Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Southeast Asian Perspectives on Food Sovereignty (A Workshop)

Food is a subject very near and dear to most Filipinos. On 14 and 15 October, it was the focus of a lively and thought-provoking international workshop entitled “Southeast Asian Perspectives on Food Sovereignty,” hosted by the Third World Studies Centre (TWSC) at the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

Food sovereignty is a critical economic, cultural, biological and political issue, at both the national and international levels. It is, as defined in the landmark 2007 Declaration of Nyeleni, “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations. It defends the interests and inclusion of the next generation. It offers a strategy to resist and dismantle the current corporate trade and food regime, and directions for food, farming, pastoral and fisheries systems determined by local producers.”

Among the major food sovereignty concerns in the Philippines is rice., Despite its long history of growing rice in its fertile fields, it is one of the world’s largest importers of rice.

25 participants from the academe, civil society, social and farmers’ movements and local governments examined and debated pressing issues spanning agrarian reform policies, the right to food, land grabbing, biofuels and land conversion, public-private partnership, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and biotechnology, nutrition, farmer’s rights, seed savings and intellectual property rights (IPR), organic production and marketing, global food crisis and economic policies, gender and food sovereignty, and the effects of climate change on food production.

The participants explained the complex and sometimes difficult relationship of government and nongovernment actors in ensuring a country’s food sovereignty. They also emphasized the need for Southeast Asian countries to be self-sufficient in food production. Organic food production was also pushed for, as such will benefit farmers’ ability to independently produce and will result in healthful food. Violence against farmers and cultures by landlords and transnational companies was also highlighted. International trends and regional initiatives for food sovereignty were critiqued.

The workshop was TWSC’s contribution to the celebration of World Food Day. Each year on 16 October, people around the world observe World Food Day to highlight issues behind poverty and hunger. This year’s theme – United against huger – recognizes the efforts made in the fight against world hunger at the national, regional and international levels. World hunger is a growing phenomenon; soaring food prices and the global financial crisis contributed to record numbers of hungry people in 2009, when the number surpassed one billion hungry people for the first time.

The event was co-organized by the TWSC, Southeast Asian Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE) and Transnational Dynamics and Collective Action Research Network (REDTAC) of the University of Montreal, and funded by the University of Montreal and the International Development Research Center Canada.

The full workshop proceedings will be published as part of a special issue of Kasarinlan, the official journal of the TWSC.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Book Launch of Marxism in the Philippines: Continuing Engagements

Third World Studies Center (TWSC) and Anvil Publishing Inc.
October 19, 2010 (Tuesday) 5:00 p.m.
TWSC, Lower Ground Floor, Palma Hall, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City
Open to the Public

"Marxism in The Philiipines: Continuing Engagements: captures more recent articulations and self-articulations on old and new questions in Marxist discourse, based on years of theoretical and/or political engagements by Filipino Marxist scholars and academic observers within and outside the mainstream Left."
- Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem and Laura L. Samson, editors


Maria Ela L. Atienza
Third World Studies Center
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
University of the Philippines-Diliman

5:05-5:20 MESSAGES

Corazon D. Villareal
Research Dissemination and Utilization Office
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Development
University of the Philippines-Diliman

Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem
Department of Political Science
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
University of the Philippines-Diliman
Co-editor, Marxism in the Philippines: Continuing Engagements

Laura L. Samson
Department of Sociology
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
University of the Philippines-Diliman
Co-editor, Marxism in the Philippines: Continuing Engagements

Karina Bolasco
Publishing Manager
Anvil Publishing, Inc.

5:20-5:40 Review of Marxism in the Philippines: Continuing Engagements

Dominique Caouette
Associate Professor
Department of Political Science
University of Montreal


Alice G. Guillermo
Ramon G. Guillermo
Caroline S. Hau
Armando Malay, Jr.
Aida F. Santos
Joseph Scalice
Eduardo C. Tadem
Kathleen Weekley

Aileen S.P. Baviera
Maria Cynthia Rose Banzon Bautista
Edicio dela Torre
Rene Nachura
Aurora Roxas-Lim

Illustration: Anna Fer


Roland G. Simbulan
Department of Social Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences
University of the Philippines-Manila

5:55-Onwards MERIENDA CENA

Master of Ceremonies:

Verna Dinah Q. Viajar
Deputy Director
Third World Studies Center
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
University of the Philippines-Diliman