next few years. Key campaigns and actions were initiated and plans for moving this forward are underway.

Four thematic axes

The forum was organised around several parallel participatory sessions where burning issues resulting from earlier discussions would feed into later sessions. The first round of discussions kicked off with the four thematic axes that were identified during the consultation process held in the months prior to the meeting: 1) Models of production and consumption; 2) Food distribution; 3) Right to natural resources and the commons; and 4) Work and social conditions in food and agricultural systems.

From these discussions, the next participatory session was divided again in four groups that discussed which policies were to be targeted with actions at different levels, and what principles of participation and inclusiveness need to be respected.

Campaigns and action plans

The forum’s last three sessions took place over three days and were devoted to discussing action plans and campaigns in Europe. These sessions built on the discussions of the previous two days and addressed six campaign and action plans:

  • Land, water and fisheries in the hands of people
  • Migrants, agriculture, food culture rights
  • Peasants’ agroecology
  • Alternative trade systems vs. global corporate power
  • Territorial markets and food distribution systems
  • Common food and farming policies.

Road ahead

At the forum’s fair of delegations, traditional foods and peasant seeds from across Europe and Central Asia were exhibited and exchanged

After five intense but inspiring days of discussions and a large number of initiatives planned at the national, regional, and European level, our work has just begun. To follow-up on and spread information about the European food sovereignty movement, ILEIA together with the organising committee of the Nyéléni forum will jointly produce an issue of Farming Matters on Food Sovereignty in Europe. This issue will be launched in March 2017. Moreover, having its seat in the Netherlands, ILEIA will actively support the actions planned by the Dutch food sovereignty movement as well. Stay tuned.

Krems, Austria, five years ago
On August 2011 over 400 individuals from 34 European countries met in Krems, Austria to plan the development of a European movement for food sovereignty. Their objective was to build on the foundations of the Mali forum of 2007, where delegates from over 80 countries defined food sovereignty as the right of people to decide on their own agricultural system based on their own culture and values.

The first Nyéléni Europe Forum allowed peasant farmers and producers and civil society organisations from across Europe to share experiences, coordinate actions and discuss perspectives on food sovereignty. The forum culminated in the Nyéléni Europe Declaration, and the Synthesis Report and Action Plan. The Declaration outlined a common vision for, and commitments to realising food sovereignty in Europe.