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Statement by Dr Vandana Shiva

The ongoing attempt by large economic and political interest groups to occupy democratic spaces must be stopped. The Food Summit and the G20 have become opportunities for corporations to assert their power over both our lives and that of the planet. The attempt to include my participation in the G20 Women’s Forum for Economy and Society in Rome is yet another episode of how equivocal and alienating the official narrative can be.

The participation of entities such as Bayer-Monsanto and Microsoft amongst others, companies against whom I have been fighting for a lifetime, is a grotesque representation of how far political figures are from the interests of the people, the interests of women, the interests of the entire planet.

I have dedicated over 40 years of my life defending women and small farmers around the world, and their rights to seed and food sovereignty and livelihoods. In Seattle in 1999 with Diverse Women for Diversity we issued a declaration to the WTO, denouncing the corporate assault on our seed, food, health and democracy, as well as how the paradigm of ‘growth’ of the globalised economy and finance only measures what is commodified and traded, not the work and role of women in nourishing and taking care of families, communities and the Earth.

In the last few years corporations and billionaires are hijacking international platforms, including the UN (e.g. the Food Systems Summit), and international platforms like G20, which was created after the 2008 financial disaster.

Now financial corporations such as Black Rock, Vanguard and the big tech billionaires are driving false solutions which are anti nature, anti women, anti small farmers, anti women, anti democracy. How can people involved in the very companies which created our health, ecological, and climate crisis be in any way qualified to sell us back the ‘solution’?

Obviously not aware of the history of my many years of militancy, the organizers of the Women’s Forum for Economy and Society have sought to associate my image and my work in a context that does not belong to me, an event on women without associations and without feminists, and partners that have nothing to do with social and environmental equity that we claim. It is not a question here of exploiting Vandana Shiva, but of exploiting the women themselves and the entire ecofeminist movement. While warning the organizers not to use my name and that of my organization any further, I invite them to listen to the voices of all those who have been excluded from democratic decision-making processes that affect their lives, their health, their planet who have shown the true ecological path we need to walk on. The voices of Women telling corporations to take their hands off our seeds, our food, our knowledge, our commons has been loud and clear.

Another world is growing where women are leading the way to regenerate biodiversity, seed freedom, food freedom, local living economies and local living democracies. We are either going to have a future where women lead the way to make peace with the Earth or we are not going to have a human future at all.

The hijack of the G20 and the UN Food Systems Summit increases our resolve to protect the planet and the future of humanity. We will not be stopped because we love the earth, we love our children, and we stand united to protect the rights of Mother Earth and Future generations.