“It is now urgent to put human rights and nature before profit”: La Via Campesina in UN

In an intervention made on behalf of La Via Campesina at the “High-level Political Forum (HLPF) under the 74th Session of the General Assembly Accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” in New York, Paula Gioia who is among the International Coordination Committee members of the global peasant movement, reiterated that peasant communities around the world have concrete solutions based on peasant led agroecology and principles of food sovereignty to address the climate challenges. She demanded that governments around the world engage with peasants, workers, indigenous communities to develop vibrant local food systems that can address poverty and marginalization.

Here is a full text of the speech made at the Forum on the 25th of September 2019 .

Thank you very much Madame/Mister Chairperson,

Dear Excellencies,

Thank you for this timely Summit and for inviting us. I am a beekeeper and represent La Via Campesina, the global peasant movement of more than 200 million people comprising peasants, landless people, indigenous peoples, migrants, agricultural workers, rural women and youth. We are essential to achieve the goals of sustainable development.

Therefore, many thanks for giving us this opportunity to share them here today. We need to acknowledge the peasants solutions and mainstream them. Peasant led agroecology and sustainable peasant farming, offer concrete pathways to achieve the sustainable development goals. To achieve zero hunger, food production must be based on agroecology and food sovereignty, embracing small-scale food producers.

Peasant agroecology combines centuries of knowledge and experience with scientific and ecological principles to develop vibrant local food systems that can address poverty and marginalization. It promotes healthy and culturally appropriate nutritional food, enhances biodiversity, responding to the climate crisis effects.

Excellencies, peasants are primary agents of change, yet we are often marginalized and dispossessed of our fundamental rights – such as the right to land, to water, and to seeds. It is therefore essential to promote, use and apply the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People
Working in Rural Areas.

Countless reports from UN agencies, as well as the recently-launched UN Decade of Family Farming, all recognize smallholder food producers as a pillar of strength in our society. We have been feeding the majority of world’s population for centuries and continue to do so.

Excellencies, it is urgent now to put human rights and nature before profit. We the peasants, have the immediate solution that our children and youth are demanding on the streets today. We can help cool down the planet! For that we need you, our governments, to be ambitious, to truly represent us and to engage with us. Inclusive governance institutions such as the Committee on World Food Security should therefore be strengthened.

We have the knowledge and the vision to contribute shaping the necessary public policies and investments for a successful agroecological transformation. Let‘s globalize this struggle, in order to globalize hope worldwide. I thank you.

With Mr. Qu Dongyu, Director General, Food and Agriculture Organization