The following statements were taken from the IPC web site and quoted without editing. There is much more informaion on the IPC web site, and I have only quoted it in part to illustrate some of the points that I consider to be significant.
What is Food Sovereignty ?
"Food Sovereignty is the RIGHT of peoples, communities, and countries to define their own agricultural, labour, fishing, food and land policies which are ecologically, socially, economically and culturally appropriate to their unique circumstances. It includes the true right to food and to produce food, which means that all people have the right to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food and to food-producing resources and the ability to sustain themselves and their societies."
What is IPC ?
"The IPC is a global network of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Social Movements concerned with food sovereignty issues and programs. It includes social organizations representing small-scale farmers, fisher folk, indigenous peoples, pastoralists, agricultural workers' trade unions; sub-regional/regional CSOs which act as regional focal points; CSOs and networks with particular expertise in lobbying and advocacy which act as thematic focal points.
"The IPC serves as a facilitation mechanism for the dialogue between Social movements/CSOs and the UN agencies dealing with food and agriculture. In particular, the IPC facilitated the participation of CSOs to the World Food Summit, the World Food Summit: five years later and the International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development"
WHO WE ARE
"The International NGO/CSO Planning Committee - IPC is a global network of NGOs/CSOs concerned with food sovereignty issues and programs. It includes social organizations representing small farmers, fisher folk, indigenous peoples, agricultural workers' trade unions; sub-regional/regional NGOs/CSOs which act as regional focal points; and NGO networks with particular expertise and a long history of lobbying and action and advocacy on issues related to food sovereignty and agriculture, which act as thematic focal points.
"Many of these civil society actors have been engaged in global networking on these issues since the time of the NGO Forum organized in parallel to the World Food Summit (WFS) of 1996. The WFS was the most important international conference on the '90s focusing specifically on food security and, as such, it gave expression to one of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), which now provide a basis for the international community's development agenda.
"Thanks to a process which has developed over the past seven years, these NGOs/CSOs have increasingly achieved an effective presence in the work of relevant international organizations on a platform of food sovereignty, right to food, and food sovereignty. The two NGO/CSO Fora organized in Rome in 1996 and 2002 in parallel to the WFS and the WFS:fyl, based on the principles of civil society self-organization and autonomy, have made a particularly important contribution to strengthening civil society networking and impact.
"The process of organization for the 2002 Forum, which benefited from the support of the FAO, involved thematic reflection and decentralized discussions at national and regional levels over a period of two and a half years. It has led to the development of an innovative mechanism for interaction on issues of food sovereignty between the NGOs/CSOs and social movements, on the one hand, and, on the other, governments and international institutions. Particular attention has been given to FAO initially. This was due to need to mobilize for the WFS:fyl and in view of FAO's role within the UN system as focal point for food sovereignty in the follow-up to the WFS and the implementation of the MDGs.
"Other international organizations targeted in the recommendations of the 2002 NGO/CSO Forum for Food Sovereignty include IFAD, WFP, the World Bank and the WTO. At the same time, the decentralized process of debate over many months which culminated in the Forum helped NGOs/CSOs to engage - often for the first time - in debate on food sovereignty issues with their governments at national, sub-regional and regional levels.
"The IPC is not a centralized structure claiming to represent its members. Instead, its legitimacy is based on its ability to bring to the attention of its interlocutors the concerns and the battles which a broad diversity of civil society organizations are conducting daily in their field work and their advocacy at local, regional and global levels. It serves as a mechanism for diffusion of information and training on issues regarding food sovereignty and food sovereignty. It promotes fora in which NGOs/CSOs and social movements involved in food and agriculture issues can debate, articulate their positions and build their relationships at national, regional and global levels. It reinforces the effectiveness of civil society lobbying by strengthening their capacities for analysis and alliances. It facilitates dialogue and debate between civil society actors, governments and other stakeholders at all levels."
Visit the IPC site for more information.