The IPC

    The IPC

    Who we are

    The International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC) is an autonomous and self-organised global platform of small-scale food producers and rural workers organisations and grassroots/community-based social movements whose goal is to advance the Food Sovereignty agenda at the global and regional level.

    More than 6000 organizations and 300 millions of small-scale food producers self-organise themselves through the IPC, sharing the principles and the 6 pillars of Food Sovereignty as outlined in the Nyeleni 2007 Declaration and synthesis report.

    The IPC facilitates dialogue and debate among actors from civil society, governments and others actors in the field of Food Security and Nutrition, creating a space of discussion autonomous from political parties, institutions, governments and the private sector.

    The legitimacy of the IPC is based on the ability to voice the concerns and struggles that a wide variety of civil society organisations and social movements face in their daily practice of advocacy at local, sub-national, regional and global levels.

    All the positions or joint policy initiatives must be signed by the individual organisations, and each participant can only speak on behalf of its own organisation, and not as a representative of a sector, geographic area or representing the network as a whole.

    Our history

    The origins of the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC) are rooted in the mobilization of rural peoples’ organisations around the world, reaching up to the global level, in reaction to the devastating impacts of structural adjustment and liberalisation policies on rural livelihoods and societies. The FAO World Food Summit (WFS) held in Rome in November 1996 was the occasion for these organisations to start reflecting on a common alternative strategy to build their capacity to influence the global policies and promoting global networking.

    Since the Civil Society Forum held in connection with the WFS in 1996 and its formalisation in 2003, the IPC has played a fundamental role in creating alliances and synergies between different movements and dialoguing with the different governments and institutions. It has guaranteed the effective participation of thousands of representatives of small-scale food producers and Indigenous Peoples organisations in many crucial events and fora on agriculture and food systems all over the world, where their voices were previously absent.

    This has been possible thanks to the formal relationship and joint work between the IPC and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). This was established in a co-signed Exchange of Letter first signed in 2003 and lastly renewed in April 2019 that stated the principles governing FAO-IPC relations. It laid out a programme of work in four priority areas: the Right to Food, agro-ecological approaches to food production, local access to and control of natural resources, and agricultural trade and Food Sovereignty.

    FAO agreed to recognise and apply the principles of Civil Society autonomy and self-organisation and to take steps to enhance the institutional environment for relations with Civil Society, while the IPC acknowledged its responsibility of ensuring broad outreach to people’s organisations and social movements in all regions and facilitate their participation in policy dialogue.

    By building on this agreement during the last years, the IPC strengthened its activities at the regional level and its participation in key events such as the World Food Summit: five years later (WFS: fyl) in 2002, and the International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development and (ICARRD) in 2006. Moreover, the IPC actively participates in FAO regional CSOs consultations and conferences, Council, Conference and technical committees. Namely, the Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP), Committee on Fisheries (COFI), Committee on Forestry (COFO), Committee on Agriculture (COAG), Committee on World Food Security (CFS), Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA). The IPC is involved in the processes of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

    The IPC made a major contribution in 2004 to the formulation and adoption by the FAO Conference of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Right to Food. In 2009 it also participated in all negotiations for the reform of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), in order to involve all stakeholders and facilitate their participation. It had a leading role in the recognition of small-scale food producers’ organisations and other social movements as relevant actors in the CFS work and decisions, and in providing them a clear space to put their interests and food sovereignty at the centre of the agenda.

    Additionally, the IPC worked on the proposal for the creation of the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM), the representative body of Civil Society Organisations (CSO) for the CFS, as an original instrument to guarantee an effective and organised participation of CSOs and social movements in CFS’ work. Furthermore, IPC has played a leadership role in the negotiation of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests in the context of national food security.

    Since the CSM began working independently, the IPC decided to redefine its own workspace outside the CFS, primarily in the FAO, but also other UN agencies, and in the territories. The IPC wants to build spaces where social organisations, and especially international and regional organisations of small-scale food producers, can work together for the food sovereignty agenda and build an effective influence in FAO mission.

     

    Consult the IPC handbook for further information on IPC’s history and its present work and structure.

    Structure & Functioning

    For the above-mentioned reasons, the IPC has begun to reorganise at regional level, making a clear distinction in the roles and responsibilities of organisations of small-scale food producers organisations (that make decisions about initiatives and positions) and support NGOs (that play a supporting role). This allows the movements to organise the IPC as a common space, and to maintain their agenda at the centre of IPC initiatives.

     

    General Meeting

    The General Meeting is the biannual space where international and regional organisations and representatives of regional processes update the work plan and agree on the political lines developed around Food Sovereignty.

    During the meeting, the actions and achievements of the Facilitating Committee, Secretariat and Working Groups are evaluated.

    In the General Meeting, all international and regional organisations and representatives of all regional processes participate; invited NGOs participate only as observers.

     

    Regional processes

    The IPC has set up regional processes on all continents. The regional processes of the IPC follow the general principles and lines of actions agreed upon at the General Meetings. Regional organizations and all regional formations (branches) of the international organizations organize the process by setting up a coordination structure of all the different organizations at the regional level. The regional processes define the regional priorities and also facilitate the full participation of the regional organizations in the IPC Working Groups (WG) and the participation in all institutional regional processes where the IPC is involved.

     

    Working Groups

    The IPC Working Groups are endorsed by the General Meeting. They have the legitimacy to operate with the full support of all the IPC organizations on a specific priority theme. WGs are open and flexible structures, formed on an ad hoc basis and with an open working methodology. The WGs must be led by the Social Movements (at least two different IPC organizations, all the IPC organizations are invited to actively participate) and should encourage the participation of youth and women. The WGs work in coordination with the FC. They function with financial autonomy, under control of the FC, and contribute to the general functioning of the secretariat. The WGs report to the General Meeting. Information is regularly disseminated and circulated between regions and organizations and within the Facilitating Committee. Each WG has selected a supporting NGO to facilitate the daily implementation of the work plan. Additionally, other NGOs can support the work of the WG. The WG can also be open to other organizations that are not part of IPC, on the basis of the Facilitating Committee decision, as ratified by the General Meeting. Those WG will be denominated “IPC Plus WG”.

    The current WGs, established based on agreed priorities by the General Assembly are:

    – Land, Water, Forests and Territory;

    – Agroecology;

    – Agricultural Biodiversity;

    – Fisheries;

    – Indigenous Peoples.

     

    Facilitating Committee

    The Facilitating Committee (FC) is composed of 5 to 9 representatives of international/global organizations and regional process, with a constituency, gender and regional balance. The FC has the political mandate to organize the internal communication, prepare the meetings, control and monitor funds allocation, facilitate the IPC process, initiate (if needed), coordinate and monitor the WG, and take on the formal responsibilities. The FC is accountable to the General Meeting.

    Following the decision of the last IPC General Meeting, the current FC is composed by an Operative Group, composed by 3 representatives of Global Organizations which have been particularly active in the IPC process, and a Regional Group composed by 1 representative from each IPC region (currently Africa, Asia and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Americas, NENA) considering gender and youth balance.

    The three global organizations that have affirmed their availability and commitment to facilitate the work of the IPC are the International Indian Treaty Council, La Via Campesina, World Forum of Fisher Peoples.

     

    Secretariat

    The Secretariat communicates with the FC on a regular basis, informing the IPC organizations. For daily and urgent matters, the secretariat contacts the Operative Group first, which communicates with, consults and/or informs the regional members of the FC whenever it is appropriate.

    The Secretariat is shared between different regions following the decision of the IPC General Meeting. It is an operative structure that is mandated to organize communications via the web site, mailing lists, etc. and to fulfil an administrative role for financial issues related to the General Meeting, resource mobilization, support to WGs, etc. The Secretariat prepares the IPC biannual General Meeting.

    The Secretariat is a shared responsibility between the Rome-based International Secretariat and the Regional Secretariats, which have been set up in the different regions on the basis of the ongoing regional processes.

    The last IPC General Meeting gave the responsibility to the Rome-based organization Centro Internazionale Crocevia to operate the Rome-based Secretariat. It is in charge of facilitating the relations on a regular basis with the Rome-based UN agencies, in ongoing communication with and reporting to the Facilitating Committee.

    Participants

    Organizations participating to the IPC at the international level

    International Federation of Rural Adult Catholic Movement (FIMARC)

    HIC

    Hibitat International Coalition (HIC)

    IITC

    International Indian Treaty Council (IITC)

    La Via Campesina

    La Via Campesina (LVC)

    MIJARC

    Mouvement International de la Jeunesse Agricole et Rurale Catholique (MIJARC)

    URGENCI – The international network for Community Supported Agriculture

    WAMIP

    World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous People (WAMIP)

    WFF

    World Forum of Fish Harversters & Fish Workers (WFF)

    WFFP

    World Forum of Fishers People (WFFP)

    World March of Women

    Organizations involved in IPC’s Regional Processes

    AFSA

    Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA)

    CAOI

    Coordinadora Andina de Organizaciones Indígenas (CAOI)

    COPROFAM

     Coordinadora Andina de Organizaciones Indígenas, Coordinadora de Organizaciones de productores Familiares del MERCOSUR (COPROFAM)

    Enlaces Continentales Mujeres Indigena (ECMI)

    Movimiento Agroecologico de América Latina y el Caribe (MAELA)

    PROPAC

    Plateforme Sous-Régionale des organisations Paysannes d’Afrique Central (PROPAC)

    ROPPA

    Réseau des organisations paysannes et de producteurs de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (ROPPA)

    US Food Sovereignty Alliance

    Support NGOs

    NGOs participate as active support for the above mentioned social movements. The main NGOs supporting the IPC are:

    Centro Internazionale Crocevia

    FIAN International

    Friends of the Earth International

    International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF)