Declaration of the 3rd International Youth Assembly of the Via Campesina

(June 8 and 9, 2013 – Jakarta, Indonesia ) We are young peasants, members of the Via Campesina, people with different cultures and languages from over seventy countries in five continents, who are in Jakarta, Indonesia, to celebrate the 3rd International Youth Assembly and the 20th anniversary of the Via Campesina.

As young peasants, we are the present and the future of sustainable agriculture, which can sustain the world and cool Mother Earth. Having analysed and reflected generally on the global political and economic situation, we would like to express our deep concern about the current development crisis, which is causing many impoverished and marginalised communities to be expropriated of the territory, land, water and forest goods on which they depend for their livelihood. There has been an increase in the number of forced displacements and evictions of young peasants, and an increase in hunger and poverty.

For this reason, to restore the dignity of peasants and agriculture itself, and to encourage a holistic concept of food sovereignty through agro-ecology, we, as young peasants, will continue to fight against:

  • Neoliberalism, capitalism and imperialism, which divide peoples and prevent them from uniting to rebel, while their sovereignty as peoples and nations is being destroyed. A patriarchy that oppresses women and the independence of young people.
  • Industrial agriculture and land grabbing directed by multinational corporations and local and national government, which destroys ways of life and the cultural heritage of peasants, also causing the forced displacement of young peasants in rural areas. 
  • All types of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) including Transnational Partnership Agreements (TPAs), Economic Association Agreements and agricultural policies imposed by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB). These agreements destroy the agricultural base that provides local communities with secure, healthy and culturally appropriate food, and they violate peoples’ right to plan and control their food systems.
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and patents on seeds, species and biological diversity.
  • Privatisation of natural goods such as territory, land, woods and water, which causes forced displacement of peasants and original peoples, endangering their livelihoods.

We demand that states and governments recognise, comply with and regulate food sovereignty in the constitutions of all countries as a basic human right. We also demand that the organisations and authorities that are involved and have responsibility take the following action:

  • Put food sovereignty into practice by implementing holistic agrarian reform, and broad-based agroecological reform in the area of fishing and silviculture, to ensure equal access to natural goods for young people, particularly young women.
  • End land grabbing and conversion in the name of development following the “Green Economy” model of agricultural food production, and production of bio fuels and monocultures that are structural causes of climate change and the energy crisis.
  • Protect and promote traditional seeds and the knowledge and wisdom of our peasant communities.
  • Promote a model that favours people, led by peasants and in accordance with the agroecological and indigenous model.
  • Ensure market access for poor and marginalised people and a fair price for their products, keeping the WTO out of agriculture.
  • Ensure that young people have access to a secure future, both in rural and urban areas, also promoting sustainable job opportunities for young people to reduce migration to urban areas.
  • Stop criminalisation of protest, repression of social movements, murder and extermination of young peasants, while respecting human rights and those who defend them. They must also condemn militarisation, which is worsening living conditions for the poor in our regions, and establish an education system that supports young people who want to be peasants.
  • Dedicate a greater proportion of the budget to agricultural sectors to support young people in production, and education and access to technology in rural areas.
  • Provide a space for representation of young people in leadership and create a suitable environment to empower and support them, so they can show that young people can bring about change in agriculture.

In addition to these demands, we also make the following commitments: 

  • We will create solidarity between regions that put alternative models into practice in opposition to the neoliberal model, in accordance with the principles of complementarity and cooperation to overcome social inequality.
  • We will set up an accessible political group for young people and practical people’s education on peasant and ecological agriculture.
  • We will promote communication between young people from different organisations and creation and strengthening of people’s alternative communication networks that will be political, creative and transformative.
  • We will strengthen the coordination of young people’s activities at a regional and global level.
  • Political participation and training for young people in organisations and genuine prominence.
  • We will coordinate political, social and cultural alliances and relations between young people from rural and urban areas around the world for social change and transformation.
  • We will create and strengthen spaces for political and technical training in the area of agroecological production and local markets with social justice.
  • We will show solidarity with all peoples who are involved in resistance and struggles for their right to life and their freedom anywhere in the world.

The Youth of the Via Campesina will fight for Food Sovereignty!