***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***
7 December 2022 (Montreal, Canada)
COP15 – the UN Biodiversity Summit – is happening in Montreal 6-19 December, and the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) is there in its role as a coordinator of the agricultural biodiversity working group of the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC).
AFSA President and small-scale farmer Tammi Jonas is worried about Australia’s resistance to putting Country and Original Custodians first in their negotiations at the COP, saying, ‘Considering the current Federal Government’s commitment to bringing a referendum on a Voice to Parliament to the Australian population this term, we are especially surprised that delegates in Montreal are pushing against reference to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in the framework,’ said Jonas.
AFSA is also concerned that ‘the Australian Government delegates are failing to represent the desire of the Australian public for a more sustainable food system, and the practices of a rapidly growing number of farmers at all scales,’ said Jonas.
‘If the strong movement of farmers embracing regenerative agriculture and agroecology in response to climate and biodiversity crises could hear our government in these meetings, they would be outraged,’ Jonas continues.
Target 10 of the draft framework calls for more sustainable food production globally. In the draft, words in brackets are currently contested by some Parties:
Ensure that [all] areas under agriculture, aquaculture, [fisheries], and forestry are managed sustainably, in particular through the sustainable use of biodiversity, contributing to [the long- term] [efficiency, productivity] and resilience of these systems, conserving and restoring biodiversity and maintaining nature’s contribution to people, including ecosystem services and functions.
Australia is one of the governments resisting clear commitments towards greater sustainability in agriculture. ‘Australia’s interventions clearly aim to leave the door open to continue the unsustainable practices of intensive industrial agriculture on a dying planet,’ said Jonas.
Food production and consumption epitomizes our interrelationship with nature. Instead of putting in place policies and instruments that will lock in more separation between humans and the more-than-human world, the new Global Biodiversity Framework must promote positive interaction between agricultural practices and the ecosystems that support them, and the Australian Government must better reflect the desires and actions of the Australian people for a world where people are living in harmony with nature.
Tammi Jonas, AFSA President (via WhatsApp or Signal): +61422429362
(noting Tammi is in Montreal, 16 hours behind AEDT)
Randal Breen, AFSA Vice-President: 0409 322 766
About the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA)
The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) is a farmer-led civil society organisation of people working together towards socially-just and ecologically-sound food and agriculture systems that foster the democratic participation of First Peoples, smallholders, and local communities in decision making processes. Website: afsa.org.au