Food sovereignty, as a concept, was developed in 1993 in reaction against the imminent WTO agreement that could discriminate against smaller-scale and more organic food producers, who provide the world with most of its food. The Spanish term Soberanía Alimentaria (Food Sovereignty in English) that means ‘having control over the food system’.
It was launched in Rome at the time of FAO’s 1996 World Food Summit and immediately gained traction, especially among those who campaigned to get the WTO out of Agriculture. In 1992, the Right to Food was included as a key element of Food Sovereignty. The ‘concept’ was transformed into a clear ‘framework’ at a landmark international meeting in Mali: Nyéléni 2007: forum for food sovereignty, which included the participation of 500 representatives from food producer, consumer and environmental movements.
At Nyéléni 2007, in addition to adopting a broad definition, 6 pillars of food sovereignty were agreed. These clarify what the movement stands for and what it opposes. The outcome is a grassroots movement in every corner of the world that defends an environmentally sound, biodiverse and nutritious food system for both rural and urban peoples.