Feeding Humanity Sustainably Movement Launch

Humanity Sustainably

Legal foundations for more sustainable food systems

May 25, 2021

Contributing to UN efforts

This international event was part of the run-up to the Food Systems Summit, which will be held by the United Nations (UN) in September 2021. To enrich the discussions at the summit, the UN invited governments and civil society organizations to discuss methods to ensure sustainable, equitable, and safe food for all of humanity.

To this end, the Ag & Food Exception Coalition held this dialogue event and shared the proceedings of the discussions with the UN.

A powerful theme

The members of our Coalition believe that international law must be rebalanced to give governments greater latitude to strengthen their food autonomy and security. This constitutes the theme of the event.

Several high-level stakeholders attended, including the Honourable Liza Frulla, who co-led the initiative to establish the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and today serves as the executive director of the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec; Jean-Louis Rastoin, founder of the UNESCO Chair in World Food Systems; and Geneviève Parent, who holds the Legal Research Chair in Food Diversity and Security from the Université Laval.
Marcel Groleau, Co-President of the Ag & Food Exception Coalition and President of the Union des producteurs agricoles, and Gérald Larose, a social worker, unionist, professor and researcher, concluded the discussion-rich event, which kicked off the Feeding Humanity Sustainably movement.

* The event was held in French only; the talks are available by clicking on the speakers’ names above.


The Feeding Humanity Sustainably Movement

Since the dawn of time, modes of producing and eating food have arisen in all societies in accordance with their environment and culture.

The world’s nations have also invariably understood the value of trading the best they have to offer with other nations, including their agricultural products and food customs.

But in the last few decades, the international legal framework has seen a growing imbalance between the provisions governing free international trade and those created to protect biodiversity, safeguard the environment, and sustain agricultural resources and cultural diversity.

The challenge before us is to restore balance to this international legal framework in order to increase food autonomy and food security in all countries, as well as to relieve pressure on natural resources such as soil and water, all while maintaining the benefits of globalization and commerce.

For all the above reasons, our coalition advocates for the adoption of an international legal instrument that is equivalent to the WTO agreements in both scope and influence. This is the aim of our movement.

The Coalition

Created in 2008, the Ag & Food Exception Coalition defends the idea that food and agri-food products cannot be treated like other industrial goods, and that the countries of the world must be able to determine their level of food autonomy without the risk of reprisal. We use representation, strategic monitoring of studies and other information, and media communications to accomplish our mission and future strategic targets.

At the heart of our actions

In recent years, the Coalition has made advancing this idea our primary mission, specifically through the creation of an international legal instrument, which was proposed by the Legal Research Chair in Food Diversity and Security at Laval University. Currently, our advocacy takes the form of the Feeding Humanity Sustainably movement, a large-scale effort which requires support from as many organizations and personalities as possible to advance our aims nationally and internationally.

Coalition Board of Directors

Marcel Groleau

President of the Union des producteurs agricoles and Co-President of the Coalition

Jean-Paul Faniel

Executive Director of the Table de concertation sur la faim et le développement social du Montréal métropolitain and Co-President of the Coalition

Marie Beaudry

Executive Director of Aliments du Québec

Hugo Beauregard-Langelier

Secretary-General of UPA Développement international

Alexandre Boileau Laviolette

President of the Trade Federation of the Confederation of National Trade Unions

Pierre Alexandre Blouin

CEO of the Association des détaillants en alimentation du Québec

Jean-Pierre Denis

Chair of the Board of Directors of the Fondation Monique-Fitz-Back for sustainable development education

Anne Dionne

Second Vice-President of the Centrale des syndicats du Québec

Simone Fournier

Development and Peace ‒ Caritas Canada

Sylvain Lapierre

Second Vice-President of the Fédération des producteurs d’œufs du Québec

Gérald Larose

Groupe d’économie solidaire du Québec and Caisse d’économie solidaire


The Coalition brings together some 60 member organizations with a combined membership of no less than 7,958,000.

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