Joint Statement: 3rd OEIWG session on UN declaration on rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas
- Published on Monday, 30 May 2016 15:46
La Via Campesina, The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Wokers’ Association (IUF), World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFPP), The World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous Peoples (WAMIP), Federation of Rural Adult Catholic Movement (FIMARC), Association Centre Europe-Tiers Monde (CETIM), FIAN International, Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS), CSRC Nepal, PWESCR (Programme on Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) as well as SAFA (South Asian Feminist Alliance for ESCR) and other organisations that we will add afterwards in annex list
To the third session of the open-ended intergovernmental working group (OEIWG) on a United Nations declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas
Geneva, Palais des Nations, Room XX
17-20 May 2016
We are representatives of peasants, indigenous peoples, pastoralists, fishers and rural workers from around the globe, between us representing many millions of rural people, from La Via Campesina along with CETIM, FIAN International and other human rights organizations. We have been constructively engaging this process of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, from the field of pasture, our workplaces around the world and here in Geneva for many years. We strongly welcome the level of constructive support from cross-regions, from Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe. We especially welcome the warm and effective leadership of Chair-rapporteur. It is worth taking note that delegates of UN member states extends their very strong contribution to the process.
- Published on Thursday, 26 May 2016 16:18
(Harare, May 10, 2016) Over the years, Zimbabwe Small Holder Organic Farmers' Forum (ZIMSOFF) has been campaigning against proposed seed laws that are designed to criminalise farmer-saved seed production and exchange. These laws are pushed through economic and political blocs. Blocs initially designed with good intent but are being used to push through unbeneficial schemes by a few but powerful member countries to as many countries as possible, bypassing individual nation legal processes.
Recently such is the case with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in relation to seeds. The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) seek to ease the distribution of commercial registered seeds among member countries, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to enforce the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) under conditions of UPOV1 1991.
Such measures adversely affect the “informal seed systems” – a traditional system where farmers are the keepers and savers of seeds. Over 80% of all seeds in Africa is still produced and exchanged through these “informal” traditional systems.
- Published on Wednesday, 25 May 2016 17:26
At a time where seed markets are dominated by large corporations, it is essential to focus on local peasant seed production. In the seeds sector hybrids are becoming the norm and we face an increased effort to declare genetically modified plants as safe, or to give the impression, with the help of “new breeding techniques”, that we are not talking about genetic engineering at all. Against these developments it is necessary to find possibilities to maintain and increase a peasant seed supply that is locally adapted. Extreme weather due to climate change, such as long lasting droughts, increase the need for locally adapted seeds that can react flexibly in uncertain conditions. Every farmer should have the possibility of a self-determined use of such seeds. Frequently though, the required varieties for the certain location of a farm are not bred, or are not permitted for sale. This is also due to the seeds legislation that contributes to a restriction of available seeds on the market.
- Published on Wednesday, 25 May 2016 17:12
There is a growing crisis facing farms and peasants who work the land around the world. The problem is that peasant farmers are aging and the future of their farms is in jeopardy. It is causing serious concerns about the current state of farm succession.
Globally, the average age of farmers is 60 years,with only slight variations across continents and countries.In Africa the average farmer's age is also 60 despite the fact that 60% of the rest of the population is under twenty-four. In the United States 84% of farmers are over 45 years old, while in Taiwan a massive 92% are over 45 years old. Europe is no exception, with only 7% of farmers under the age of 35, and half of all farmers poised to retire within 10 years.
It is first important to define 'peasants' and to understand how the term differs from the European Union's understanding of 'family farmers.' The EU's definition of 'family farmers' is based on a few factors: the amount of work performed by the family itself, the amount of land, and whether the family owns most of the operation.