Call To Participate In Rally Landless Peoples Movement In South Africa

Johannesburg, 29-8-2002
Via Campesina calls for participation in the march on 31st of August organised by LPM
No sustainability without acces to land, water and seeds!

Via Campesina reminds the United Nations and the governments the importance of creating a really democratic debate. Without respect for Human Rights, worker, peasant and farmer rights there is no sustainability. At present small farmers from all over the world are imprisoned for having defended their rights to have access to land, water and seeds. What is Sustainable Agriculture? Food and agricultural production can only be qualified as "sustainable" if following conditions are fulfilled:
 Possibilities of maintaining a production that will allow peasants to live without using up all of their natural resources (land, water, etc…) producing food for society.  Agricultural production is rooted in local peoples’ knowledge, experiences and cultures. These have to be respected.  Access and control of means of production: land, seeds, water, tools, fertilizers, credit and others.  Access and control of commercialization especially on local, regional markets.  Respect for peoples food sovereignty, the right of the peoples to produce and consume their own food.  Solidarity between peasants (alliances) and the rest of civil society (cooperation).  Access to education, health and other services.

What do we expect from the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD)?  Estableshment of policies that allow farmers to produce in a sustainable way and establish fair prices for farmers. This includes access to productive resources to sustain the livelihoods of those who are marginalized and unable to live in a dignified way,  Assure a frame work for fair trade on the national and international.  The level that contributes to sustainable production and consumption.  WSSD should challenge the dominant model of export-led, industrial agricultural production, develop policies to stop its desastrous impacts on the environment and define a real program for farmer based sustainable agriculture. It is unacceptable the the Doha agenda is defining the result of the WSSD instead of the WSSD putting clear limits to WTO,  A ban on the use of patents, Intelectual Property Rights (IPR’s), GURTS (technology to produce dead, sterile seeds) and the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) in agricultural production.

What is actually happening?  The WSSD is used to implement the Doha agenda. World Trade Organisation (WTO) however should go out of agriculture and submit itself to the WSSD outcome instead of the other way around,  Behind the language of "sustainability" and the "strengthening of the capacity of women, indigenous and small farmers" a corporate take over is allowed in water, seeds, basic services, education, …..  The World Bank tries to get its concept of market assisted landreform accepted, channelling it through a so called "Multi Stakeholder Dialogue" where the real stake holders (women, indigenous people, fisher folk, small farmers and peasants) are totally marginalized.

We cannot accept this WSSD process because:

  • There seems to be no political will to work towards a real sustainable use of natural resources
  • It serves for the Multinationals and industrial interests to legitimize their take over, selling it as "sustainable development", 
  • The political and economic marginalisation of the real stake holders is reinforced, 
  • This Summit is used to "sell" genetic engineering and neo-liberal policies as a contribution to sustainable use of natural resources allthough the opposite was the result so far.

Via Campesina calls upon the internacional social movements to participate in the march organised by LPM (Landless Peoples’ Movement) on August 31, 2002.

Let’s globalise the struggle, let’s globalise hope!

To contact the Via Campesina delegation in Johannesburg: Cell phone: +27-72-521 8218 Address: Lutheran Centre, 833 Central Western Jabavu, Soweto, tel: +27-11-930 3551, fax: +27-11-930 3569. Contact point during the events: "Via Campesina tent" at "Shareworld".

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