Via Campesina English https://viacampesina.org/en International Peasant's Movement Tue, 22 Sep 2020 07:15:44 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 Open letter to the EC: Strengthen EU GMO policy to achieve EU Green Deal objectives https://viacampesina.org/en/open-letter-to-the-ec-strengthen-eu-gmo-policy-to-achieve-eu-green-deal-objectives/ Tue, 22 Sep 2020 07:15:34 +0000 https://viacampesina.org/en/?p=10733 Brussels, September 17, 2020 The European Coordination Via Campesina is among the 88 civil society and farmers organisations from across Europe that today are demanding to the EU health and food safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides to keep new GMOs regulated, in an open letter available here The controversial new generation of food genetic engineering techniques... Read more →

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Brussels, September 17, 2020

The European Coordination Via Campesina is among the 88 civil society and farmers organisations from across Europe that today are demanding to the EU health and food safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides to keep new GMOs regulated, in an open letter available here

The controversial new generation of food genetic engineering techniques should be subject to EU safety checks and consumer labelling, according to an EU Court of Justice ruling, but our organisations complain the European Commission is not implementing this ruling.

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Joint Declaration: Europe’s family farmers call for a rejection of the EU-Mercosur Agreement https://viacampesina.org/en/joint-declaration-europes-family-farmers-call-for-a-rejection-of-the-eu-mercosur-agreement/ Tue, 22 Sep 2020 07:09:58 +0000 https://viacampesina.org/en/?p=10730 Brussels: September 18, 2020 Joint press release on the informal EU Trade Council, 20-21 September Europe’s family farmers call for a rejection of the EU-Mercosur Agreement: Not just corrections, but a new orientation. We need a trade policy that ensures fair, cost-covering prices, protects the environment, and upholds human rights. In a joint Declaration by... Read more →

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Brussels: September 18, 2020

Joint press release on the informal EU Trade Council, 20-21 September

Europe’s family farmers call for a rejection of the EU-Mercosur Agreement: Not just corrections, but a new orientation. We need a trade policy that ensures fair, cost-covering prices, protects the environment, and upholds human rights.

In a joint Declaration by European Farmers, 43 farmer organisations in 14 countries – Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, España, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands,  Norway, Portugal, Switzerland – as well as the umbrella organisations European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC), the European Milk Board (EMB) and Biodynamic Federation – Demeter International call on their respective governments to reject the EU-Mercosur Agreement.

This Free Trade Agreement is being contested in some Member States at national level. Clear criticisms have been voiced by Austria, Netherlands, France, Ireland and Belgium. Germany, who currently holds the Council Presidency, announced that it wishes to make progress on the ratification of the EU-Mercosur Agreement, even though Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel has recently expressed concerns about the Agreement. The fear is that Germany will accommodate the critical countries with small corrections and push them toward ratification.

European farmers call on their governments to reject the EU-Mercosur Agreement. As Andoni García Arriola, member of the coordinating Committee of the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) puts it:

“With the EU-Mercosur Agreement, imports of products like meat, sugar and soya from the Mercosur countries are set to increase, which, in turn, will encourage them to adopt a strongly export-oriented, even more industrial production model. The Amazon forest, which is integral to worldwide climate protection and biodiversity, must remain safe from this system. Human rights violations are also a factor that cannot be ignored in the context of such developments. At the same time, family farms in Europe are faced with major challenges to produce foodstuffs that uphold stricter environmental and animal welfare standards, which implies higher production costs. Increased, non-equivalent imports from the Mercosur countries exert an additional price pressure on Europe’s family farms. This trade policy and these unmatched production, environmental and social standards that favour the agro-industry are simply speeding up the disappearance of small-scale farms on either side of the Atlantic.”

The farmers call for a trade policy that promotes fair, cost-covering producer prices across the world, environmental protection, biodiversity and animal welfare, human rights, small-scale farming, regional foodstuffs, the preservation and further development of European standards, and fair working conditions.

Click here to read the joint declaration

Press contact:

Andoni Garcia Arriola (ECVC): +34 636 4515 69 – ES, EUZ

Ivan Mammana (ECVC): +32 (0)2  217 311 – EN, FR, IT, ES;  info@eurovia.org

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India: Here’s Why Farmers Are Protesting the 3 New Agriculture Ordinances https://viacampesina.org/en/india-heres-why-farmers-are-protesting-the-3-new-agriculture-ordinances/ Fri, 18 Sep 2020 06:28:38 +0000 https://viacampesina.org/en/?p=10708 On 10 September, Haryana’s Kurukshetra saw a massive farmers’ protest against the three new agriculture ordinances, passed on 5 June by the Government of India. The farmers, in protest, blocked the National Highway at Pipli in Kurukshetra. Bharatiya Kisan Union, along with other farmer organisations, came out to protest against the ordinances. They were, however,... Read more →

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On 10 September, Haryana’s Kurukshetra saw a massive farmers’ protest against the three new agriculture ordinances, passed on 5 June by the Government of India. The farmers, in protest, blocked the National Highway at Pipli in Kurukshetra.

Bharatiya Kisan Union, along with other farmer organisations, came out to protest against the ordinances. They were, however, subsequently lathi-charged by the police. Images of the cops thrashing the protesting farmers have since flooded social media.

Read the full article on The Quint.

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Land, agroecology & peasant identity: The experience of young people in Nicaragua https://viacampesina.org/en/land-agroecology-peasant-identity-the-experience-of-young-people-in-nicaragua/ Fri, 18 Sep 2020 06:24:25 +0000 https://viacampesina.org/en/?p=10704 The IALAs (Latin American Institute of Agroecology) are an initiative of global peasant movement La Via Campesina to train young people in the principles and practices of agroecology. In this video we learn more about the experiences of graduates from IALA Ixim Ulew in Nicaragua through the eyes of Migdalia Cruz, a young woman from... Read more →

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The IALAs (Latin American Institute of Agroecology) are an initiative of global peasant movement La Via Campesina to train young people in the principles and practices of agroecology.

In this video we learn more about the experiences of graduates from IALA Ixim Ulew in Nicaragua through the eyes of Migdalia Cruz, a young woman from Jinotega, a coffee growing department in northern Nicaragua. Migdalia is a member of the grassroots organization ATC (Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo, or Rural Workers’ Association).

Webinar: Land, agroecology & peasant identity: The experience of young people in Nicaragua

Wednesday 23 September

11.30am – 1pm Nicaragua time, 10.30am – 12pm US Pacific, 1.30pm – 3pm US Eastern, 6.30pm – 8pm UK time

This video and webinar series are part of a collaboration between the Friends of the ATC and Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign.

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Opinion: Agrarian Reform today and the challenges we face https://viacampesina.org/en/opinion-agrarian-reform-today-and-the-challenges-we-face/ Fri, 18 Sep 2020 06:19:21 +0000 https://viacampesina.org/en/?p=10702 This article reflects the discussions and debates that took place during a virtual study session hosted by La Via Campesina for its members and allies, as part of its efforts to build a constructive narrative around food sovereignty. This session, among many others, is part of a series of discussions and deliberations that the global... Read more →

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This article reflects the discussions and debates that took place during a virtual study session hosted by La Via Campesina for its members and allies, as part of its efforts to build a constructive narrative around food sovereignty. This session, among many others, is part of a series of discussions and deliberations that the global movement is holding as part of its international call to sow the seeds of struggle and harvest transformative ideas. (#TimeToTransform).

Joao Pedro Stedile, member of the MST, Landless Rural Workers Movement, of Brazil, was the main speaker at this “Second Study Session on the Agrarian Issues”. During which, he analysed the relevance of Agrarian Reform in the ongoing struggles for Food Sovereignty and Agroecology.

To begin with, Stedile acknowledged that one study session might not be enough to understand the numerous and diverse national campaigns for agrarian reforms that are underway around the world. He presented some elements that characterised and unified the member organisations of La Via Campesina.

Citing Latin American context as an example, Stedile commented that the entire southern hemisphere is currently involved in a conflict centred on agriculture, nature and agricultural production. This conflict has three aspects to consider; (1) the latifundio-minifundio system of land distribution and tenure (2) the role of agroindustry or agribusiness (3) and the alternatives proposed by La Via Campesina.

The latifundio-minifundio system of land distribution and tenure:

This dualistic tenure system is characterised by relatively few large commercial estates known as latifundios, which are over 500 hectares and numerous small properties known as minifundios, which are under 5 hectares. Minifundios are mainly subsistence-oriented smallholdings and are generally farmed by peasant households. In Brazil, for example, the land available for land reform and thus suitable for occupation had shifted dramatically in previous years as a result of the recent waves of capitalisation of agribusiness. For example, large unproductive landholdings or ‘latifundios ‘— once the main target of peasant ire and land occupations — had largely become productive agribusiness export platforms.

Stedile, in his presentation, explained how this system is an attempt by Global Capital to take ownership of the natural goods in rural areas and countrysides. These actions, he argued, are what had previously described for Europe as primitive accumulation (Marx, Capital, Volume 1). Primitive accumulation, in the words of David Harvey, “entailed taking land, say, enclosing it, and expelling a resident population to create a landless proletariat, and then releasing the land into the privatised mainstream of capital accumulation”. Stedile also cited that in the twentieth century, Rosa Luxemburg described how primitive accumulation was an element of colonial capitalism that imposed itself in Asia, Africa, Latin America, where this accumulation and appropriation of natural goods once again took place.

For example, in Brazil, when Nestle concentrates milk and dairy products, their yearly profit rate is of 13%. But when Nestle appropriates drinkable water, just like Coca Cola or Pepsi, the profit rate reaches 400%. There is immense greed to take ownership of water, today worth as much as gold; it is a finite resource they want to own and distribute worldwide. And that is the end goal of this project.

Contradictions in the Agroindustry and Agribusiness :

The Agroindustry or Agribusiness model.

This is a highly concentrated model with very few companies, perhaps between 50 and 60 engaged in large agricultural operations, always attempting to expand its production units. Brazil, for instance, is the largest world producer of soy and cotton, part of a consortium with 500,000 hectares. The intensive use of toxic agrochemicals marks this model. Why apply toxic agrochemicals so intensively? Because these chemicals replace the workforce. Large landholdings do not want agricultural workers, so they replace them with the poison that destroys all biodiversity.

Agroindustry is constantly pushing peasants from their lands. There is no ‘University of Agroecology’ able to measure precisely how much toxic agrochemicals are used per hectare.

Another issue is that they use genetically modified seeds as a way of dominating and concentrating seeds. “Here in Brazil, before agribusiness, we used to have 40 different varieties of soy developed in each region. Now we have two or three varieties, under the control of Monsanto and Bayer. Even if they were honest and called it poison, Roundup Soy -named as such because it is resistant to Monsanto’s glyphosate called Roundup- genetically modified seeds do not increase productivity. Their only value is being able to adapt to agrochemicals.

Finally, this is a model based on the production of commodities for the market. And the contradiction in this model lies in the fact that they claim to produce food for the world, but that is a lie, what they produce is commodities. They don’t even call them ‘basic products’, they call them ‘agricultural products’, products that are standardised worldwide. Soy is the same all over the world. Milk isn’t the same worldwide, and they’ve created powdered milk and turned it into a commodity so that it may be the same, everywhere in the world.”

Key Features of Our Project – La Via Campesina

The peasant project is very diverse. Some call it Family Agriculture or Peasant Agriculture, Popular Agrarian Reform, Comprehensive Agrarian Reform, Sustainable Agriculture Development Project; all of these are different labels of the same project.

Features:

It is a model that relies on the family or household workforce. Its primary function is to produce food for the family or household, and the surplus is sold in the market – local markets, fairs, government procurement or peasants integrated into agribusiness companies.

Today COVID 19 has made evident the limits of the capitalist system in terms of solving the fundamental issues of the working class. Capitalism as a mode of production belongs to the past, it is backwardness, because it no longer solves the problems of people. It is not a model for the future, and, unlike our model, it has no forward-looking perspective.

Capitalism has not solved the problem of employment and in most capitalist countries the unemployment rate is of 40%- Capitalism does not ensure housing, income, education, transport and what little is available is in dire and unsanitary conditions.

So it is that, as we face this capitalist crisis, the project of Peasant Agriculture gains in strength and relevance, and poses before us a series of challenges:

Our proposals must make it clear that, aside from land, we are the only ones who stand in defence of nature. Peasants must be the keepers of the land, biodiversity and water. Society will give us this task. “You have the land, but you must also take on the commitment of caring for it, for nature is at the service of the common good.”

Before, we only thought of Agrarian Reform in terms of access to land, but it is time to move past this. Aside from being the location of our work, it must produce food for everyone. It is there that we find an alliance with the people. “We have committed to healthy food.”

Food Sovereignty to ensure access to food:

The modes of organisation must aim towards producing food for every people. And that’s why only the surplus should be destined for trade. No nation in the world should leave its population dependent on production in other countries. “The FAO defends only Food Security and, from our perspective, Food Sovereignty is gaining traction and strength.”

The solution for a mass food distribution is agroecology. We must defend agroecology as the only matrix needed for the production of healthy food. And agroecology requires a “marriage” between popular and peasant knowledge and scientific knowledge. We must make progress and develop the best techniques, able to produce more with a larger peasant workforce. The issue of agricultural mechanisation has excellent potential for further developments.

The development of cooperative agroindustry:

In order to bring food into the cities, to store winter or summer food, agroindustry is essential. The problem today is that the industry and the market are under the control of large monopolies. We must develop cooperative agroindustries.

The role of the State must be transformed. We must not have an anarchist view of the State as capitalist and bourgeois. “We have no use for the bourgeois State, but rather, we need a democratic State of the people. We must not have an anarchist view of each peasant village solving their problems in their own way. We need public policies for development, for production, for food procurement; in everything that relates to public policies, the State should be in charge of administration and induction.”

Agricultural research:

We must devote more energy to the development of the research that peasants need. Research at the service of peasants.

Education in the countryside:

Only knowledge can truly liberate people. Knowledge is acquired and produced in schools, in the family, in the community. It is systematised in schools. That is why we must go to school, at all levels, from elementary to middle, technical and university. Cuba has taught us – peasant men and women go to university to transform the countryside with research, together with IT experts, machine experts, to transform the land and the ways of production through knowledge.

Stedile reminded the audience that even while we find ourselves still in the midst of a great struggle against transnational companies, “capitalism can only take us back. To produce healthy food, we need a peasant workforce that respects nature. Capital has respect neither for nature nor the workforce. Let’s carry on; the future belongs to us.”

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Nyeleni Newsletter #41: “Beyond Land – Territory and Food Sovereignty” https://viacampesina.org/en/nyeleni-newsletter-41-beyond-land-territory-and-food-sovereignty/ Thu, 17 Sep 2020 07:03:54 +0000 https://viacampesina.org/en/?p=10698 Control over land and related resources reflect the power relations in a country/region, and are an indicator of existing social injustices. At the same time, these resources are central to the rights, livelihoods and identity of smallscale food producers, and they have been at the heart of the food sovereignty movement from its beginning. This... Read more →

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Control over land and related resources reflect the power relations in a country/region, and are an indicator of existing social injustices. At the same time, these resources are central to the rights, livelihoods and identity of smallscale food producers, and they have been at the heart of the food sovereignty movement from its beginning.

This issue of the Nyéléni Newsletter is the second edition this year dedicated to the theme of land. In a historical review, we look at how land-related struggles have evolved over the past decades, starting with demands for agrarian reform to a more comprehensive framing, which asserts people’s and communities’ close and multi-faceted relationships to their territories.

Despite persistent challenges to people’s struggle for land, this issue celebrates important victories and features the ingeniousness of communities around the world to assert their rights and manage their territories. Social organizations are finding ways to include emerging issues such as the challenges of climate change and digital technologies into their struggles.

In the light of aggressive digitalization, financialization and authoritarianism, as well as an increasing overlapping of agrarian and ecological questions, we point out the need for movements to revive and refocus their strategies.

DOWNLOAD THE EDITION HERE

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Moria Burns – Is this a Final Wake-Up Call? https://viacampesina.org/en/moria-burns-is-this-a-final-wake-up-call/ Mon, 14 Sep 2020 16:33:02 +0000 https://viacampesina.org/en/?p=10696 Brussels, September 14, 2020 MORIA burns, again. This documented horror in the heart of Europe, has been denounced from its beginning (2015) by dozens of reports from human rights, humanitarian and other non-governmental organisations.  Almost 20,000 (at the peak last February) and at the time of the fire, 13,000 human beings were parked in a... Read more →

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Brussels, September 14, 2020

MORIA burns, again. This documented horror in the heart of Europe, has been denounced from its beginning (2015) by dozens of reports from human rights, humanitarian and other non-governmental organisations.  Almost 20,000 (at the peak last February) and at the time of the fire, 13,000 human beings were parked in a prison of mud, rubbish and violence, behind barbed wire. MORIA is a planned limbo, where refugees are being denied their right to asylum, freedom and dignity, unable to perform even the most basic daily activities, such as sleeping, eating or communicating. It was a place where health care and education were denied to 4,000 children – left without dreams; adolescents whom the abnormal rates of suicide attempts should have been an alert of the level of despair in the camp (MSF); women terrorized by daily rapes, lack of hygiene and rampant violence. Hundreds of testimonies revealing the levels of unbearable “non-life” in MORIA, were kept unheard for years.

Now the fenced camp, which was about to be closed, has burned to the ground. But how could this construction – the abandonment of human beings reduced to “numbers and bodies” – re-emerge as an island-lager in the heart of 20th Century Europe? How has this apartheid and suffering as planned management of the “other”, of the “migrant” been accepted and tolerated in the long silence of 5 years? This inhumane “containment” had been erected as a model for migration policies by the European Commission and the EU Member States.  MORIA has been the essence of the deterrence model aimed at discouraging the flight of potential asylum seekers from countries at war and to push them back to the ruins, sealed by the EU-Turkey agreement in 2016. It is documented that on Greek islands, the Geneva Convention was being constantly violated on a daily basis. Has it been buried in Lesbos?

The most disturbing reality of all is that MORIA is not exceptional – but part of a chain of Camps and Hotspots across Europe constructed as sites “without rights” and a systematic planned annihilation of the “other”, psychically destroyed in camps, where they could have even burned alive. The EU borders, as well as the maritime routes have also become sites of death where thousands have drowned. This situation is indicative of the overall policy of necropolitics practiced by the European Union and its member states towards migrant and refugee peoples and is combined with the policy of militarised externalisation of borders. And inside the Fortress Europe – as is graphically shown in this time of COVID-19 – the migrant workers who make up a big part of the “essential workers’ in agriculture, care and domestic work – are also denied fundamental rights, subjected to daily racism and deprived of the conditions to live a decent human life.

As part of that Europe that still recognizes itself first of all as “human”, and joining all the movements that in these hours are making their voice heard, we, the signatories, who have been witnessing for years the tragic fate of the migrant and refugee peoples, denounce even more the fire of MORIA as a symbolic and highly visible expression of the silent, permanent, planned crime against humanity for which the European Commission the European States are responsible, as highlighted by the Permanent People’s Tribunal sentence (Hearings 2017-2019). The humanitarian interventions of these hours – already minimal in itself – can only appear as a saving face operation. Once again these pronouncements refer to a time without deadlines, and therefore confirm the existing genocidal policy – as the European Commission, and the EU governments, opt for an identity that declares itself exempt from the obligations of the civilization of law. These obligations were meant to be consistent with the ‘never again’ commitment against the extermination camps and had made Europe a place of welcome and an indicator of its own development project.

We therefore call on the EC and all the European States:

  • To urgently evacuate the island and re-locate to safety and dignity the MORIA migrant and refugee peoples.
  • To end the criminalisation of migrants and refugees and the criminalisation of solidarity.

It is Not a Crime to Migrate or to seek Asylum! It is a Human Right!

September 14, 2020

The movements & oganisations convening the 45th PPT Migrant & Refugee Session

https://transnationalmigrantplatform.net/

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ECVC’s contribution for the EU Long Term Vision for Rural Areas https://viacampesina.org/en/ecvcs-contribution-for-the-eu-long-term-vision-for-rural-areas/ Mon, 07 Sep 2020 14:28:12 +0000 https://viacampesina.org/en/?p=10692 Brussels,3 Sep 2020 In September 2020, ECVC responded to the European Commission Roadmap consultation on EU Long Term Vision for Rural Areas. For ECVC, the current situation in rural areas of the European Union is particularly worrying due to the economic models that have been promoted and installed in these areas. Coherent policy must be... Read more →

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Brussels,3 Sep 2020

In September 2020, ECVC responded to the European Commission Roadmap consultation on EU Long Term Vision for Rural Areas. For ECVC, the current situation in rural areas of the European Union is particularly worrying due to the economic models that have been promoted and installed in these areas. Coherent policy must be put in place to protect the rights and livelihoods of small-scale peasant farmers. In the PDF linked below, you can find specific recommendations and demands on how the EU can ensure successful and sustainable development for rural areas.

Download the Recommendations and Demands

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It’s time to transform. It’s time to Globalize Solidarity, Localize Agriculture! https://viacampesina.org/en/its-time-to-transform-its-time-to-globalize-solidarity-localize-agriculture/ Fri, 04 Sep 2020 05:35:26 +0000 https://viacampesina.org/en/?p=10684 On 10 September 2003 and outside the WTO Ministerial meeting venue in Cancun Mexico, Lee Kyung Hae, a small-scale rice producer and peasant activist from South Korea, martyred himself by stabbing in the chest, to protest the neoliberal policies pushed by the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Lee acted in revolt because he was among the... Read more →

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On 10 September 2003 and outside the WTO Ministerial meeting venue in Cancun Mexico, Lee Kyung Hae, a small-scale rice producer and peasant activist from South Korea, martyred himself by stabbing in the chest, to protest the neoliberal policies pushed by the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Lee acted in revolt because he was among the thousands of farmers in Korea who lost their farm and livelihoods after the country decided to import its food. This policy had the blessing of the WTO.

“Since (massive importing) we small farmers have never been paid over our production costs. What would be your emotional reaction if your salary dropped to half without understanding the reasons?”,

a letter Lee wrote in the months leading to Cancun reveals the desperation of a peasant who felt helpless and neglected in a free-market economy.

Seventeen years later, despite massive demonstrations and protests by La Via Campesina and other social movements, the deadly expansionist policies of Global Capital continues – often with, and sometimes without the help of WTO – using the instruments of Free Trade Agreements and conditional Aid programs. As a result, many countries, including South Korea, have traded their peoples’ food sovereignty and become heavily dependant on food imports.

Over the last several decades, enabled by this neo-liberal push, the global food system, right from the point of production, processing and distribution, has come under the firm grip of a handful of Transnational Corporations. The COVID 19 crisis has exposed the limitations of this system by throwing it out of gear in a matter of weeks, putting countries at real risk of food insecurity. Even wealthy nations like Singapore, South Korea and several others in Europe suddenly realised the dangers of this corporate concentration in people’s food systems, which failed at the first signs of a global pandemic. In countries such as Haiti, this led to fears of hunger and starvation among its citizens.

None of this was surprising to peasants and small-scale food producers who indeed feed 70% of the world’s population despite only having access to 25% of the resources. On the contrary, the pandemic made evident to all the people of the world that it is the peasants, the fishers, the small-scale food producers who are stepping up when countries were facing food shortages, by continuing to produce food despite all the neglect, challenges and risks.

Yet, our governments have not learned their lessons.

They continue to tilt in favour of promoting corporate monoculture and encourage the entry of private companies into agriculture. In the last six months of the pandemic, several free trade negotiations have advanced considerably. EU-Mercosur, RCEP, USMCA, CETA, TPP, TTIP and a host of bilateral and regional trade negotiations continue to take place, all with the intent of deepening the corporate capture of our food systems. Several governments have also misused lock-down restrictions to push through market reforms and land reforms that allow for corporate capture of our countrysides. Governments are eager to return to business as usual and remain oblivious to the despair and poverty of our people.

Download our Communication Kit here

It must stop. Time has come for us to take back control of our food systems and promote local production of our food systems because the importance of our demand is more evident than ever: we must continue to fight for food sovereignty. That is, people in each region must have autonomy in the production of their food.

The global trade of agricultural commodities has failed. The visible devastation caused by the current pandemic highlights the need to discuss issues such as food sovereignty, as well as the need for agroecology, healthier food and the need to produce food closer to consumer markets. It is only possible through family farming and peasant agriculture.

On 10 September 2020, La Via Campesina will once again mark the International Day of Action against WTO and FTAs. On this day, in memory of Lee Kyung Hae’ sacrifice, we intend to hold a web-dialogue between peasant leaders and activists from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. They will elaborate and argue why agriculture must remain out of all Free Trade Negotiations that take place both inside and outside the WTO.

The dialogue titled “Globalize Solidarity, Localize Agriculture” will focus on people’s alternatives that emerge from centuries of peasant experiences and evidence. The exchange will be an opportunity to highlight the assault of free-market-capitalism on rural families. It will be a space to re-assert that food sovereignty and the production of healthy food can only emerge from family farming and peasant-agriculture using agroecological means.

Register: www.bitly.com/LVC-Trade-Webinar-2020


Food Sovereignty Now, Free Trade Agreements Out!

WTOKillsPeasants #TimetoTransform FTAsOut


Help us spread the word! The communication kit for the International Day of Action against WTO and FTAs can be downloaded here. You can also download all the promotional materials of the web-dialogue here. Please download and use them in your movements and organisations.


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Global Campaign Statement on the Second Revised Draft of the Binding Treaty https://viacampesina.org/en/global-campaign-statement-on-the-second-revised-draft-of-the-binding-treaty/ Thu, 03 Sep 2020 06:31:13 +0000 https://viacampesina.org/en/?p=10680 27th August 2020 Re: Publication of the “second revised draft” for the negotiation of the “International Legally Binding instrument to regulate the activities of transnational corporations (TNCs) and other business enterprises with regard to human rights”. The member organisations of the Global Campaign to Reclaim People’s Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity take note of the publication... Read more →

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27th August 2020

Re: Publication of the “second revised draft” for the negotiation of the “International Legally Binding instrument to regulate the activities of transnational corporations (TNCs) and other business enterprises with regard to human rights”.

The member organisations of the Global Campaign to Reclaim People’s Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity take note of the publication of the second revised draft of the binding treaty. Published on August 6, 2020, the new text is the basis for the negotiation of an international legally binding instrument on transnational corporations (TNCs) in the field of human rights. It is part of the process initiated with the adoption of Resolution 26/9 of the United Nations Human Rights Council and as a result of the debates established at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Working Group in October 2019.

It is necessary to recall that the purpose of developing international instruments for the protection of human rights is to address violations that have been perpetuated and remain unanswered, and is the result of the historical struggles of social movements and affected communities, as well as of legal advances made over decades, with the ultimate goal of broadening the spectrum of guarantees to human dignity.

To be in line with the logic and rationale of Resolution 26/9, the Binding Treaty must be a legal instrument that takes a step forward from those that already exist at international level. For example, it must innovate beyond the UN Guiding Principles which, although they have played a role in the process to date, are insufficient to close the accountability gap of TNCs and guarantee access to justice for those affected by their operation. The binding treaty has to address the legal regulatory vacuum that currently exists in relation to TNCs.

Therefore, after a first reading of the new draft, we would like to express our concern about problematic aspects of the draft that we fear will prevent the future instrument from achieving its goal of regulating the activities of TNCs. In general, despite some positive developments, the draft still follows the line of the previous one in being weak in those fundamental aspects needed to achieve its real objective as foreseen by the mandate established by Resolution 26/9. It is as if the present treaty has lost its soul.

Firstly, the extension of the scope to all enterprises, without distinction, is maintained and exacerbated, contrary to the historical purpose of the instrument and to Resolution 26/9 which clearly refers to enterprises “with transnational activity”. Furthermore, it is necessary to highlight that many of the proposals made by social movements, representatives of affected communities and even states during the fifth session were not included. Among others, we highlight: the absence of recognition of obligations for TNCs to respect human rights ; the failure to refer to global value chains, pillars of the international corporate architecture; the lack of effective international legal mechanisms to implement the Treaty and to sanction in case of non-compliance, such as the proposal for an international court ; and the lack of unequivocal recognition of the primacy of international human rights law over any other legal instruments, in particular over trade and investment agreements. We are also alarmed by the deficiency of provisions to effectively address the problem of corporate capture, a central issue in neutralising the drastic power asymmetries between big TNCs and states, especially in the global south.

In addition, the draft treaty again fails to impose joint and several liability on all companies involved in a violation along the global value chain and in general weakens the previous text regarding the liability of parent and/or controlling companies.

These deficiencies represent a great risk to the effectiveness of the treaty, diluting efforts to regulate all aspects of the transnational corporate architecture and put an end to the resulting impunity. Instead, as it stands, the draft opts for more generic provisions, and ultimately depends on the political will of nation states. In short, we are faced with a draft treaty that has been strongly emptied of its transnational scope, that is, of its raison d’être

We would like to raise a last important element. A negotiation such as this one, where the presence and active participation of civil society, in particular of groups representing those affected by violations, as well as of social movements, has consistently been one of the central pillars of this process, must take into account the circumstances generated by the Covid-19 pandemic. There are many obstacles to guaranteeing a satisfactory participation in the negotiations, including the ongoing crises affecting many countries especially in the Global south, to the impossibility or risk associated with traveling and being present at the negotiation. The pandemic also creates serious challenges for supporting and mobilising communities and people involved in bringing their demands to the negotiation table. It is clear these challenges will not allow us to engage in a way that lives up to the importance of this treaty.

In this sense, we consider that the adequate conditions are not given for the sixth session of the Working Group to proceed as a negotiating session, and that instead alternatives should be explored, as for example to have consultations on the new draft, which must meet clear conditions to ensure the inclusiveness and participation of civil society. Carrying out the negotiations in a context where social participation is diminished runs the serious risk of compromising the essential contribution of civil society actors, in particular from those affected by the activities of TNCs. To attempt to advance in these conditions would therefore deteriorate the legitimacy of a process that has been very rich up to now, precisely because of the active participation of a broad spectrum of actors, in particular of civil society and affected peoples.

For more details contact: Raffaele Morgantini (contact@cetim.ch)

More information: https://www.stopcorporateimpunity.org/binding-treaty-un-process/

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