Farmers Condemn the Durban Platform: Sustainable peasant agriculture is the genuine solution to climate change

La Via Campesina press release on Durban

(Jakarta, 16 December 2011) La Via Campesina, the global movement of peasants, small-scale and agricultural family farmers, denounces the attempts of the largest carbon emitters to further escape their historic responsibility to make real emission cuts and push for more false and market based solutions to the climate crisis. This Durban Platform, the latest climate deal struck at the UNFCCC 17th Conference of Parties in Durban, allows the polluters to get away with even more polluting while securing their market mechanisms.

The UNFCCC has hailed the Durban Platform as a breakthrough and a way forward in the fight against climate change. But what is there to hail as closer inspection shows that there are no commitments for real emission cuts from the developed countries. Others have said this was a success as it saved the Kyoto Protocol but in fact, the only thing that was saved are the market mechanisms of the Protocol. The second commitment period was not agreed and in fact postponed to next year but all the while, secured that market mechanisms would continue to be operational. The Green Climate Fund, which will be controlled by the World Bank if ever funded by industrialized countries (clearly unconcerned about their historical debt with the global south), is likely to be a source of financing false solutions in the most impacted countries.


Most disturbing of all from Durban is the opening of the doors for agriculture to be included in the carbon markets. Agriculture, which has since recently, not been included in the negotiations, will now be discussed in subsequent negotiations and the writing on the wall tells us that these would be the initial steps for agriculture to be included in carbon markets. The proliferation of side events on “climate smart agriculture” promoted by the agro-industry showed the high agribusiness interest to tap this new bonanza. La Via Campesina strongly denounces this move and reiterates its call to keep agriculture out of carbon markets as agriculture should not be treated as a mere carbon sink and that carbon accounting should not determine agricultural policy.

Peasant based agro-ecological agriculture, what La Via Campesina continues to promote and practice through its members in several countries around the world, is the best way to cool down the planet. La Via Campesina promotes peasant agriculture

as the way to feed people with healthy food and at the same time to guarantee a balance in the ecosystem and the farms. The logic of carbon markets and trading run counter to the system of agroecology and should not be allowed to enter into agriculture.

We are now at the worst moment for agriculture, small farmers and for nature. The impacts of climate change are steadily worsening, leading to harvest failures, destruction of habitats and homes, hunger and famine and loss of lives. The future of humanity and the planet is in critical danger and if these false solutions push through, it will be a catastrophe for nature, future generations and the whole planet.

Now, more than ever, it is even more urgent for the demands and proposals from the Cochabamba people’s agreement to be pushed forward.

Read our declaration: La Via Campesina Declaration in Durban

See video coverage in English, in the following links:

Elizabet Mpofu: Not One Step Back

Chavannes Jean-Baptiste: Agribusiness is the Problem

La Via Campesina takes part in the Global Day of Action

Thousands March at U.N. Climate Summit in Durban to Demand Climate Justice

Vea vídeos sobre La Vía Campesina en Durban, en español/portugués:

Vídeo: Campesinos llegan a Durban a reclamar por cambio climático

Alberto Gomez en Durban: Tenemos que estar

A Via Campesina no Dia de Ação Global pela Justiça Climática