Women Voices from Global South Discussing Food Sovereignty and  Climate Change at COP 27

During COP 27, a group of women from Abya Yala(1) raised their firm and deep voices to speak up about food sovereignty in regions that are so different and yet alike as America and Africa. The talk was organized by Regeneration International and OMANIAP.

At the Green area of the climate summit in the Tutankhamun auditory, the powerful female voices pondered about the impact of climate change in the lives of women and their communities, the consequences for food sovereignty and the importance of ancestral science and knowledge, demanding public policies to guarantee their rights, territories, water, biodiversity, seeds and preserve their traditional foods.

Mercedes López, Vía Organica’s Director in Mexico City started the discussion in the panel speaking about the need for communities to choose the concept of food sovereignty over food security (used by FAO). Food sovereignty is more comprehensive and prioritizes food, ancestral seeds, territories, and water for the people. It is the people who have the option to choose healthy, local and nutritious food and the right to protect themselves from poor quality agricultural imports foreign to their traditional diet. López insisted on the importance of the participation of communities in agricultural policy; prioritizing and acknowledging farmers’ voices.

Food security, on the other hand, implies access to sufficient food regardless of its origin, processing and use of agrochemicals and/or transgenic seeds,  all this without respect or consideration to food culture and pertinence.

She called out the fact that Coca-Cola and Nestle where sponsors of COP 27. Companies that have favoured  industrial agriculture, warming of the planet and cause of  obesity and malnutrition; in addition to polluting the planet with their plastic containers and using water reserves.

Precious Phiri, Regeneration International’s African Coordinator, pointed out that climate change is strongly impacting women from the Global South, and made the point that the term climate change does not seem to her strong enough and it would be better to talk of climate emergency, with economic and social consequences.

She mentioned that it is important to go beyond food security, under which groups of donors are pushing communities to have access to any type of food, just like the  green revolution model pushed by Big Ag, without taking care of diversity and specificity of nutrition amongst different communities.

This represents a big challenge for farmer communities that are pressured to adopt a model that places them in insecure situations and the answer ends up being worse than the problem. She concluded her participation commenting that climate emergency is creating a very serious economic, environmental, and social situation and it affects more women, who have the challenge to feed their families.

Wilma Mendoza, President of the National Confederation of Indigenous Women from Bolivia (CNAMIB, by its Spanish Initials) mentioned how indigenous women are fighting to keep their identity, seeds, and territories in the face of GMOs and industrial agriculture.

She explained that in Bolivia food sovereignty and security topics are included within the Development Plan, but monocrops are still supported.

Mendoza mentioned that women are more aware about the need to eat  their own foods with no agrochemicals or GMOs , and are the seed keepers. It is women-she went on- , who are more affected by droughts, flooding, frosts, plagues and deforestation.

On her turn, Mayra Macedo, Secretary of the National Organization of Andean and Amazona Indigenous Women of Peru (ONAMIAP) mentioned that public policies and food programs in Peru are insufficient and promote monocrops such as oil palm and papaya, invading their Amazonian lands, destroying the rainforest and polluting it.

Macedo said that there are two social central food programs: school breakfast which is deficient because it includes high processed foods and beverages, that only benefit the economy of companies that sell these products and not the communities and promoting raising backyard animals such as guinea pigs which cannot survive in the Amazonian region because they live in cold climates like the Andes. She criticized the lack of vision and knowledge in both programs.

She went on making a call for women to become involved in policy making, specifically in social programs designed to bring back food sovereignty.

The last speaker was Melania Canales Poma, Leader of the Quechua People and Coordinator of the Continental Network of Indigenous Women from America (ECMIA-South Region) who  said that indigenous women demand guarantees and respect to their collective territories. She mentioned as an example that in Peru, 49% of the territory is in the hands of farmer and native communities, but the land is being invaded and they are being dispossessed in various legal ways.

She went on wondering how food sovereignty would be possible if women are being deprived of their land and pointed out the importance of reviewing the legal status of the territories. It is indigeneous woman, after all, who have raised their voices against GMOs and defended ancestral knowledges.It is indigeneous women who have demanded rights, opposed machismo, extractivism and dispossession.

The talk ended with comments and questions from the audience,  summing up the importance of preserving indigenous practices, knowledge and science from the ancestors; to resist transculturation of nutrition and colonialist customs acquired through migration; demanding recognition and visibility of  women’s inputs with fair payments; organization in biocultural spaces; as well as preserving ancestral traditions such as rainwater capture to face the scarcity that is prevailing around the world.

Even though it was a small space in the middle of a vast array of side events, conferences and high level debates, this group of women showed that they  are organizing, fighting and proposing new alternatives every day to defend biodiversity, seeds, territory and women’s dignity in different communities all over the world.

1 Abya Yala in Kuna language (Colombia and Panama) means earth, life, territory, flourishing land. “Abia” means “hole of blood”, “mature mother”, “mature virgin”, “land in its full ripeness”. The term is used to name the territory between the American Continent.



Voces de mujeres del sur global en la COP 27 sobre soberanía alimentaria en el contexto del cambio climático

Un grupo de mujeres de Abya Yala[1] elevó sus voces firmes y profundas, para hablar sobre la soberanía alimentaria en regiones tan distintas pero tan hermanadas como América y África en la COP 27 de Egipto el pasado 16 de noviembre de 2022, desde organizaciones como Regeneration International y OMANIAP.

En el auditorio Tutankamón del área verde de la cumbre climática, las potentes voces  femeninas reflexionaron sobre el impacto del cambio climático en las vidas de las mujeres desde sus comunidades, las consecuencias para la soberanía alimentaria, la importancia de las ciencias y tecnologías ancestrales, demandando políticas públicas para garantizar sus derechos, sus territorios, el agua, la biodiversidad, sus semillas y preservar sus alimentos tradicionales.

Fue así como Mercedes López, Directora de Vía Orgánica en la Ciudad de México inició la discusión en el panel hablando sobre la necesidad de que las comunidades opten por el concepto de soberanía alimentaria en lugar de seguridad alimentaria (usado por la FAO), debido a que el primero es más integral y prioriza los alimentos, semillas ancestrales, territorios y agua de los pueblos; la decisión y el derecho de alimentarse por generaciones con comida sana, local y de calidad;  el derecho a protegerse de importaciones agrícolas de mala calidad lejanas a su dieta tradicional; la participación de las comunidades en la definición de la política agraria; así como la dignificación y reconocimiento del trabajo de campesinas y campesinos que nos alimentan.

Mientras que, expuso, la seguridad alimentaria sólo se refiere a garantizar alimentación sin importar su procedencia, si se utilizaron agroquímicos y semillas transgénicas, o si son ultraprocesados; todo esto sin respetar ni considerar las costumbres y tradiciones alimentarias de las regiones.

Hizo énfasis en la labor comprometida e incansable de las mujeres en toda la cadena alimentaria, sin ser reconocidas ni valorarse su gran aporte en el tema.  También denunció que Coca cola y Nestlé estuvieran patrocinando la COP 27 cuando son empresas que han contribuido, con la priorización de la agricultura industrial, a calentar el planeta y a causar pandemias de obesidad y desnutrición a nivel global; además de contaminar el planeta con sus envases plásticos.

Por su parte, Precious Phiri, Coordinadora Africana de Regeneration International, indicó que el cambio climático está impactando fuertemente a las  mujeres del sur global, e hizo el señalamiento de que el término cambio climático no le parece suficientemente fuerte y que sería mejor hablar de emergencia climática, porque las consecuencias no sólo son económicas sino también sociales.

Indicó que es importante rebasar el concepto de seguridad alimentaria, porque con esa base grupos de donantes están empujando a que las comundidades tengan acceso a cualquier tipo de alimentación, a partir de su modelo de revolución verde impulsado por la agroindustria, sin atender la diversidad y especificidad de la alimentación entre las distintas comunidades.

Esto representa un desafío grande para que las comunidades campesinas y agricultoras que están presionadas para adoptar un modelo que les coloca en situaciones de inseguridad y la respuesta termina siendo superior al problema. Concluyó su participación comentando que la emergencia climática está creando una situación económica, ambiental y social muy grave y que afecta más a las mujeres que tienen el reto de alimentar a sus familias.

Mientras que Wilma Mendoza, Presidenta de la Confederación Nacional de Mujeres Indígenas de Bolivia (CNAMIB) contó cómo las mujeres indígenas han enfrentado las pérdidas y los transgénicos en agricultura, y cómo luchan para mantener su identidad, semillas y territorios.

Explicó que en Bolivia los temas de soberanía y seguridad alimentarias están incluidos en el Plan de Desarrollo, pero que en la realidad continúan favoreciéndose los monocultivos.

Dijo que las mujeres están trabajando y son más concientes sobre la necesidad de consumir alimentos propios sin agroquímicos ni transgénicos, que están cuidando y recuperando semillas,  buscando mantener el equilibrio, porque  son las más afectadas por sequías, inundaciones, heladas, plagas y la aparición de animales silvestres que han abandonado sus hábitas por la deforestación.

En su turno Mayra Macedo, Secretaria de Organización de la Organización Nacional de Mujeres Indígenas Andinas y Amazónicas del Perú (ONAMIAP) contó que las políticas públicas y los programas alimentarios en Perú, son inadecuadas y promueven monocultivos como palma aceitera y papaya, invadiendo sus tierras en la amazonía, destruyendo la selva y contaminándola.

Indicó que existen 2 programas sociales sobre alimentación centrales, el de desayunos escolares que es deficiente porque incluye alimentos y bebidas ultraprocesadas, que sólo benefician la economía de las empresas que venden estos productos y no a las comunidades.

El otro programa de apoyo es la entrega de alimentos de traspatio, como los cuyes, que no sobreviven en la región amazónica pues son de climas frios como los andes; por lo que criticó los programas sociales por su falta de visión y conocimiento de las comunidades.

Por ello hizo un llamado a que las mujeres ocupen espacios de toma de decisión donde se diseñen los programas sociales para recuperar su soberanía alimentaria desde los territorios y problemáticas específicas y para detener leyes que les afectan.

La siguiente expositora fue Melania Canales Poma, Lideresa del Pueblo Quechua y Coordinadora del Enlace Continental de Mujeres Indígenas de las Américas (ECMIA- Región Sur)  contó que las  mujeres indígenas exigimos garantías y respeto a territorios colectivos, documentando que por ejemplo, en Peru 49% del territorio está en manos de comunidades campesinas y nativas, pero las  tierras están siendo invadidas, están siendo despojadas de distintas formas legales y existe mucha preocupación.

Se cuestionó sobre dónde van a construir soberanía alimentaria las mujeres, si las despojan de sus territorios colectivos, por eso es importante revisar la situación jurídica de los territorios, demandó, para seguir produciendo nuestro alimento, nuestras medicinas ancestrales y fortaleciendo nuestra espiritualidad.

Hizo un recuento de la lucha de las mujeres indígenas quienes se han manifestado contra los transgénicos levantando su voz, así como defendiendo y  revitalizando los conocimientos, ciencia y tecnología ancestrales, que son determinantes para la adaptación al cambio climático, y que tienen que seguirse transmitiendo desde las mujeres indígenas.

Cerro su participación diciendo que las mujeres indígenas no sólo existen, sino que siempre han venido trabajando propuestas, exigiendo y demandando derechos y oponiéndose al machismo, extractivismo y despojo que las van ahogando.

La participación cerró con una serie de comentarios y preguntas por parte del público asistente, resumiendo la importancia de preservar las metodologías, conocimientos y ciencia indígena de las ancestras; de resistir la transculturación de alimentación y costumbres colonialistas adquiridas por la migración; exigiendo reconocimiento y visibilización de los aportes de las mujeres con pagos justos; organización en espacios bioculturales; así como preservando tradiciones ancestrales como la captación de agua de lluvia para enfrentar la escasez que está prevaleciendo en el mundo.

En conclusión, podemos decir que aunque este fue un espacio pequeño en medio de un mundo de side events, conferencias, manifestaciones culturales y discusiones de alto nivel y la presencia de comunidades diversas, que hermanó las voces fuertes, profundas y sabias de un grupo de mujeres que desde Abya Yala se organizan, luchan y proponen nuevas alternativas todos los días para defender la biodiversidad, las semillas, el territorio y la dignidad de las mujeres desde las comunidades diversas de todo el mundo.

[1] Abya Yala en idioma Kuna (Colombia y Panamá) significa  tierra vida, territorio, tierra en florecimiento. «Abia» significa «agujero de la sangre», «madre madura», «virgen madura», «tierra en plena madurez». El término es utilizado para nombrar al territorio comprendido en el Continente Americano.

Avances insuficientes: la COP27 desde el Comercio Justo

Cada negociación multilateral sobre el modelo futuro de nuestro mundo, en un clima cambiante, supone una oportunidad para debatir sobre nuestro actual sistema económico, la causa de tantos problemas globales, desde la creciente degradación de nuestros ecosistemas, el cambio climático o la creciente desigualdad. Pero también es una oportunidad para demostrar que existen otros modelos económicos y comerciales que permiten avanzar hacia la justicia comercial, climática, de género y de recursos.

En este sentido, no podemos expresar nuestro pleno apoyo al Plan de Implementación de Sharm el-Sheikh, adoptado el pasado domingo 20 de noviembre en la COP27.

Aunque acogemos con satisfacción el importante avance del recién creado fondo para pérdidas y daños para apoyar a las comunidades afectadas por el clima, el Plan carece de medidas para una mitigación efectiva y, especialmente, no se ha tomado ninguna decisión sobre la eliminación progresiva de los combustibles fósiles.


Wrapping Up COP27

SHARM AL-SHEIKH – COP27 ends with an agreement for a “Loss and Damage” fund without any implementation plans or consensus to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In other words, this means very little progress for solid recommendations for climate action and achieving net-zero emissions urged by the UNFCCC to avoid the catastrophic tipping points of a +1.5C warmer planet.

Sponsored by companies such as Coke, with a presidency held by a military government that severely represses its citizens (in a holiday resort far away from the realities of the Egyptian people) we were never going to expect much from the outcome of COP27 to shift the international community away from its business-as-usual pattern.

However there were some good works made by many.

Despite these circumstances, Regeneration International sent a small and dedicated delegation to COP27, where it joined forces with friends and partners such as AFSA, IPES-Food, IFOAM Organics International, SEKEM, ONAMIAP and the “4 per 1000” Initiative to advocate evidence and concrete examples of how agroecology, regenerative agriculture and indigenous agrobiodiversity (preserving traditional seeds) can reverse global warming and nourish communities. The management of soils, their organic matter, and their capacity to build back ecological stability, including sequestering carbon, must be in every negotiation and commitment since it is the hope we have for a livable planet.

Our team also had the chance to interview some light bearing figures in our movement; you can watch them by clicking on the links below.

Interview with Karen Mapusua, President of IFOAM Organics International at COP27

Meet our dear friend Karen Mapusua, President of IFOAM – Organics International, promoting agroecology and regenerative organic food systems as a way to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Interview with AFSA’s Bridget Mugambe at COP27

RI’s Africa Coordinator Precious Phiri and Bridget Mugambe of AFSA (Alliance of Food Sovereignty in Africa) and gain insight into Africa’s most prominent civil society and their actions to regenerate the climate emergency through agroecology. 

Interview with Uganda Parliament Member Kayaa Christine Nakimwero at COP27

Watch our interview with Kayaa Christine Nakimwero, a member of Parliament in Uganda who is campaigning for seed sovereignty to ensure climate resiliency and food security in Africa.

RI was also an official partner of the Future Economy Forum organized by SEKEM. Together with many other partners and friends, we formed the regenerative movement’s most significant gathering since RI’s congregation in 2015 at COP21 in Paris. A series of dialogues and events offered a space for the regeneration movement to merge our strengths, strategies, and ideas and move forward together for regenerative agriculture and ecosystem restoration.

 For the first time in COP history, Agriculture and food systems were highlighted as a top priority. With the UNFCCC’s Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture implementing plans for climate action through agriculture and the COP hosting more than 200 side events on food and agriculture, the momentum for food and farming is there to stay. Yet, much of the COP misused the term regenerative, and very few side events promoted anything but regenerative and agroecological practices. GMOs, lab meat, and no-till glyphosate-drenched practices were on the menu of most side events, with the Food Systems Pavilion opening with pro-GMO/industry rhetoric from various members of AGRA and other green revolution advocates. 

 RI participated in several side events, including the “4 per 1000” High-Level Segment promoting tangible and shovel-ready regenerative practices such as holistic planned grazing and regenerative agroforestry via our Billion Agave Project. Our presence was all the most important and has allowed us to unite with our partners in preparation for COP28 to aggregate the true policymakers, scientists, advocates, and practitioners of change to form an ironclad alliance with our partners. 


Being in South Sinai, our COP delegation took the opportunity to visit the Habiba Community, located only a few hour’s drive from the COP negotiations. Deeply integrated into the Bedouin cultural landscape, this organic farm is empowering women and training hundreds of small hold farmers across 75 farms to adapt and mitigate climate change using regenerative practices. 


Despite the many circus like confusion that went together with hosting a COP in a place for the World’s rich, we are glad we were there, together with our allies. There is still a lot of ground to be covered, we need more and more civil society representatives in the negotiation rooms. We need to get in touch with country-based negotiators so that we can also influence the outcomes of these negotiations. As earlier stated, we look forward to the next COP, this time with much bigger numbers from our movement. It is needed. 

Lo que está en juego para América Latina por los graves daños y pérdidas del desafío climático

¿Qué responsabilidad tienen los países ricos, que emitieron grandes cantidades de gases de invernadero para desarrollar sus economías, hacia los países en desarrollo azotados por el cambio climático?

La pregunta está en el corazón de las discusiones sobre “pérdidas y daños“, uno de los temas más espinosos de la cumbre de cambio climático, la COP 27, que se celebra hasta el 18 de noviembre en Egipto.

Los fondos que los países pobres piden por “pérdidas y daños” no son lo mismo que la ayuda para adaptación. “Daños” se refiere, por ejemplo, a cosechas destruidas que eventualmente pueden volver a plantarse. “Pérdidas” alude a lo que ya no puede recuperarse como el derretimiento de un glaciar.

BBC Mundo habló sobre este y otros temas de la cumbre climática con Ana Villalobos, jefa de la delegación negociadora de Costa Rica en la COP 27.


It All Hinges on the Herders’: World’s Largest Soil Carbon Removal Project Enlists Kenyan Pastoralists

When Andrew Dokhole, a community leader in Isiolo, northern Kenya, took on the task of explaining a proposed soil carbon removal project a decade ago, he had to convince largely illiterate people about the benefits of a “foreign” concept.

“Our people didn’t know what carbon was,” says Dokhole. “There is no word for carbon in our local language, not even in Swahili, the national language. Yet the success of the project depended on the pastoralists understanding how the concept works and how it would affect their daily activities.”

Dokhole had done his research. He understood all the nuances of carbon sequestration – the capturing, removal and storage of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) – so he settled on some vivid illustrations to reach people.


Cop27 Climate Talks: What Succeeded, What Failed and What’s Next

The 27th United Nations climate conference (COP27) ended on Sunday morning with researchers largely frustrated at the lack of any ambition to phase out fossil fuels.

However, there was one silver lining: delegates from low and middle income countries (LMICs) came away with an agreement on a new ‘loss and damage’ fund to help them cover the costs of climate-change impacts.

The final 10-page summary text, which was agreed on 20 November, says that limiting global warming to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels requires “rapid, deep and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions” by 2030.

But calls to phase out fossil fuels were blocked by oil-producing states, and some delegates struggled to find reasons to be cheerful at the glacial pace of decarbonization. Many blamed the energy crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for a lack of progress on fossil fuels.


Why African Groups Want Agroecology at Centre of Cop27 Climate Adaptation Talks

As the annual world climate conference set to be held next month in Egypt draws closer, civil society groups, scientists, environmentalists, academics and consumers from across Africa are building momentum for agroecology to be placed at the centre of adaptation talks.

The 27 th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – known simply as COP 27 – will take place in November at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

African groups believe that with more than 200 million people undernourished every year in Africa and given the harmful effects of industrial agriculture coupled with slow progress towards food security attributed to climate change, there is a need to change course and adopt a more sus-tainable farming system.

Participants at a three-day conference organised by the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) in partnership with the Consortium for Climate Change Ethiopia and the Environment Protection Authority last month said agroecology was Africa’s surest path to food sovereignty and an essential climate adaptation and mitigation measure.


Halfway to COP27: Are Governments Delivering on Their Climate Promises?

Climate change is the biggest challenge of modern times. Our ‘Climate Ambition Report’ covers insights from our experts across the globe, representing 24 regions. It recalls the promises that were made in the lead up to, and during COP26, to assess the progress which has been made across various jurisdictions – and whether ambitions have been turned into concrete action.

Key findings from the report:

  • Climate change impacts our planet in different ways depending on the region. While extreme weather events are becoming more common globally, some regions are battling droughts and forest fires, while others are suffering from storms and flooding. This means policy, regulatory and legislative responses differ between countries.
  • The EU and UK continue to lead the way on climate ambition, but this does not mean that they are taking sufficient steps to keep global warming below 1.5˚c.


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