The regional West Asia and North Africa conference of the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) has stressed the importance of exerting more efforts to protect natural resources (water, land, seeds). Participants also highlighted the need to promote local products that meet food sovereignty principles, and to stand against the monopoly of large trans-boundary agricultural companies. The meeting was held in Amman on November 11, 2019 and attended by nine regional groups. It was run by the PCFS co-chairs Razan Zuayter (APN general coordinator) and Sylivia Mallari President of the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC).
The meeting stressed the need to work against conflicts and called for an end to military operations in Yemen and the safe delivery of humanitarian aid to its besieged population. Participants pointed out that nearly 14 million people are at risk of starvation due to the food crisis in Yemen. They praised APN's experience in the “Million Tree” program in Palestine and recommended its support as a means to resist the confiscation of lands by the Israeli occupation forces.
A second session was devoted to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with participants noting that the Chinese projects expanded in at least 71 countries, including Arab countries which signed with China memoranda of understanding within the Chinese initiative. Some of them have already started implementation on the ground. Mariam Al-Jaajaa, APN Director General gave a brief presentation on the initiative, stating that there are five priorities for projects that fall under the name of the initiative They include linking infrastructure between countries, facilitating trade and mobility, and seeking integration in banking services, coordination and communication, energy and renewable energy projects.
The meeting discussed the strengths and opportunities in addition to aspects of weakness and threats, and looked forward to the initiative to provide stability in the countries and improve job opportunities, training and education, as well as consider it a parallel force to the US monopoly policy. At the same time, the meeting warned of China's efforts to become a capitalist country, and of replacing American hegemony with Chinese hegemony. Participants stressed the importance of civil society taking the lead in building links with government institutions and decision makers on this issue, pointing to the need to study memoranda of understanding and review each project on separately according to clear standards.
The meeting brought together representatives from the Arab Network for Food Sovereignty, including the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature, (APN), Morocco's National Union for Traditional Fishing, the Iraqi Society for Nutrition and Safety, the Tunisian National Observatory of Participatory Citizenship and Sudanese Hawa' Women's Society. Others included the Jordanian Dana Cooperative, and the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees, 'Stop the Wall’ campaign and the Palestinian Farmers Union.