Slow Food at the IFAD Governing Council: “Agroecological food systems guarantee food security to Indigenous Peoples”

08 Feb 2023

Slow Food at the IFAD Governing Council: “Agroecological food systems guarantee food security to Indigenous Peoples”

Accelerating Action for Food Security is the theme of the 46th Governing Council meeting, IFAD’s main decision-making body, in Rome (Italy) on February 14 and 15. Slow Food will be present to reiterate its position: The world needs a change of course towards agroecological practices if we are to guarantee food security, food sovereignty, and access to sustainable food for all.


“Local, biodiverse, agroecological food systems are the answer; as indigenous peoples have been practicing for hundreds of years,” comments Dalì Nolasco Cruz, a Nahua indigenous woman from Tlaola Puebla, Mexico, and Slow Food Board member. “Indigenous Peoples are custodians of an extraordinary biodiversity and cultural and nutritional knowledge, all of which is now threatened by land grabbing, climate change as well as by a lack of opportunities and cultural homogenization. Young people, women and Indigenous Peoples continue to be victims of this, or else they are treated as criminals when they protect their lands, and when they defend good, clean and fair food systems. We need policies that guarantee the individual and collective rights of Indigenous Peoples, that value the diversity of communities, protect their lands and encourage young people not to abandon their territories.”

The Slow Food Indigenous Peoples’ network works to defend the rights of indigenous people to control their land, grow food, breed livestock, hunt, fish, and gather according to their own needs and decisions.

As an Indigenous youth entrepreneur, Nolasco Cruz will share her views and experiences on February 15 during a session dedicated to Youth and agriculture: Accelerating a Just Transition towards food security. On February 14 Tunda Lepore, Maasai woman, Slow Food Councilor for Indigenous Peoples and member of IFAD Indigenous Peoples Forum Steering Committee, will share the Synthesis of Deliberations from the Indigenous People Forum at IFAD: “Indigenous people’s knowledge and expertise are key to overcoming many of our current Global Issues”, she commented.

Tunda will also be speaking at the IFAD Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on February 9, when she will report findings and recommendations shared by African Indigenous Peoples during regional and sub-regional meetings held in 2022, while on February 10 she will chair a Parallel regional session on Strengthening the engagement of Indigenous Peoples with IFAD at the country and regional levels.

The FAO headquarters will also host a sound exhibition co-created by Slow Food Youth Network and the composer Alan Ahued Naime and designed by Francesco Sileo, an interactive pantry where people can listen to voices from youth in the Slow Food network. The stories recorded focus on the main themes of the General Council and represent different regions of the world, and thus different perspectives on food security. 

“The three products under the spotlight are coffee, honey and corn. The story of Elvia Villani Catalán and her indigenous Slow Food Community “Guardianes de bosques cafetaleros comestibles”, in Guerrero, Mexico, will showcase how important coffee ecosystems are for the local ecosystem, while Ysabel Calderon Carlos, SFYN beekeeper of stingless bees in the Peruvian jungle, will draw attention on pollinators and their relevance for world food security. Finally, with Ruth Gutierrez, the public will dive into the paradoxes of GMO corn, the industrialization of corn products and the beauty of corn biodiversity. By creating an installation like this, we bring the rural voices of youth to the beating heart of IFAD”, explains Jorrit Kiewik, Slow Food Youth Network executive director and Slow Food Board member

The IFAD Governing Council will follow the sixth global meeting of IFAD’s Indigenous Peoples’ Forum, taking place on February 9, 10 and 13 in Rome, which focuses on Indigenous Peoples’ Climate Leadership: Community-based solutions to enhance resilience and biodiversity.  The Forum is a platform for meaningful dialogue where Indigenous Peoples’ can convey their concerns, requests and recommendations to improve the partnership with IFAD and the effectiveness of its engagement with Indigenous Peoples. Slow Food supports the global Indigenous Peoples movement and advocates for the full recognition and implementation of the rights and principles contained in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including their self-determination over their food systems.


IFAD and Slow Food share a vision of small-scale agriculture as a crucial source of income and nutrition for rural communities, and a driver of rural economic growth. Since 2009, the partnership between IFAD and Slow Food has contributed to innovative grassroots projects that enhance local value chains for traditional foods, as well as the development of an Indigenous Peoples’ network involving thousands of people in 86 countries. Currently, this partnership is implementing a new project aimed at advancing food system transformation by promoting the centrality of agroecological food systems and the invaluable knowledge of Indigenous Peoples in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia and Pacific Regions.

Pictures of Dalì Nolasco Cruz are available here

Pictures of Tunda Lepore are available here

More on the IFAD Governing Council here

More on the IFAD Food Summit here



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