(Bagnolet, 09 August 2023) The global peasant movement La Vía Campesina is convening its 8th International Conference in Bogotá, Colombia, from 1 to 8 December 2023, under the slogan “Faced with global crises, we build food sovereignty to ensure a future for humanity”.
The International Conferences serve as the most important collective decision-making, analysis, evaluation and planning space for the 182 national organisations articulated by regions around the world, representing the landless, women, rural workers, migrants, fishermen, pastoralists, indigenous peoples and diversities in 82 countries in Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia, at national, regional and continental levels.
During these international conferences, attended by almost 500 delegates from 10 different regions, different issues affecting the diversity of rural areas are discussed and analysed as a whole. It is here that La Via Campesina defines, updates and refines its strategic lines of action, as well as examining and ratifying new member organisations, discussing internal functioning and launching new campaigns.
In the 30 years that La Vía Campesina has been organising, seven international conferences have taken place. The first was held in Mons, Belgium, in 1993, where for the first time the strength and solidarity of peasant struggles from the global North and South were successfully united, proposing food sovereignty as a concrete defence of peasant agriculture against agribusiness.
During the 1996 conference in Mexico, the movement gave a strong response against free trade agreements and the World Trade Organisation. At the conference in India in 2000, the role and political participation of women was realised when the first International Women’s Assembly was celebrated, sowing the seeds of peasant and popular feminism. At the 2004 conference in Brazil, the African continent joined La Via Campesina, organising itself into two regions. Africa brought a diversity of struggles and forms of organisation, strengthening the struggle for environmental justice and against extractivism, colonialism and racism.
At the Mozambique conference in 2008, we launched the International Campaign – ‘Stop Violence Against Women’ – as a pedagogical tool within our organisations and also to dialogue with societies in our struggle against patriarchy and all forms of violence.
This campaign has been adopted by the whole movement. In 2013, in Indonesia, the conference highlighted the broad participation of youth in different tasks and structures within the movement. In 2017, in Derio, for the first time, a group of 50 delegates from our member organisations met alongside the conference to discuss sexual and gender diversity.
In 2023, we will officially launch our tenth region, the Arab and North African Region (ARNA), bringing together different organisations from Palestine, Morocco and Tunisia to highlight the struggles of Arab peoples resisting contexts of war and hunger.
As part of the 8th International Conference, the V Youth Assembly and the VI International Women’s Assembly will be held. These are important spaces for debate, exchange, training and for the construction of common strategies of resistance. The role of women and youth has been vital for a movement with 30 years of history, it has strengthened it and has brought important challenges as well.
La Via Campesina is today a key movement in the struggle for public policies that recognize peasants as subjects of rights and the importance of Food Sovereignty, agrarian reform, peasant agroecological production, peasant seed systems and peasant and popular feminism. These pillars are in line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP), recognised in 2018, which is a major achievement resulting from the struggles and organisation of the peasant movement.
After the pandemic, La Via Campesina reaffirms food sovereignty as the only real alternative to hunger, wars, climate and health crises.T oday more than ever we emphasize the importance of recognizing the peasantry and all its diversity as a subject of rights and transformations. Their role is crucial in societies striving for social and climate justice in their territories, providing healthy and accessible food for the working class. We believe that it is possible to live with dignity in rural areas by cultivating humanistic values, healing and caring for the land, and fighting to put life before profit.
Our conference is a living space, from communication and training, we seek to create dialogues, meetings, debates and build collective proposals.
Help us to make visible the national, regional and international process to reach our Conference in Bogota, Colombia. Use these materials with your organizations, in assemblies, mobilizations, trainings, with our militants and allies. We encourage you to translate the official poster into your local language, use our blank version to adapt it!
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